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Wanchai as a place to stay

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Dec 10th, 2015, 04:42 PM
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Wanchai as a place to stay

So Hong Kong is one of my favorite places on earth to visit. I love the non-stop clamor, the noise, the smells, the throngs of people moving everywhere all the time, the leventyseven million places where you find amazing food, the oases where you can get away from it all and find sublime tranquility. I first came here 25 years ago when you'd swoop past the apartment buildings into Kai Tak airport, then drive past the jaw-dropping neon lights on Nathan Road. Those are gone (well, Nathan Road is still there but not worth a detour anymore), but I've returned a dozen or so times, always tickled pink to be back.

I'm staying in a new area for me, Wanchai, at the Hotel Indigo. I've been through here before many times, as the old wet market has always been something to behold -- one of those things you see in Asia and not many other places. But I'd always stayed either in TST (old and new Hyatts, the IC, Sheraton, Shang), Pacific Place (Conrad & Shang), or Causeway Bay (Crowne Plaza). Got to admit, I absolutely love staying in Wanchai. I'm not sure Wanchai would be my 1st suggestion to a first-time visitor to Asia (the more Western setting of one of the Pacific Place hotels, or the view from one of the harbourfront TST places would work well), but it's at the top of my list for everyone else.

The Indigo is in the middle of an area that's as much residential as it is commercial: it's next-door to the relocated Wanchai market, and the place is absolutely bustling. There are approximately 11,855,216 places to eat within 3 blocks, many of them well-known -- the Happy Cake place for custard tars, fook lam moon for upscale Cantonese and dim sum, 22 Ships wine/tapas bar, Joy Hing for BBQ, Kam Fung for egg tarts and milk tea, and on and on. Unfortunately, I will be able to try only about one-third of the 11 million places in the 4 days I'm here, but there's always next time.

Between meals, this is also an interesting neighborhood to be around. I walked around the blue house cluster around the corner from the hotel, and I'm looking forward to exploring a bunch of places in the next days -- sun, moon, and stars streets; the tong laus, jumping on the trams (just a block away), etc.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 05:34 PM
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It sounds like an interesting neighborhood, especially the markets and neighborhood places to eat (if I understand you in that regard). I've stayed every visit at the Salisbury, in part because I wouldn't know where to begin looking for a place across the water.

I see on your profile that you'll be in Europe in the spring, if it's up-to-date information. I plan to be in Paris & environs late April/early May and London after that. If dates coincide, maybe a meet-up for tea and war stories is in order. If you're so inclined. Anywhere that accepts American Express!

Please enjoy HKG for all of us who wish we were there, too, and aren't. Sigh.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 05:51 PM
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If you are in Wan Chai tomorrow (Sat) at 5pm, come by to the new pedestrian Lee Tung Avenue. Will be there playing a few Christmas songs with a few other musicians.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 06:50 PM
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rkkwan, I'd love to stop by and say hello. Google maps doesn't seem to show Lee Tung Avenue -- can you give me some info as to just where it is? Thx,

Mme Perdu, I expect to be in Paris approximately April 21-26, and London Apr 28-29. I'll stick my email back on my profile if you want to contact me offline.

Prices at this joint are much more reasonable than the non-Salisbury harbourfront hotels, though still not necessarily budget level. In a similar price range, the Crowne Plaza in Causeway Bay is a decent choice, and for less $$ the Holiday Inn Express in Times Square is a good choice. I haven't stayed at the Marriott Courtyard in Western, but I hear ok things about it (though easy access to the MTR is not one of them).
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Dec 10th, 2015, 07:25 PM
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Yes, do.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 08:21 PM
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It's the redeveloped street between Amoy St and Spring Garden Lane. Between Queen's Rd East and Johnston Rd. 2 minutes walk from the Indigo.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 09:49 PM
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Yep, passed in this morning -- thanks!
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Dec 12th, 2015, 01:16 PM
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An excellent day of meandering the streets of Wanchai before braving the insane masses of shoppers in Causeway Bay and Times Square. Then a sweet counterpoint to the hectic city buzz provided by rkkawn and the pops orchestra that he fiddles with -- they provided a truly joyful noise of some Pops and seasonal songs. And it was a treat to meet rkkwan.

They were playing in a new street mall in Wanchai, an area going through an amazing transformation, probably what many would call gentrification. Last time I went through here, probably 6 or 8 years ago, this was one of those gritty, fascinating areas in Hong Kong, an enclave of everyday life between the high rises of Admiralty and Causeway Bay. Now a fair number of the older, tenement-like apartment building have been replaced by modern high-rises and upscale restaurants and shops -- think Lower East Side (though I'm not sure what the Hong Kong equivalent of Katz's Deli might be). All of which makes this area a good choice to stay.

Moving over to the InterContinental for 1 night tomorrow, where I'll no doubt stare out the window for hours on end, because The View is The View. Flying back to Boston Monday on the new(-ish) non-stop. Scheduled flight time is 16 hours, yikes. (Though I think that's about the same, may even less, than the old JFK-BKK flight.)
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Dec 12th, 2015, 01:23 PM
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I'm glad you are enjoying yourself!
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Dec 12th, 2015, 02:24 PM
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It sounds like an area to try though, truth be told, I lean more toward low-rise and more residential than high-rise & upscale. I rode a double-decker tram once east to the end of the line, the place they turn around, and found myself in such a neighborhood, maybe North Point, low-rise and old-fashioned. Probably not many, if any, hotels for a gweilo to stay. But of course it could all be changed there, too, by now.
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Dec 12th, 2015, 11:15 PM
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Thanks for the update on hk.
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Dec 13th, 2015, 03:55 PM
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Well, we didn't have enough players to come that day, so it was a bust. And I think we got duped, as none of the merchants there has opened. So, it was disappointing.

Those new apartments in Wan Chai are tiny and extremely expensive. Around US$1m for a 350 sq ft. The area's redevelopment was highly criticized, but that's really another story...

But thanks for coming, even though our performance wasn't up to par.
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Dec 13th, 2015, 07:16 PM
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Glad you wound up enjoying the trip despite the problem in Lyon. Hope the flight wasn't too bad. At least it was a non-stop.
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