Tell anyone that you stayed in a hostel in Hong Kong, and guaranteed the first question they’ll ask you is, ‘Did you stay in Chungking Mansions?’
Hong Kong’s well-known house of a hundred hostels is infamous for a variety of different reasons, but from a cheapo standpoint, it is a backpacker haven with some of the cheapest rooms in an expensive city.
Chung King Mansions stands smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest areas of Hong Kong, with a prime location on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, a stone’s throw from the MTR station and public transport.
A nondescript black and gold sign hangs above the entrance to the building, illuminated by the neon lights of money changers and SIM card sellers. Walk inside, however, and you’ll definitely feel the vibe change. It’s kind of dark, dank, and the smell of Nepalese curry lingers in the air. Electricity wires snake their way up every wall and ceiling, like a pulsating, throbbing vein. People of a dozen different ethnicities bustle around, and salesmen call out to you constantly, trying to sell copy watches, cell phones, and more. Long lines queue up for the elevators, with tiny statues and pictures of deities stuck in the corners, to deter men from urinating while they wait.
No, Chungking Mansions isn’t pretty, but if you’re on a tight budget, staying here a night or two won’t kill you. You may have to sit on the toilet while you take a shower, and your room will likely not have a window (or if it does, it has bars on it), but hey, that’s what you get for HK$100.00 a night. If you do decide to stay here, it’s best to approach it as simply a place to sleep, and perhaps a travel story to tell.
Fun facts about Chungking Mansions
There really are more than 100 hostels in the building, housed in five different blocks, A, B, C, D and E. The ground floor and 1st Floor are the Chungking Mall, but buyer beware of fake goods.
A large community of ethnic minorities live in the Chungking Mansions, which explains the high number of Indian, Nepalese, Sri Lankan and African restaurants and food shops.