Monday, May. 11, 2009


When TIME caught up with photographer Justin Jin, he had just returned to his native Hong Kong after a 20-year absence. "A lot has changed here, he says, "but it is not that much different." It's still a city of spectacular views, great food and some of the most luxurious shops in the world, like the Louis Vuitton, above, on Canton Road.

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Wong Tai Sin is a Chinese deity granted the power of healing. His name literally translates to the "Great Immortal Wong". "This is the most revered temple in Hong Kong," says Jin. "Busloads of Chinese tourists come here from Mainland China to pray for health and prosperity, and, you know, wealth."

Central District

A worker at an herbalist's shop measures three doses for a customer. Jin has captured the moment when the hands of the herbalists, the paper and their sticks form a neat grid.

Kowloon Waterfront

This site is a popular spot for locals to take their own pictures. On the day in October when he arrived, Jin found a small graduation celebration.

Mong Kok District

A salesman at a pet market shows off a specimen. "Goldfish are a very popular pet in Hong Kong for two reasons," says Jin, "First, because they don't take up a lot of space and, second, because the word 'fish' in Chinese rhymes with the word, 'having too much.'"

The Peak Tram

Though it is not the highest point in the city, The Peak is its most accessible — and therefore the most popular destination for both locals and tourists. The tram leading to the viewing terraces departs from within Central District. Cars leave every fifteen minutes from 7 a.m. to midnight.

The Peak, Upper Viewing Terrace

Jin recommends visiting The Peak during the dusk hours, when the light is softest. He does not however, recommend making the journey to the Peak Tower rooftop sky terrace, seen in this photo. It requires a wait in line and an additional payment.

The Peak, Lower Viewing Terrace

The viewing points beneath the rooftop terrace, Jin says, are closer to the city, cheaper and much more convivial.

Temple Street

"This is the seediest part of the city," Jin says. There are hawkers selling fake antiques, snake charmers, prostitutes, and lots of tourists and police. Amongst the more popular attractions are the palm readers, above.

International Finance Center

Containing shops, a cinema, offices, residences and hotels, the IFC is Hong Kong's tallest building and, according to its own website, "the number one living and entertainment megastructure in the city." Jin took this shot from the ferry that docks at the tower's base, shortly after nightfall.