Tag Archives: wanchai

A 10.45am Tram Jam

I was on the way back to Wanchai from Happy Valley, sitting quite comfortably on the tram when it suddenly came to a halt. This was just after the tram had left Tonnochy station.

Everyone just sort of looked at each other and a few people started getting off. The driver was out on the pavement and telling us that there’d been an accident ahead, our tram could not pass.

Fortunately I wasn’t carrying anything too heavy (besides a huge belly) and the route home was near and familiar.

No need to pay, umm sai bei qin” the driver called out. He’d switched off the octopus reader and was just waving his hands gesturing for all of us to be on our merry way to find some other means of getting to our respective destinations.

I got off the tram and wanted to see what exactly was blocking our passage. There didn’t seem to be any apparent obstruction on the tracks or the road ahead.

Walking further along the road, I saw a bus which had stopped past the traffic lights in the middle of the intersection of Hennessey towards Heard Street.

There was the bus driver making some notes and taking photos of the bus. I couldn’t see any vehicle that it had run into though. There didn’t seem to be any apparent or significant damage.

Cars and buses were making their way around the stalled bus but the trams didn’t seem to want to try passing even though I thought there’d be sufficient space. These HK trams are pretty narrow, but I guess the drivers don’t want to risk getting stuck and compounding the situation.

It’ll probably take an hour or two to get a tow truck for the bus, so if you’re heading westbound you might want to catch the MTR or bus instead.

Or if you’re close enough, just go on foot as the temperature is just fantastic today despite the pollution 🤔

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New MTR exit and underpass in Wan Chai now open

If you live in the Avenue on Lee Tung Street, you’ve now got a nice underground walkway to get you to the Wan Chai MTR station without navigating street traffic across Johnston Road. This underpass took around two and a half years to build so I’m relieved it’s finally done.

To get to it, take either escalator or lift down to the basement where the supermarket is and walk along the corridor until you get to the end where you’ll see an escalator taking you down to the tunnel.

Okay, so it’s escalators in the middle, stairs to the right. What about barrier free access?

Initially I thought this was a ramp. (Yay!). But no… it’s a lift for wheelchairs 🤔🧐.

The big pain is that you can’t just use it like in other buildings, you have to call the staff to switch it on. (Call in advance! 3791 2103) That is just so lame. Why couldn’t they just put in a ramp or just leave it on for the convenience of anyone in need of it. Why create another step and waiting time?? MTR Corp you are slowing down my journey!!! Hell, I’ll just use the escalator for my stroller. I feel sorry for the wheelchair users.

When you do get down into the tunnel, it’s nice and wide (at least 3 meters wide), slopes uphill going to mtr station and downhill if you’re walking to Lee Tung Avenue. From the design of it, Sino Land and Hopewell seem to expect a crowd heading in their direction. I suppose this is in anticipation of their next development and continued connection to Hopewell Center II. There are spaces created for a few new retailers in the station too.

That’s a new circle K shop coming up next to the platform lift (under repair until May 2018).

And here’s another shop undergoing renovation on the left opposite Circle K. Not sure what it is yet.

I’m not sure if behind this white sheet there will be a shop or an advertising installation. You can see beyond it however that there’s a corridor for future expansion into Southorn Playground’s new underground mall when that gets done.

So this exit is D and here’s a reminder of the opening hours.

I guess the arcade corridor access and lifts to the surface remain operational during these hours too. Check out the promotions from the basement arcade shops below.

Kamachi Pro Sport Shop- Wetsuits and rash guards all year round

If you’re looking for a simple non-fancy wetsuit in an easy to find location, Kamachi Pro Sport is a great place to pick one up.

Prices are relatively inexpensive and quality is decent, they have several of the usual designs (with or without zip, front or back zip, long or short, black or patterned etc).

The two lady staff are helpful and friendly, mostly Cantonese speaking but with the simple selection, it isn’t difficult to point out what you need in simple hand gestures. There’s a small area at the back of the shop where you can try on the suits behind a curtain.

The swimsuits and rash guards occupy the top hanging shelf and the wetsuits for kids and adults are below. The selection looked fuller in the summer, it that’s probably because it was summertime swimming season and more stock and sizes were out on display.

Here’s a kids wetsuit. Same one we got for my kid except that it’s now on 20% discount.

Here’s a sleeveless neoprene vest for adults. Ah….., it reminds me of the days when I used to go diving off Malaysia.

These are the adult rashguards (kid sizes also available).

And these are some exercise mats for yoga or just general stretching. Very cheap, less than 100 HKD per mat.

The shop sells other swim related stuff like goggles, swim hats, and dive related stuff like wet shoes. They also have a small selection of exercise training equipment.

This is what it looks like from the front, it’s between two tea shops on Johnston Road opposite Tai Yau Plaza, right on the intersection of Johnston and Wanchai Road.

More locations are listed on their card ☝️if you’re not in Wan Chai.

New Japanese lunch spot on McGregor Street

After promising to have lunch together for at least 4 months, my friend PB and I finally agreed on a date.

“What are we having?” asked PB, “I can have anything.”

Since we went to Samsen on our last date, I thought we should try something new.

“A few options… new Thai place, new Japanese place, burger joint, fish n chip joint…”….”Pick one”.

Japanese it was. Full disclosure to her that I’d never been and was curious to check it out.

It’s one of these hole in the wall restaurants that does not make any effort to welcome you. The window panes are frosted so you can’t peer in, the menus are written in chinese (only an issue if you can’t read it) -and most of it is sushi or skewer based- but the restaurant goes through the effort of having an English name printed on the signboard. It’s called Silver House Japanese Restaurant (首庫居日本料理).

I remember seeing it on the launch day when a row of flowers lined the street in front of the restaurant and people stood on the pavement looking in. I thought it was all a bit odd as staff and presumably owners brought in large plastic bags of packed food and they sort of stood around consuming it. Shouldn’t a launch party have a bit more organisation to it than that? Anyway.

We got there promptly at noon when the restaurant had just opened and was completely empty. The waitress presented us with a lunch menu consisting of about 8 different sets and told us that the a -la-carte sushi and skewers wee only available for dinner.

We settled on sharing a quick seared salmon sushi bowl and an eel bowl.

First came the salad, a small but tasty portion, I forgot to take a photo.

Next came a simple miso soup.

Then the eel bowl arrived.

The eel tasted fine with the teriyaki sauce but the texture was a tad soft.

This salmon bowl was nicely done. I could definitely have this again.

Dessert finals, a small fruit palate cleanser. The melon was ripe, succulent and sweet. The grapes weren’t bad, but they definitely weren’t japanese 😉

The salmon set was $128 and the eel bowl was $88, very reasonable lunchtime prices.

The restaurant was full to maximum capacity when we left. Some fashionable types, some office types and some singles looking to tuck in alongside their mobile phone.

Halloween celebrations in Lee Tung Avenue 

By the light of the full moon.. a vampire comes out to play…

Lee Tung Avenue has had great success in creating a public space where small,  interesting art and music projects can draw the attention of a steady stream of people. Many are locals, young couples who visit in the evening for a dessert. Some are older people with their helpers, they occupy the benches to soak up the late morning sun. Then there are families, who use this pedestrianised street as a conduit to the schools. They often return after school, in the evenings to run around*.

Halloween has become an increasingly significant occasion for commercial festivity in Hong Kong. It’s nice because it involves the children and all that fancy get up is fun, but it doesn’t teach them much about American culture or what it means. Local and international schools both celebrate it and kids come home with drawings of pumpkins and bats and broomsticks. It’s almost as big a celebration as Christmas.


I thought it was fabulous that Lee Tung Avenue took a different approach to their display. The organisers chose an art installation with significance to both the mid-autumn festival and Halloween. Titled “Museum of the Moon“, a large blown up rendition of 5 km earth’s only moon surface is suspended  from the arch and illuminated from within at night. 

New victims?
Yeah, he tasted real good…

For the Halloween weekend, Ophelia was advertising a blood sucking gory time on Saturday night and Tuesday night. That vampire was co-opted into posing with visitors along the pedestrian alleyway by the light of the moon. 

It was a funny and entertaining sight. The crowds were out enjoying the cool weather and the scene… as was I!


Halloween night walk in Wan Chai.

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*Wan Chai really needs a good quality children’s playground, will LCSD please consider this carefully and install a great one at Southorn playground when you’re finished ripping it up for the underground Mall? All the future generated income could be reflected in quality of life an awesome playground would bring to families in the area. And I’m not referring to those red yellow plastic things you presently install all over. Please take a look at the Megan Daley park in Chicago or even this wonderful bamboo installation (since Hong Kong is so fond of using bamboo for scaffolding) at the restaurant Triplets in Chiang Mai

The fantastic playground at the Megan Daley Park in Chicago
Bamboo constructed playground at Triplets in Chiang Mai

A paved hike from Parkview to Quarry Bay

(Sept 2017) The pollution was bad for the last week in Hong Kong. Two typhoons threatened to come but dissipated to the South and North respectively.

We decided to go on a leisurely family paced hike from Parkview down to Quarry Bay. The incentive? Lunch at the end of the journey. This walk isn’t the most scenic or spectacular, but it is all paved and mostly shaded, which makes it a good walk with kids. It’s downhill, uphill, downhill and round several bends. There’s lots of spiders and bugs to look at along the way but no toilets til you get to the summit. Bring water and snacks for the kids so that they don’t complain too much along the way and get a power (sugar) boost if necessary.


The view gets a little more scenic once you’ve reached the summit and start to head back down the hill towards Quarry Bay. The path is a proper road that’s wide and not too steep.


Half way down, the exposed bits of path allow you a view towards the big buildings and beyond. It would have been a better view if it weren’t for the pollution.


As it was a sunny sort of day, I was grateful that the shade from trees resumed after a few minutes for the rest of the hike.


On the way, you’ll walk past the Biodiversity museum. The gates were open and it seemed like there was an event of some sort taking place, but I didn’t go in. If you go, please let me know what it’s like inside.

Further down the path, look out for some amusing signs.


This sign says “Do not Pick wild mushrooms for consumption”


This one says “Be considerate to speak softly”


Just so you know, I didn’t see any wild animals or wild mushrooms that day. I did look, but they must have been picked or fed already.

Pretty soon, you’re back in civilisation and the residential homes are in view.


A small temple at the end of the path marks the end of the trail  and the start of hustle bustle Quarry Bay.


We went up over the overhead bridge, across the road and to the right. Take the left at the second traffic junction you come to and follow the road down and rojndcto the right. We ended up at the Butcher’s Club opposite Swire’s swanky office building for a hearty lunch of burgers and duck fat fries.

This walk takes approximately 2 hours at an adult leisure walking pace, add an hour if you’re bringing toddlers who wish to inspect every insect they see. 

The disappointment of a cancelled bus route

The 590A plied a route from Admiralty through Wan Chai to South Horizons every 15-30 minutes. This was the bus we took last year to get to school when the South Island Line was still under construction. Since the MTR line opened and the weather became generally worse (hot, humid and polluted), we’d given up on the erratic schedule of the bus service in favour of the South Island Line

There are pros and cons of course. The 590A always operated a clean nice double decker and took a very efficient route to South Horizons. It is well air conditioned and a very pleasant ride to see what’s happening above street level in Wan Chai. The bus stop is also a few minutes closer to home and as it is a direct route, doesn’t need transiting. It was pretty much the closest thing I could get door to door to South Horizons. 

In contrast, the MTR transit requires a bit of a rushed walk with plenty of anxious commuters through the bowels of Admiralty station, 3 escalators down to get to the South Island Line from the main blue Island line.

I fancied taking the bus today. I had time to spare and thought a bus ride would be nice to see the changes happening above ground. Imagine my disappointment when I got to the Wan Chai road bus stop and found that the route had been terminated!


Hong Kong is totally efficiency driven. If it ain’t making money, cancel it…

I’m now walking back to the MTR station… it’s back to the underground. 


If you take their suggested replacement route, bus 90, it gets you to Ap Lei Chau estate which is close but still a 10-12 minute walk to South Horizons unless you get off at a preceding stop (say just after the bridge) and catch the 592 or 595 that’ll drop you at the South Horizons bus stop near Marina Square.