Spend a leisurely day viewing some of the murals on display across the city.
Although March is officially Arts Month, Hong Kong’s bustling creative scene is evident every single month of the year. We don’t just mean in the many galleries that exist, we’re talking specifically about Hong Kong’s street art scene. Each spring, the non-profit organisation HKWalls selects one district in the city and chooses to adorn it with a bunch of amazing murals. It usually chooses a relatively small area to cover, so you won’t have to walk miles (with kids or a stroller in tow) to see all of the graffiti. We’ve rounded up this guide to some of the most striking street art on display, to direct you to some of our favourites. And to help with the planning process, we’ve also factored in some ideas for rest stops too!
Wong Chuk Hang
In 2017, HKWalls decided to decorate Wong Chuk Hang, which (thanks to the South Island Line) is now only 10 minutes away from Admiralty by MTR. Use this handy map by HKWalls to find your way around!
Stop 1: Take Exit A1 out of Wong Chuk Hang MTR station and take the escalator down to the street. From here, you’ll be able to see the first piece of street art, which is a larger-than-life mural covering the outside of The Factory. Turn right, and walk along Heung Yip Road for a couple of minutes until you see one of our favourite pieces, which transports us right into the jungle – MAUY’s Monkey King (pictured above).
Stop 2: The fun doesn’t stop here. Walk for three minutes until the end of the block and turn left at One Island South. Walk straight for two minutes until you get to Ovolo Southside, where you’ll see two more fab murals (we especially love the one of a man frying up some tasty looking food in his wok). Keep walking up the block and you’ll find a mural that is sure to be a hit with the kids. It’s a dreamy piece of art called “Messy Desk” (pictured above), which, as a parent, will probably sound familiar!
Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, 3460 815, www.ovolohotels.com.hk
Stops 3 and 4: Head back to Ovolo, turn right, and then walk straight along the road for four minutes until you see a huge mural of a man with an umbrella standing over a car, which is painted on the walls of a blue building. Cross the road so that you’re right in front of it, and you’ll be rewarded with even more art. Once you see the beautiful bird mural (pictured above), turn left and marvel at the intricate fish as you head back to Heung Yip Road. Here, you’ll find the now familiar Monkey King — all that art in just one small block! The MTR will be right in front of you, ready to take you home.
Pitstop: If you’re looking for somewhere to take a break for food or drinks, we have some suggestions. If it’s a caffeine fix you’re after, try a coffee at Komune and chill on the terrace. Another spot for coffee is Bread and Bistro, which has seriously good pastries and a kid’s menu. If you want something more substantial, head to Golden Monkey for Vietnamese fare.
Komune, 4/F, Ovolo Southside, 64 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, 3460 8157, www.komune.com.hk
Bread and Bistro, Shop G06, G/F, One lsland South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, 3426 9883, www.facebook.com/BreadnBistro
Golden Monkey, Shop G08, G/F, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, 3100 0184, www.facebook.com/goldenmonkey.hk
Although Central is absolutely full of great murals, we’re usually so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we tend to miss most of them. But if you’re ready to see what it has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. Central and Western District was the location for HK Walls in 2018, so you’re in for a treat.
Stop 1: The first place on the list is the truly iconic Old Hong Kong Skyline graffiti on Graham Street. Although we don’t often see such clear blue skies (and the houses depicted actually belong to Kowloon rather than Central), the spot is loved by both locals and tourists because of its old-school vibe. It’s a good way to show kids the disappearing side of Hong Kong without actually leaving the island. Plus, it’s a great spot for photo ops!
Graham Street wall mural, 44 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Stop 2: One street away on Peel, you’ll see Uma Nota’s Laughing Woman (pictured above), and although she may not be as famous as this city’s skyline, she manages to brings the cheerful feeling of Rio to the very heart of Hong Kong.
Uma Nota, 38 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2889 7576, www.uma-nota.com
Stop 3: Just down the street from Uma Nota you’ll find a striking mural of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra, outside Madera Hollywood. You won’t miss this one as it’s over three metres tall!
Madera Hollywood, 53 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, 3913 2888, www.maderagroup.com
Stop 4: Keep walking down Peel Street until you see the entrance to Man Hing Lane. Turn left and head into Pak Tsz Lane Park, where you can sit and take a breather while the little ones enjoy the open space. Make sure to check out the “Cutting off the Queue” sculpture of a man in Western clothes cutting off the pigtail of a Manchu man, which is meant to be a symbol of liberation from Qing rule. It’s an easy way to incorporate a quick history lesson into this art-filled day!
Pak Tsz Lane Park, Central, Hong Kong
Stop 5: Walk to your left until you’re out of the park and on Aberdeen Street. Continue down to the corner of Gage Street to be rewarded by another great mural. We love the delicious looking seafood, there’s a chilly crab (pun intended), a thoughtful tuna and a pompous shrimp on the wall of Etsuzo.
Etsuzo, G/F, 52 Gage St, Central, Hong Kong, 2885 8212, www.facebook.com/etsuzo.hk
Stops 6 and 7: Turn left and make your way along Gough Street. A true gem of Hong Kong Island, this tiny lane in Soho hides some of the most stunning pieces, so make sure you save enough time for this bit. Walk for two minutes until you see this colourful mural (pictured above) behind the bustling open-air food stalls, and then head up the stairs behind it. Here, a fading Einstein gives a universal answer to all your questions (spoiler: it’s love).
Stop 8: Take the stairs back down to Gough Street, where if you keep walking (for less than a minute) you’ll be rewarded will a stunning mural of a smiling woman clad in gold jewellery, which is one of our favourite pieces of street art in Central. There’s just one final mural begging to be seen, and it’s only one hundred metres away (tucked away in a narrow dead end by 51 Gough Street). You’ll be mesmerised by the subtle reds and teals, and wonder what the girl on the wall is seeing in her marine dreams.
Pitstop: The kids will definitely have worked up an appetite by now, so why not head to Oddies Foodies (which is just one door down from the last mural) and get yourselves some delicious ice cream served in a warm egg waffle.
Oddies Foodies, 45 Gough St, Central, Hong Kong, 2750 2111, www.facebook.com/oddiesfoodies
HKWalls blessed Sheung Wan twice in 2014 and 2015, so we’ll only recommend a couple of places here (because if we listed them all, you would have to walk around the neighbourhood for weeks).
Stop 1: One of the best places for street art in the area is Tank Lane, making it the perfect place to start your journey. Here, you’ll find work by international artists, from Taiwan to Brazil. We especially love South Korean artist Xeva’s mural of Bruce Lee (pictured above), one of our hometown heroes. Walk up Tank Lane admiring all the murals along the way, then turn right onto Bridges Street and walk straight for just three minutes until you reach Tai Ping Shan Street. This is the perfect place to take a break for a snack. Why not sit out in the sun at Teakha with a delicious cup of masala chai and a sweet treat?
Teakha, Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2858 9185, www.teakha.com
Stop 2: Walk for another three minutes to the end of Tai Ping Shan Street, turn left onto Pound Lane, and make a short four-minute walk up the hill past the park (or through it!) until you reach Tai On Terrace. This short street holds two fun pieces of art – geometric stars on stairs by Xeme and a funny “brush your teeth” window by Szabotage.
Stop 3: Last but definitely not least, head back down to Tai Ping Shan Street, turn right, and walk for two minutes until you reach Upper Station Street. Walk down the street for another three minutes and you will come across this colourful dragon mural. From here, you can easily grab a cab from Hollywood Road, or continue walking down into Sheung Wan to catch the MTR home.
This year from Saturday, 23 March to Sunday, 31 March HKWalls annual street art festival will take place in Wan Chai, so get ready to spot some new paintings very soon!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally written by Sonia Levina on 26, March 2018 and updated by Izzy Baehr on 6, March 2019.