Central, as its name indicates, is the central business district of Hong Kong and is also the earliest developed area of Hong Kong Island. Several major multinational banking and financial services corporation have their impressive headquarters in this district to outdo the next in height, luxury and cost. From Wan Chai to Central, the scene of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers along the Victoria Harbour has become a symbol of Hong Kong and occurs frequently in all books, souvenirs, postcards as well as TV and movie scenes about Hong Kong.
Take your time, walk underneath the high density of skyscrapers and explore another unique side of Hong Kong. Even as a visitor, you easily can identify the impressive HSBC Building, IFC Towers, Bank of America Tower or Bank of China Building and can enjoy their participation in the Symphony of Lights show every night at 8pm. The area around Central is also known for housing many countries consulates as well as being home of Hong Kong’s government headquarters which are often referred to as Government Hill. For your reference, the rent of Central is the second highest in Hong Kong (the highest in Hong Kong is Causeway Bay).
Because of insufficient lands, Hong Kong government has conducted a number of land-reclamation projects in Central and dismantled/moved away plenty of historic buildings. Some of the building are resurrected in other places in Hong Kong, such as the Blake Pier and Murray House in Stanley, some in the Hong Kong Museum of History. Where the Hong Kong Club, Statue Square, Legislative Council stand today are all created by reclamation.
Central is located on the North Shore of Hong Kong Island and can easily be reached by all means of transportation like bus, minibus as well as MTR subway (Central station). The Hong Kong Airport Express connects the Central District with the Hong Kong International Airport in less than 25 minutes. As a visitor, you definitely should not miss the opportunity to cross Victoria Harbour with the famous Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui (which is located just across) or explore Hong Kong Island with the iconic Ding Ding Tram, which is the cheapest sightseeing transportation in Hong Kong (only HK$ 2.3).
What to SEE ?
Being located at the financial hub and heart of Hong Kong Island, Central is – similar to Tsim Sha Tsui – home of several luxury hotels including Four Seasons, Conrad, JW Marriott, Landmark Mandarin Oriental or the Island Shangri-La Hotel. Due to this convenience, the Central district is also a good starting point for sightseeing (but you might be already aware of this fact if you read our related article on our suggested tour itinerary).
Many visitors start their sightseeing day in Central by taking the Bus No 15C to the Lower Peak Tram Terminus where the iconic Peak Tram will bring you to Hong Kong’s Must-See attractions The Peak (including Sky Terrace 428, Peak Galleria, Peak Tower and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum).
If you want to experience typical Hong Kong life style and culture, a good idea is to visit Western Market and explore the old streets of Hong Kong including the Dried Sea Food Street Market (in Sheung Wan – one station away from Central). Hollywood Street and Cat Street are like a museum with price tags, where you are able to hunt for antiques, curios, all kind of knick-knacks and are able to visit a wide variety of art galleries. It is all great for browsing. In close proximity is one of Hong Kong’s oldest temples: the Man Mo Temple surrounded by skyscrapers and tall buildings. Other sightseeing attractions like Hong Kong’s Zoological and Botanical Garden, St. John’s Cathedral, Statue Square, Mid-Levels Escalator as well as the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum are also in the nearby area.
In case you would like to take a break and enjoy some greenery you have the option to sit down at the Statue Square (a popular gathering place for domestic workers on weekends) or visit the Hong Kong Park. But be aware: especially around lunch time this park is a popular gathering place for all the office workers, bankers and lawyers to take a break from their hectic and busy working day. Inside the Hong Kong Park you can also find another popular Museum: The Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware which is highly recommended to take a closer look.
More Attractions in Central
Where to SHOP ?
Central is definitely a gathering spot for all the major international luxury designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, etc. as well as several upscale shopping malls such as the IFC Shopping Mall, Pacific Place or the all-weather-link interconnected houses (known as CENTRAL mall) including Alexander House, Chater House, Exchange Square, Jardine House, Prince’s Building and The Landmark which houses over 250 shops and stores. But be prepared for a serious damage of your wallet after shopping in Central.
The Apple fans could take a look of the first and the only Apple Flagship Store of Hong Kong at IFC Shopping Mall.
Where to RELAX ?
In case you would like to enjoy a high afternoon teatime or some cocktails, Central provides lots of bars for you to choose, such as Sevva Bar, M Bar, ISO Bar and Red Bar. Looking for a good place to dine then the famous area of South of Hollywood or as locals refer to SoHo will be your choice. Hong Kong’s premier bar and nightlife district Lan Kwai Fong is located close to SoHo, where you can more than 100 different bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs.
We would like to share a secret with you – the special designed Starbucks on Duddell Street. It is not only close to Hong Kong’s last remaining gas lamps but also reminiscences the good old times of the Hong Kong coffeehouses called “bing sutt”.
Wanna relax yourself in a spa? You can take a look at the Four Seasons Spa, Mandarin Spa, Oriental Spa, Dragonfly Spa, Iyara Beauty Concepts (for more spas in Central district please refer to the article “Top Spa in Hong Kong“).
Don’t forget to skip through our list about the latest Michelin Guide of Hong Kong to find the best restaurants in Central district.
Other Popular Districts in Hong Kong