Hong Kong: 10 Things to Do

9. Chungking Mansions

Chungking Mansions Hong Kong Antony Dickson / AFP / Getty
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When the local tourism board refers to Hong Kong as "Asia's World City" it's referencing the well-ordered worldliness of big banks, fine hotels and a philharmonic — not the worldliness of Bangladeshi hash dealers and Nigerian men trading used PCs by the container load. But this other Hong Kong can be found on the Kowloon peninsula, in the great sleepless citadel known as Chungking Mansions. The complex of five 17-story towers is home to residential apartments, low-rent guesthouses and offices, money changers, restaurants and shops. Some 5,000 people live here, but the population swells daily by an extra estimated 10,000 multinational visitors, buying and selling everything from secondhand mobile phones to old clothing. According to one estimate, 20% of the mobile phones now in use in sub-Saharan Africa have passed through this high-rise souk. Go to the three-level arcade to see world trade in its rawest form, then finish up with a curry at one of the dozens of South Asian restaurants on the floors above. Brace yourself. (Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui)

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