Try the Street Food
Hong Kong is all about the street food and it is incredibly cheap as well as delicious, so no one has an excuse to not give it a go while in SoHo. It’s even said that some people rarely cook because it’s cheaper to eat out. Wander through the aesthetically traditional looking streets in SoHo and switch from cuisine to cuisine. We recommend checking out traditional sesame mochi balls (little rice balls with a hot, black sesame seed filling, and coated in sesame seeds). Apart from the street food, there are numerous multicultural cafés and takeout places to try, available cuisines range from Mexican to Portuguese to Spanish. You can also try out Hong Kong’s first choux bun specialist in SoHo, 126 Grammes.
Address & telephone number of 126 Grammes: 42 Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong, +852 2886 1885
Or Enjoy a Traditional Dim Sum Lunch
If you would rather stick to more traditional meals, why not give a traditional dim sum lunch a go in SoHo? Lin Heung is one of the best traditional tea houses in the area which offers an authentic yum cha experience. Ever-busy, the English menus and signs so often abundant in Hong Kong are non-existent at this quaint spot and the round tables are communal. However, if you feel like braving the admittedly chaotic environment, the dim sum is incredible, you simply indicate what you want to try as the trolleys loaded with bamboo baskets are wheeled past. They always say the best way to experience a culture is to immerse yourself in it.
Address & telephone number: 160 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2544 4556
Pick Up Souvenirs at the ‘Cat Street’ Market
A famous tourist stop off point in SoHo is the colloquially named ‘Cat Street’ market, actually situated on Upper Lascar Row. Legend has it that the name ‘Cat Street’ is either a reference to prostitutes, cat burglars, pirates or the street peddlers themselves, but there is no agreement on any of these explanations. While many of the stalls are hawking typically rubbish, tourist orientated goods, there are some finds to be had here, if you know what you’re looking for. Secondhand goods and antiques are plentiful and it’s worth a visit for the atmosphere and vibrancy alone.
Visit Pak Sing Ancestral Hall
Pak Sing Ancestral Hall is an incredible tourist attraction located just outside of SoHo, in the quaint Sheung Wan district, which houses several thousand wooden ancestor tablets that Hong Kong settlers brought from the mainland. Just a short walk from SoHo, it is well worth strolling round the district and exploring the hidden gems that tourists don’t often see. Pak Sing was founded in 1856, and its purpose was to store the bodies of those awaiting burial in China. ‘Pak Sing’ means ‘people’ or ‘100 names’ firmly establishing it as what it was always intended to be; a temple for the people.
Visit Man Mo Temple
One of the island’s temples, Man Mo is a classic destination for tourists in Hong Kong, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. The name reflects the dual tribute purpose that the temple represents, Man is the God of Literature and Mo is the God of War. Originally built in 1847, as well as been one of the oldest temples it is also one of the largest. The hanging incense coils are enchanting and well worth lingering under to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It is officially considered a Declared Monument, and was Grade 1 listed in 2009. Do make sure to check out the nearby Lit Shung Kung area of the complex and the Kung Sor assembly hall.
Address & telephone number: 126 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2540 0350
Marvel at the Mid-Levels Escalator
One of the weirder attractions in SoHo is the cool mid-levels escalator which connects Central to Hong Kong’s mid-levels, but only runs in one direction each day so don’t get caught out if you don’t fancy walking up and down the stairs instead. Remember: down in the mornings and up in the evenings! Originally built in 1993 to ease congestion in the narrow streets of Hong Kong, it cost around HKD245 million and is used by approximately 54,000 people per day. Not only a classic Hong Kong experience, it provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to admire the lesser visited and older parts of Hong Kong and pass by the Central Police Station main building.
Visit Central Police Station and Victoria Prison
The former Central Police Station (currently under renovation) and Victoria Prison are iconic in Hong Kong’s SoHo. Built in 1864, they are classed as ‘monuments of Hong Kong’ and are in impressive condition. If you climb Old Bailey Street, you will get the best view over the former prison. However, as mentioned, restoration works are underway at Central Police Station, with the hope that the old building will become a place to showcase exhibitions and events based on heritage, contemporary art and leisure. There will be daily guided tours and the experience will be ‘immersive’ according to the restoration information on the website. As well as restoring Central Police Station itself, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison will be included in this impressive project.
Address: 10 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong
Enjoy The Vibrant Nightlife
Man Hing Lane is usually a quiet side street by day, but by night it transforms into the location of one of Hong Kong Soho’s coolest watering holes, frequented by artists, journalists and activists. Club 71 (open 5pm-2am), for all the politically minded, left-leaning clientele, is laid-back and colorful. The interior is dominated by abstract patterns and friendly locals. This isn’t your only option in SoHo however, which has a reputation for being very much one of the top nightlife districts in the city. Wandering through the streets will give you a taste of the vibe on offer, and you can take your pick of the tens of options that crowd these streets at night time. For cocktails, check out L’étage; for whisky, Angel’s Share is the place to be; and Flutes is a great Champagne bar.
See a Comedy Show
The first full time comedy club in Hong Kong, TakeOut Comedy is located in SoHo and is a must-see on any visit to the neighborhood. For around US$20 you can revel in the comedic stylings of nine English speaking comics and enjoy the SoHo scene by night. Regular comics that perform there include Tonia Yim, Gus Tate and Garron Chiu. They also run open mic nights, if you prefer performing to observing.
Address & telephone number: 34 Elgin Street, Basement, Soho, Central, Hong Kong, +852 6220 4436
Check Out the Art Scene
For artsy minded people visiting Hong Kong’s SoHo, we recommend checking out the burgeoning art scene that this area has to offer. Offering lower rents than the perhaps more centrally located spots, SoHo offers artists and visionaries the chance to showcase their talents without paying through the nose. Head down to 10 Chancery Lane Gallery Art Projects, which is tucked in and amongst a crowd of industrial buildings and plays host to a smattering of design and photography studios, as well as a few residents. Loft living and the rising tide of artistic influence has started to convince Hong Kong locals to head away from Central for their art fix, and you should do the same. If you fancy a more holistic art experience in SoHo, from HKD200 you can take part in a tour of the art galleries around the area with liuda.com’s SoHo Gallery Tour (in English).
Address & telephone number: Unit 604, Chai Wan Industrial City Phase 1, 60 Wing Tai Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2810 0065