To Stanley Market from Wan Chai
One of the more famous districts of Hong Kong Island is that of Wan Chai, or Wanchai (灣仔), which has quite a history and a reputation, to which it doesn't really live up in modern times. But it is nevertheless and interesting part of Hong Kong, and has a range of hotels, restaurants and bars.
Today people visit the district for the dining, because their hotel is there, or for some of the historic sights. There are several historic buildings from the golden age of the 1920s, including The Blue House and The Pawn restaurant housed in a traditional pawn shop building.
Although there is not much to see there many visitors to Hong Kong come to the Golden Bauhinia Square, outside the HK Exhibition and Convention Centre, where this giant golden statue of Hong Kong's flower. Great views of the harbour, and of the Convention Centre itself, make up for the lackluster appearance of the square and the statue itself.
Take some time to visit the Old Wan Chai Post Office, now an environmental resource centre, but more interesting perhaps as an example of British Colonial era Royal Mail post office. Nearby the tiny Hung Shing Temple is a classic example of a small village Taoist temple, right in the modern city centre.
Shopping in Wanchai includes big name chain shops, the 298 Computer Mall, and street markets such as that at Tai Yuen Street Market, home to unique toy stalls, or for budget historic souvenirs along Wanchai Road.
Geographically Wan Chai is close to Stanley, but on the other side of the hill. Travelling from one to the other involves either going over the hill, or via the Aberdeen Tunnel. Which way you go depends on your preference for views vs speed, as of course the tunnel is faster but you don't see as much of the countryside.
So getting to Stanley Market from Wanchai involves some form of road transport, unfortunately the otherwise excellent underground railway system (MTR) doesn't extend as far as Stanley. Therefore the best options are Taxi, Bus or green minibus.
Today's visitors are most likely going to the beach to swim or sunbath, or perhaps visit the kitsch Kwun Yam Shrine which sits incongruously at the end of the sandy beach. With its 1970s style tile mosaic and quasi-traditional Chinese Longevity Bridge it is also a working Taoist Temple dedicated to Kwun Yum and Tin Hau.
The beach itself is artificially extended and much of the sand there is not originally beach sand, but dredged from elsewhere. Hence parts of it tend to be course compared to some other beaches in Hong Kong, but that doesn't stop it being a popular swimming spot. And families with small children appreciate the shaded areas from the many trees which grow in the sand, as well as the good clean public facilities at the beach such as the Fast food kiosk, Changing room, shower facilities, toilet, raft, playground and beach volleyball court. Lifeguard services run from the first of March through to the end of November.
Although quite close to Stanley market, both being in the Southern District, there are limited transport options between Wan Chai and Stanley. Busses are your best bet here as they are very frequent and run at all times of the day, while the usual Hong Kong go-to of a Taxi is much more hit-and-miss. Walking along the coast is also a possibility, as is hiking up the hill and down again, but only during suitable weather.
Option 1 - Busses
Several bus routes go through Wan Chai on their way to the Stanley peninsula and catching them on Gloucester Road, or Amoy Street in Wanchai is easy.
- If nearer the waterfront go to Gloucester Road, outside the Immigration Tower and catch the 260 bus. This goes via the tunnel.
- If further from the water, inland, go to Amoy Street and catch the bus 6 to climb over the hill. Or at the same stop, 6A or 6X to go via the tunnel.
- Pay HK$10.60 for the 260 bus, per adult, or pay HK$7.90 for the bus 6 ticket. Octopus or exchange change are accepteed by these busses.
- Pay exact change or use an Octopus card, the fare will be about $5 per person depending on which bus you are on.
- Watch the bus stop names displayed on the screen at the front of the bus, you need to get off at Stanley Village, which is about 12 stops. Don't get off at any of the earlier "Stanley" stops such as "Stanley Gap", "Stanley Mound" etc.
- Many people will alight at the correct stop so it is easy to see when you arrive there, but if you miss the stop and go on to Wong Ma Kok Road get off here at once and it is only 10 minutes walk back.
- After alighting from the bus walk back a few steps to the crossing, cross the road, and walk down the slope
- The market is directly ahead of you as you go down the slope