A Day in Kwun Tong: Industrial Hub Turned Creative Haven
Overshadowed by Hong Kong’s flashier neighbourhoods, you probably wouldn’t think much of Kwun Tong other than as a large industrial area with some swanky office buildings thrown in, which couldn’t be further from the truth! Not only is Kwun Tong an up and coming business district, but it’s also become home to an eclectic mishmash of quirky coworking spaces, quaint cafés, contemporary art studios and fun indoor arenas.
The history of this Kowloon neighbourhood might not be unique – most major cities around the world have an ageing industrial area saved from obsoletion to become havens for struggling creatives and entrepreneurs looking for cheap rent – but there is truly nowhere else quite like it in Hong Kong.
Whether you’re looking to explore an area off the beaten path, or simply want to check out some new places around town, we’ve rounded up a list of our top locations to work, shop and play in Kwun Tong. Have a read and take your pick! It might just become your new favourite Hong Kong district.
Want to be part of a thriving business district?
Over the years, the government has rebranded Kwun Tong and its surrounding districts as an upscale business area and major developers are opening up sparkly new office buildings and shopping malls yearly. However, wandering through certain parts of Kwun Tong almost feels like going back in time. Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon old barbershops, traditional teahouses or enchanting toy stores on your journey.
Despite some parts of Kwun Tong being gentrified, rent is still relatively affordable, which is why it is still a popular alternative business location for musicians, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and even multinationals. Because of this, Kwun Tong has become a core business district on the Kowloon side of the island. Some might argue it’s even busier than Central at rush hour!
If you’re in the creative industry looking for a coworking space with an extra oomph, Tencent WeStart HK may be one to check out. As you might have guessed from the name, this creative hub is part of the Tencent WeStart network aimed to provide digital entrepreneurs with a gateway to China and the world. Its on-site production facilities are designed for professional creative work and include a mixing and recording studio with top-of-the-line equipment, a green screen studio, and an editing room in addition to your traditional workspaces such as communal areas, hot desks and conference rooms.
Fancy a stroll on the harbourfront?
A quintessential spot to check out when in Kwun Tong is the promenade. The newly extended waterfront walkway with rust-coloured structures and unique art installations is hard to miss. Formerly a recycling depot and cargo area, the promenade offers stunning panoramas of Victoria Harbour and Lei Yue Mun and is the ideal place to have a relaxing walk with ice cream and soak up the sun.
Craving a caffeine fix?
When your energy levels start dipping, look for one of the many cafés dotted around Kwun Tong. You can find cute eateries and coffee shops on most street corners, in shopping malls and hidden inside industrial buildings, a legacy of the old days when factory workers needed a convenient spot to fuel up.
One such spot is the adorable Coffee Lover Café, a local coffee specialty shop located on the third floor of an industrial building. They’ve got a great selection of coffee and teas (we’re obsessed with the hazelnut latte!), and also run coffee art workshops if you’re looking for a fun team-building activity with family, friends or your team at work. The décor is understated but elegant, and it’s quiet too, making it a great place for a quick casual meeting. PS: You can book a table here on the BOOQED app!
Another café to add to your Kowloon bucket list is Nutmad! Despite being hidden away in a remote corner of this busy neighbourhood, Nutmad has managed to make a name for itself as a Kwun Tong must-try. Locals come from all over Hong Kong to sample its Instagrammable drinks and desserts, think French toast with caramelised bananas and ice cream, and an iced mocha made from single-origin espresso, 70% dark chocolate and a scoop of chocolate ice cream.
All that caffeine should hopefully provide you with enough fuel to try the rest of the activities on our list!
Looking for something different to do?
When you want to let loose and have fun, more often than not, finding a big enough space for a group of friends can be a headache. Here’s where party rooms come in – a private space fully equipped with the karaoke, game consoles, and a whole bunch of game facilities for you and your friends to have an awesome party without the aftermath of cleaning up afterwards. Kwun Tong has plenty of great options, V-Owl Station is a party house with over two hundred VR games to choose from and spacious gaming facilities for you and your mates to spend a rainy day.
Whether you love having a wander around contemporary art galleries and pop-up craft markets or even want to have a go at making your own wooden stool, Kwun Tong is the place to go! Even though the district’s business-minded makeover has taken a toll on the area’s free-flowing creative energy, there’s a reason why it’s still one of the most exciting art destinations in the city. Embrace your inner artist and explore the exciting cultural scene this neighbourhood has to offer!
If you’re in the area and looking for somewhere to get some creative work done, WanderLoft is a coworking space aimed to provide designers with the community, opportunities and resources to create meaningful work. In addition to traditional coworking facilities, they have a material library with fabric, carpets, tiles and more! They also occasionally organise design-focused events to nurture learning and networking between creatives so be sure to check out their website to catch the next one.
You’ve probably seen a beautifully intricate mosaic Turkish lamp or two at a market before but now, you can make your own! Mosaic Art Studio HK is Hong Kong’s only studio where you can design and decorate your very own mosaic lamp with colourful glass beads. They also offer a range of fun cultural workshops such as teaching people how to brew a traditional Turkish coffee or how to create a Turkish Ebru painting on a silk scarf. Sign us up!
It may come as a surprise to many people that Hong Kong has an underground music scene. Hidden Agenda: This Town Needs is one of the few independent venues for live indie music, created in 2009 when a group of indie music lovers decided to transform a band practice room into a hot spot for alternative music and live shows. Anyone seeking music or entertainment outside of the mainstream should keep an eye out for Hidden Agenda’s upcoming events.
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, check out Foggy Ash Studio for a therapeutic art jamming experience. Choose from adult group sessions, children group sessions or book the studio for a private art jamming session for you and some friends. They provide unlimited drinks, snacks and paint materials so all you need to do is show up and get painting! If you get stuck on what to draw, you can bring your own reference photos or have a flip through the studio’s art books to gain some inspiration. Just remember, it’s all about having fun!
Get Inspired in Kwun Tong
Fancy a workspace outside the city’s mainstream business districts? Kwun Tong may be one to add to your list. Book a hot desk, meeting room or reserve a café table at any of the workspaces mentioned above through the BOOQED app (available on both Android and iOS). Spaces can be booked by the hour, day, or month, it’s down to you! Plus, you can use the code HK50 to get 50% off your first booking in Hong Kong!