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Hong Kong is home to many structural curiosities, and among the quirkiest has got to be the Whampoa — a shopping mall shaped like a luxury cruise ship. Located in Hung Hom, Kowloon, the concrete boat is part of a larger shopping arcade named the The Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa, which is a complex of shops, restaurants, and residential buildings.
The shopping complex belongs to Whampoa Garden, the largest private housing estate in Hung Hom. Built on the former Whampoa Dockyards, many of the buildings in this area are unusually short for Hong Kong, reaching only one to four stories high. This is the result of the site’s proximity to the old Kai Tak Airport. For safety reasons, there was a height limit placed on buildings constructed in the area before the airport was closed in 1998.
In all, Whampoa contains more than 300 shops and restaurants spanning multiple buildings with over-the-top names, including Deli Place, Pebbles World, Fashion World, Amazing World, Whampoa Gourmet Place, Treasure World, and Home World.
The highlight, of course, is the 360-foot long boat located near the harbor. The design is a nod to the area’s former function as a dockyard, one of the largest and busiest docks in Asia for much of the 20th century. The ship’s ground floor and upper basement level houses Japanese supermarket AEON, catering to the significant Japanese population living the area. The lower basement contains an MTR exit and a fitness gym, while the first and second floors are occupied by restaurants.
The shops in the arcade cover fashion, jewelry, sports, kid’s clothes, electronics, beauty, banks, and more. In addition, there’s a bowling alley, amusement arcade, and movie theater. Visitors should be aware that Whampoa is not a destination for luxury fashion — rather, Fashion World offers affordable mid-range clothing labels such as UNIQLO, H&M, and Nike.
There’s an excellent selection of restaurants and casual eateries here, with over 50 different dining options spanning Chinese, Japanese, Western, and Cantonese cuisines. That includes the popular Korean street food eatery School Food, as well as the Japanese dumpling joint Chao Chao Gyoza.
Whampoa is right next to a seaside promenade with great views of Victoria Harbour, and is accessible by ferry to the Hung Hom Ferry Pier as well as by bus and MTR.