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On a map, Eastern District takes the shape of a sea serpent writhing along the shores of Victoria Harbour. Nobody in the district lives more than 1,500 metres from the waterfront, hemmed in as they are by the mountains of Hong Kong Island’s interior. It may not always be possible to see the ocean — the district is home to nearly 600,000 people in 19 square kilometres, which means there are a lot of high-rises — but it’s impossible not to feel its presence. Seafood populates the district’s markets and a fresh breeze clears the air.
This is a district that has always depended on its waterfront. In North Point, beaches were developed into factories and industrial wharves, which have continued to evolve as new hotels and cultural facilities are built near the water. Quarry Bay’s old dockyards are now a bustling commercial district home to good restaurants, the ArtisTree cultural venue and pleasant outdoor spaces. Quarry Bay Park is home to one of Hong Kong’s most pleasant waterfront promenades, where you can enjoy a breezy stroll or discover an historic fireboat that has been converted into a museum.
The tram is never far from the water, and if you hop on in Quarry Bay, you’ll soon arrive at the terminus in Shau Kei Wan, an historic fishing village that remains home to one of Hong Kong’s best seafood markets. Despite land reclamation and redevelopment, Shau Kei Wan is still a community that lives according to the cycle of the tides, with a large and picturesque typhoon shelter, small-scale shipyards and temples dedicated to seafaring gods.
Catch a classic movie at the Film Archive, a repository of Hong Kong’s rich film history.
Wander through the Shau Kei Wan Market, where you’ll find live fish, exotic fruit, dried seafood and typical Chinese spices.
Grab lunch and buy fresh local produce at the Tong Chong Street Market, which takes place every Sunday between November and February.
Take in a Cantonese opera show at Sunbeam Theatre, whose stages have played host to some of the world’s biggest Chinese opera stars since 1972.