By Angelo G. Garcia
Back when airfare was still expensive and only a few Filipinos got to travel, one of the must-see travel destinations was Hong Kong. Pinoys don’t need a visa and it’s just two hours away. The small island is also a major shopping destination, especially when our local market had slim pickings.
But that was it: Just a destination for shopping, a few trips to Buddhist temples, and interesting views of the bay and the city. Hong Kong is also a business hub, more known for trade and commerce than a culturally enriching spot. Like other places, however, it is rich in history nobody bothers to know more about.
“When I talked to my colleagues and friends, who were all born and raised in Hong Kong, we didn’t even know that our place is rich in culture and history,” reveals Patsy Chan, director for communications of Kowloon Shangri-La hotel.
She is talking about Tsim Sha Tsui, on the Kowloon side, directly facing Hong Kong Island. Tsim Sha Tsui is famous as a “shopping paradise,” with big malls like Harbour City and shopping streets like Nathan Road and Granville Road. But there’s more to it than just trendy stores and outlet shops, it is also a repository of Hong Kong’s treasured past.
Tsim Sha Tsui, which means “Sandy Mouth Point,” is a reclamation site in the Kowloon peninsula. It is home to the harbor that makes Hong Kong one of the best ports in the world. The shopping district that is Nathan Road is Kowloon’s first road, after China ceded Hong Kong to the British crown in the 1860s. The Whitfield Barracks, a lush area in the center of Tsim Sha Tsui, was a former military base of the British Army, which is now the Kowloon Park. It is also home to several churches, including the Rosary Church and St. Andrew’s Church.
One of its historical spots is Signal Hill where the Signal Hill Tower is located. It was part of the Hong Kong Observatory where it previously monitored the weather. One of its famous residents, movie actor Jackie Chan. frequently visited the tower when he was kid, playing with his childhood friends.
“I understand a lot of guests have been to Hong Kong many times but they are usually here for business, shopping, sightseeing. They don’t realize Tsim Sha Tsui has lots more to offer. There are a lot of hidden gems in terms of history, culture here,” Patsy says.
Kowloon Shangri-La is also one of the first hotels to open in Tsim Sha Tsui. This year, as one of the five-star hotel’s tour packages, it is offering the Cultural Heritage Package. It includes a luxury stay at the hotel and a guided walking tour of the rich history and culture of area. The package is prized from HK$3,800 ($488) per person, available until June this year. The hotel is also offering special shopping privileges for its guests. Guests who are staying at the hotel can present their key cards at selected establishments including Harbour City and get special discounts. A HK$100 shopping voucher will also be given to guests. The promo runs until March 31.
www.shangri-la.com/kowloon/ +852 2733 firstname.lastname@example.org /+852 2331 6688