Hong Kong Asia's World City

Kwai Tsing

Kwai Tsing

Factories of creativity

“The factory provides such a good working environment. There are different artists working nearby and sometimes we collaborate and inspire each other—this helps spread our creativity,” says woodwork artist Stanley Lee Yan Kit.

Kwai Tsing is a district of two distinct halves: Kwai Chung in the New Territories and the small neighboring hilly island of Tsing Yi. Like much of the northern reaches of Hong Kong, Kwai Tsing was a largely rural territory with villagers living off the land and the sea, until the development of heavy industry in the years swiftly following the Second World War. As the city industrialized, Kwai Tsing became the focal point for trade, with the building of the famous Kwai Tsing Container Terminal that still dominates its skyline.

Stanley Lee Yan Kit

As Hong Kong switched to a predominately service-based economy, Kwai Tsing’s industrial buildings that once housed textiles and electronics factories became redundant. However it didn’t take long for the city’s creative spirit to take full advantage of the space, with offices, workshops and artist studios popping up across the district; there’s a lot of energy that’s hard at work behind these old walls. Woodwork artist and interior designer Stanley Lee Yan Kit used the opportunity to start up Here Workshop in Kwai Chung three years ago and enjoys the slower pace of life here. He explains: “Back in the old days, people worked inside factories at a very fast pace—life was very tense. Nowadays people are more focused on their lifestyle and inside these industrial buildings there’s a much slower pace of life. Studios, workshops, coffee shops and concept stores have moved in here.”

In Here Workshop you’ll find the ancient handicraft of woodworking in sync with a young, creative spirit. Mr. Lee said: “Being a wood artist, I need a lot of space to cut wood and weld, so the factory provides such a good working environment. There are different artists working nearby and sometimes we collaborate and inspire each other—this helps spread our creativity.” Here offers workshops on a range of crafts such as wood-making and planting, as well as sells unique gifts such as beautifully carved, customized wooden cutlery.

Nudite Fashion

Sparkolada DIY Projects is another unusual concept hidden inside an old industrial building. The studio runs regular workshops teaching you how to transform your fresh cut flowers into a preserved arrangement that you can keep for years. The space also stocks pretty homemade floral home-deco products that make nice keepsakes. In a converted factory just a short walk away you’ll find Nudite Fashion, a local clothing brand that was founded in 2011. The designs are simple, with clean cuts in white, black or neutral colors and subtle stylish embellishments. Nudite’s studio also sells handmade accessories which are designed and made in Hong Kong.

For a meal that also satisfies your cultural appetite head to The Alchemist Café Bistro—a creative space that was set up with the traveler in mind: it’s well stocked with travel books that you’re free to sit and read over a platter of antipasti, or you can take part in one of the regular travel-sharing sessions and music shows.

Dai Foon Hey Bakery

As well as these new creative industries popping up around the district, Kwai Tsing has also been remodeling a lot of its land into green, open spaces that offer a breath of fresh air. It’s not uncommon for locals to stop off at Tsing Yi staple Dai Foon Hay Bakery in the morning before settling down in one of the many public gardens. Dai Foon Hey, which means “Big Happiness,” is a traditional family bakery that’s been going since 1966. If you’re up early you’ll get to see baker Yu Yung Wing working bare-chested as he stocks up the oven with Chinese-style cakes, buns and bread. Take your baked goodies to nearby Tsing Yi Park, a former hillside cemetery that was transformed in the 1990s. The parkland is dotted with pebbled walking trails, scenic lakes and waterfalls and maple trees. These maple trees are famous, with visitors flocking here in the autumn for the turning of the leaves—although if you’re here in spring you’ll also catch the blossoming of the cherry trees. Just a short walk away is Tsing Yi Promenade, a 2km-long walkway that offers great views of the Rambler Channel, the stretch of waterway separating the island from Kwai Chung. It’s an idyllic spot for Hongkongers, who you’ll often see practicing Tai Chi here or fishing.

From a buzzing post-war industrial town, Kwai Tsing is adopting a more creative, laidback lifestyle that can offer the visitor a fascinating break from the city.

 

Do-it-Yourself

Morning
  • Dai Foon Hay Bakery
    Pick up fresh bread
    Dai Foon Hay Bakery
    It’s not uncommon for locals to stop off at Dai Foon Hay Bakery for some freshly baked bread and cakes before settling down in one of Tsing Yi’s parks and gardens. Dai Foon Hei, which means “Big Happiness,” is a traditional family bakery that’s been going since 1966 and is a Tsing Yi staple: if you’re up early you’ll get to see baker Yu Yung Wing working bare-chested as he stocks up the oven with Chinese-style cakes, buns and bread.
    Address:
    44 Chung Mei Road, Tsing Yi, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2495 5262
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsing Yi Station, Exit A1. Cross Tsing Tsuen Road and pick up minibus 88A from the station terminus. Alight at Cheung Hong Estate and walk back along Chung Mei Road for 2 minutes. It’s about a 20-minute journey.
  • Tsing Yi Park
    Sit under the maple trees
    Tsing Yi Park
    In the center of Tsing Yi sits Tsing Yi Park, a former hillside cemetery that was transformed into a large park in the 1990s. More than 70,000 square meters of parkland is dotted with pebbled walking trails, scenic lakes, waterfalls and maple trees. These maple trees are famous, with visitors flocking here in the autumn for the turning of the leaves—although if you’re here in spring you’ll also catch the blossoming of the cherry trees.
    Address:
    Tsing Luk Street, Tsing Yi, New Territories
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsing Yi Station, Exit C. Walk through Maritime Square to Tsing King Road. Cross over into Tsing Yi Park. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
  • Tsing Yi Promenade
    Take a promenade
    Tsing Yi Promenade
    Just across from the park is Tsing Yi Promenade, a 2km-long walkway that offers great views of the Rambler Channel, the stretch of waterway separating the island from Kwai Chung. It’s an idyllic spot for Hongkongers, who you’ll often see practicing Tai Chi here or fishing. If you’re here in the evening you’ll be treated to fantastic panoramas as the sun drops behind Tsing Ma Bridge.
    Address:
    Nga Ying Chau Street, Tsing Yi, New Territories
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tsing Yi Station, Exit B. Walk through Maritime Square to the promenade. It’s about a 2-minute walk.
Afternoon
  • The Alchemist Café Bistro
    Feed your cultural side
    The Alchemist Café Bistro
    For a meal that also satisfies your cultural appetite try The Alchemist Café Bistro—a hipster coffee shop and arts space that adjoins the glass-fronted Kwai Tsing Theatre. This creative bistro was set up with the traveler in mind: it’s well stocked with travel books that you’re free to browse over a platter of antipasti. Alternatively you can take part in one of the regular travel-sharing sessions and music shows.
    Address:
    Shop 2, Kwai Tsing Theatre, 12 Hing Ning Road, Kwai Fong, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2439 5669
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwai Fong Station, Exit C. Cross Kwai Yan Road to the theatre. It’s about a 2-minute walk.
  • Sparkolada DIY Projects
    Freeze the romance
    Sparkolada DIY Projects
    Sparkolada DIY Projects is a unique concept hidden inside an old industrial building. This studio is packed floor to ceiling with colorful garden flowers and runs regular workshops teaching you how to transform your fresh cut flowers into a preserved arrangement that you can keep for years. The space also stocks pretty homemade floral home-deco products that make nice gifts. (By appointment only)
    Address:
    3A, Eastern Factory Building, 42-50 Kwai Ting Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 5579 6346
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwai Fong Station, Exit D. Turn right on Kwai Yan Road and right again on Kwai Foo Road. Turn left on Kwai Chung Road and take the pedestrian underpass across to Kwai Ting Road. It’s about a 10-minute walk.
  • Here Workshop
    Shop for handmade gifts
    Here Workshop
    Run by woodwork artist and interior designer Stanley Lee Yan Kit, Here Workshop collaborates with other local artists to offer lessons on a range of crafts such as wood-making and planting. You can learn how to keep an aquaponics plant— fish and plants in one ecosystem—as well as how to repurpose old magazines to decorate wooden stools. Woodwork is Here’s specialty, with unique gifts available like the beautifully carved, customized wooden cutlery.
    Address:
    D1, 4/F, Hover Industrial Building, 26 Kwai Cheong Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 9710 5134
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwai Hing Station, Exit A. Walk along Kwai Hing Road, turn right and cross the footbridge on Kwai Fong Road to Kwai Cheong Road. Turn left. It’s about a 5-minute walk.
  • Nudite Fashion
    Dress up in Hong Kong style
    Nudite Fashion
    In another converted factory just a short walk away you’ll find Nudite Fashion, a local clothing brand that was founded in 2011. The designs are simple, with clean cuts in white, black or neutral colors, and subtle stylish embellishments—the timeless fashion of classic colors never fades. Nudite’s studio also sells handmade accessories which are designed and made in Hong Kong. (by appointment only)
    Address:
    Room 1110, Block A, On Fat Industrial Building, 12-18 Kwai Wing Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2152 0283
    How to Get There:
    MTR Kwai Hing Station, Exit A. Walk along Kwai Hing Road, turn right and cross the footbridge on Kwai Fong Road to Kwai Cheong Road. Make a right on Tai Lin Pai Road and left into Kwai Wing Road. It’s about a 10-minute walk.

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This guide was produced by HK Magazine Media Group from 2014-2015.

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