In short, it’s a dump, but it’s also the best place I’ve ever stayed at. It’s estimated to be home to 4,000 residents, many of which are newcomers, expats and budget travelers looking for affordable accommodation.
The chaotic Chungking Mansions are located on Nathan Road, the longest road in HK. It’s easily accessible by MTR, which is located across the road, as well as by taking the star ferry.
It’s well known that Chungking Mansion is where Hong Kong’s ethnic minority community gather, mostly from South Asia countries such as India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as Africans and Middle Eastern communities.
The building is a notorious refuge for petty criminals, prostitution, drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. The police did a mass sweep through the building in both 1995 and 1996, and still to this day there is a police presence in the area.
Don’t let this reputation scare you though. Although it’s busy, chaotic and packed with people, it’s quite safe to visit and most guesthouses will have CCTV, plus there is a security guard.
So why would I want to stay in a place like this? For one reason, Time Magazine named Chungking Mansions “The Best Example of Globalization in Action” in its annual “Best of Asia” series.