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Chungking Mansions – things you need to know before booking your hostel

Chungking Mansions is definitively one of the most international and intercultural places in Hong Kong. As for many, they fear this spot, others are attracted by a good Indian food and cheap guesthouses. When my friend was coming to visit me, I knew we were going to stay at Chungking Mansions. I was craving to experience this mysterious place. At the same time, I didn’t want to ruin my friend’s holidays, so I picked one of the middle-range price hostels. The Marble Leaf Hostel.

First few minutes in the building and I saw my friend panicking a little, I wasn’t so sure about staying there either. Was I too adventurous? Too curious? The idea seemed less brilliant than before, up to the point, we started wondering if we shouldn’t go and stay in my dorm, even though space was limited and the campus is really far from the center. Well, we stayed at Chungking Mansion and guess what? We had a good time! The location is perfect but there are some points you need to know before going there. It will make your stay more enjoyable. Believe me!

Touts

Don’t be surprised when you arrive in front of the building and there will be men selling stuff. For sure, they will propose you a room in one of the hostels, some Indian food, or during evening even some hashish. They work and earn money. You just say “no thank you” and keep walking. After two days, they were already recognizing us and didn’t even bother to talk to us. At the end, we felt like air. It may feel uncomfortable for the first day, but you will get used to. They were never aggressive or too pushy towards us. We were treated way worse in Bali. I returned there again for some Indian food, and I passed them by saying simply “No”. However, my friend hesitated for a while and they tried to convinced her to go to the restaurant recommended by them. If you don’t want to be bothered, say no, and keep walking without hesitation.

80% of people are men

While walking on the first or second floor, you may feel uncomfortable if you are a female traveler. Around 80% of people there are men. Even though, there are tourists strolling through the alleys. You will be stared at. Some people will try to sell something or simply say hello. Nevertheless, I never felt unsafe there. I don’t particularly appreciate being stared at, but it was way worse in some districts in Paris.

Space is very limited

Hong Kong is famous for its high price when it comes to the property. Everything is small, so will be your room in one of those guesthouses. We booked a double room. The size was very small, and if you stay there during the day, it may feel quite claustrophobic. It didn’t really bother us, cause we were out most of the time anyway. For me, the most important thing was that the room was clean. 

Lifts

Each block has two lifts. One serves the odd-numbers while second only the even numbers. So watch out, which one you should take. There are many floors. Sometimes the waiting line is long. We always got in quite fast when waiting on the ground floor. However, on the way down, during peak hours, sometimes we had let pass two or three lifts before we could get in.

Number of guesthouses

While looking for a hostel, I checked mainly booking.com. I was surprised by the number of guesthouses there. However, when I actually got inside, their number was even bigger. Some of them have a really fancy, and funny names. I heard that the number of guesthouses is even bigger since some of them operate without a license.

Staircases

We were fed up with a long waiting line for a lift. We decided to take the stairs. The staircase looks pretty dodgy. At first, we felt so uncomfortable and jumped up whenever someone opened the doors somewhere. We bumped into people smoking cigarettes there, or even one guy who was sleeping. I don’t think I would dare to take the stairs if I were alone. 

CCTV 

There are many cameras in the building. In the entrance, you see a reception desk. This place, even though might have a doubtful reputation, is safe. In each lift, you have one camera. On the ground floor, you can actually watch what’s happening in the lifts. The building went through some improvements, and installing CCTV was one of them. 

 

 

As I said, our first moments in the Chungking Mansions were kind of a shock. However, we got used to it. The location is amazing. You are so close to the main attractions. I would still prefer to book a double room there, rather than a single bed in a dorm in another hostel. Touts might bother you at first, especially if you are not used to it. You just refuse the offer and walk ahead.  

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2 Comments

  • Reply shannon broderick

    This is great! I hope to visit Hong Kong someday and this was so informative, great post!

    2017-04-13 at 3:50 pm
    • Reply Agnieszka

      I hope you will have a great time in Hong Kong. This city has many things to offer 🙂

      2017-04-15 at 2:40 am

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