Where to stay in TST ?

 

Please select :

 

Note : ® = subjectively recommended 

Dormitories ?

  • Garden Hostel (2311 1183), Mirador Arcade, 3F /Sri Lanka management /Our favorite in HK thanks to the convenient location (lift not necessary !), the big outside terrace, the small kitchen and the new management.  Female backpackers will also find a distinctive dorm for their gender. Dorm bed in 4 or 8 bed's rooms with air cond cost 60.  Rooms also available.

  • New Garden Hotel (2311  2541) Mirador Arcade, 13F / Chinese management /Thanks to the aggressive touts, its confusing name with the former, its cheap prices and acceptable standard , this place is often busy /Dorm bed in 6 or 14  beds' rooms cost 50 to 60 according to the length of stay. The big room has a tiny balcony and two attached bathrooms while the small one boost a TV / Rooms also available.

  • Traveler's Hostel (2368 7710), Chung King Mansion, 16F / Philippina management with kids/ Dorm bed  in this not so clean nor quiet guesthouse cost 65 but the facilities (satellite TV, big living room, kitchen), the laidback atmosphere and the next door travel agency make the queuing for the lift still worth considering... / Very basic rooms also available

  • Oriental Pearl Hostel (2723 3439) Mirador Arcade, 6F, A3 / Philippina management /Dorm bed in a real scary 26 beds' room cost 60 to 65.  To be considered only if the others are full !

  • Victoria Hostel (2376 0621), 33 Hankow Rd /Chinese management /Dorm bed in 4 beds clean room without attached bath cost 130 for the first night, 110 after and 700 for one week / Sgl without bath 220 / You pay through the nose for not being in Chung King...  

  • YMCA Salisbury (2369 2211), 41 Salisbury Rd /Luxury dorm bed in 4 beds ultra clean room with attached bath cost 190 (+10% tax). This is no bargain considering that the room have no TV and no tel and that the guests have to pay for access to the facilities of the hotel (65 for the gym,...) but off course, you save face when you walk the lobby...  

 

Guesthouses in Mirador Arcade ?

More respectful and less crowded than Chun King Mansion, this place has become the  backpacker's favorite over the years.  Prices are slightly higher however. Below are our recommended addresses :

  • Garden Hostel (2311 1183), 3F / Sri Lanka management / Dorm 60 / Sgle 100 ( without bath) to 140  / Convenient location / Big relaxing Terrace / ® as guesthouse

  • The Loi Loi Guest House (2367 2909), 5F,  A2 /Chinese management / Room 150 to 200 (1 to 2 people) 250 Triple / ® as guesthouse

  • Charles Inn (2301 3078), 6F,  F2 / Chinese management / Sgle-Dble 150 / Triple (family) 180 / Nice / ® for family

  • The Great Wall Guesthouse (2311 6987), 7F,  Flat D2 / Chinese management / Very small Sgle 120-130 / Dble 150-160 / ® for prices

  • Sunflower Guest House (2366 9588), 8F, Flat A15 / Chinese management /Sgle/Dble around 160 / ® as guesthouse

  • Cosmic Guest House (2721 3077), 12F, Block A1, A2, F1 /Chinese management / Sgle 100 to 170 / Very nice Dble 190 to 240 /  ® as guesthouse

  • Chung Chiaw Court (2311 5009), 13F, F3 / Philippina management / Dble only (2 beds or 1 big bed) 200 / Nice /  ® for Dble

  • First Class Guesthouse (2744 0595), 16F /Chinese management / Sgle 120 to 150 / Dble 180 / very clean / Drinking water  / Fresh air / ® as guesthouse

Also to be considered :  Lily Garden Guesthouse (2366 2575), 3F / Satisfy Guesthouse (2312 0256), 5F / Mei Lam Guest House (2721 5278), 5F / Deluxe Garden Guest House (2311 3830), 13F / Man Hin Lung (2311 8807), 14F

 

Guesthouses in Chung King Mansion ?

You have heard the name. It looks scary indeed. True, the stairs are dirty and this is not a very romantic place. But it is an experience in itself and it is bearable, provided that the guesthouse you choose offer acceptable standards. This is how it works :

  • There are a lot of touts operating in the lobby. To go with them means that they will find you a room, and it is some times a pleasant surprise. But negotiate hard and remember that you got some relatively nice places around so there is no need to stay in the dirty ones.  

  • There can be long queues at the lift, especially at Block A which concentrate the most of the guesthouses, and the only dorm facilities.  

  • To stay lower means more convenience to come and leave but to stay higher means more fresh air.  

  • There is plenty of competition so if you are not sure about a place, move !  

  • Most of the guesthouses are managed by mainland Chinese people. If you can speak mandarin, use it to negotiate

The prices below where given without much negotiating but at a favorable low season time. You might get better deals if you stay more than a few nights. Threaten to walk out to see what happens.

Places below where selected according to the followings criteria : open, clean, friendly and affordable. At least, this was true at the time of writing... Without precisions, rooms included tiny  attached bath.

Block A : The most busy lift but the widest choice and cheapest prices...

  • Ocean Guest House (2721 3255), 15F /Chinese management / Sgle 80 / Dble 100 (without bath) to 140 / +$10 for air cond. / ® for prices

  • Hawaii Guest House (2366 6127), 14F / Philippina management / Sgl 80 / Dble 120 / + $10 for air cond. / ® for prices

  • Pay-less Guesthouse (2723 0148), 7F / Chinese management /Room 80 (without bath) to 100 / ® for prices

Also to be considered : Rhine Guesthouse (2367 1991), 13F & 11F  / Peking Guesthouse (2723 8320), 12F / New Asia Guesthouse (2724 0426), 8F / The Welcome Guesthouse (2721 7793), 7F /  Double Seven Guesthouse (2367 1406), 7F

Block B

  • Hollywood Guesthouse (2732 2155), 8F / Philippina management /  Room 130 (1-2 people) to 180 (2 beds) / Very clean, tea, coffee / ® as guesthouse

  • Harbour Guesthouse (2721 2207) 4F / Sgle 110 (without bath) to 150 (with bath) / Very clean / Convenient location / Also Bk C (9F) / ® as guesthouse

Block C :

  • Garden Guesthouse (2368 0981) 16F or 7F (2366 0169) /Chinese management /  Sgle 120 / Dble 180 / very clean / ® as guesthouse 

  • Tom's Guesthouse (2722 4956) 16F, also Bk B (16F) & Bk A (8F) / Chinese management /  Sgle 120 / Dble 180 / very clean / ® as guesthouse

Block D :

  • Head Sun Guesthouse, 4F / Chinese management / Mostly African guests /Rooms around 120 / Conveniently located 

  • Princess Guesthouse (2367 3101), 3F / Chinese management / Sgl 100 / Dbl 150 before discount /Conveniently located 

Block E :

  • Mandarin Guesthouse (2366 0073), 13F / Chinese management /Sgle 120 / Dble 200 / very clean / ® as guesthouse

 

Backpacker's Tips : Stefan Westerheide, Germany (Jan 05)
« Dragon Hostel dbl (sh br,hw,clean,very friendly) 250 HK$ very good value perfectly located in Mongkok right in the middle of the action near MTR
station
» 

 

“Mansions” for the Penny Pincher, by Connie Tsang

"I knew there would be no chance of bumming free accommodation in Hong Kong.  Though I have family in many parts of the city, the bulk of them reside in ghettoesque million-story high apartment buildings in units that would make even Kate Moss claustrophobic.

But no matter.  I’m well versed in the area of budget guidebook abuse, and decide to keep in my backpacking tradition of forsaking comfort for strict economy.  I discover that all this and more can be found down in the hubbub of Kowloon activity.  Destination:  Mirador Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui. 

Tsim Sha Tsui is boisterous area located in central Kowloon, a mad marriage of new world commercialism and old Chinese tradition.  Flocks of mobile phone users float underneath bamboo scaffolding while dodging pushcart garbage collectors.  Granville Road, just a few streets north of the Mansions, is chock-a-block with clothing for the trend setting youth market, Nathan Road is a haven for tech geeks, and a quick 50 Canadian cents will get you on a Star Ferry ride, offering a speedy connection to the high-rolling upscale markets of Hong Kong Island.  Thus, the Mirador Mansions (and its southern counterpart, Chungking Mansions) makes the perfect accommodation of choice for those who want to be in the centre of it all and wish to sacrifice comfort for a chance to buy a new technological gizmo that just can't be found in good old' North America.

Guesthouse touts and commission agents prowl this stretch of Nathan Road, chumming up anyone in possession of internationally tagged baggage and a slightly disoriented or jet-lagged demeanour.   Usually, these folk are newly landed mainland Chinese or East Indian expats; most are just trying to etch out a meager living by scoring pennies from unforeseeing tourists and guesthouse owners. 

Apparently, I fit the bill of the gullible tourist, and just as I step off the airport bus I am attacked by a smiling agent.  I roll my eyes at his swiftness but, the fact of the matter is, I welcome his style.  Stumbling off a ten hour flight provides no remedy to my patience – I need all the help I can get.

My first cause for panic is that the agent moves fast.  I barely have time to think before he whisks me and two other foreigners into a lineup of people waiting for an unbelievably molasses-like elevator.  Eventually, after two shifts of the lineup, we squeeze in for a quick trip up and out through an incomprehensible set of hallways adorned with leaking pipes and flickering fluorescents reminiscent of a bad NYC gangster flick.  We finally chase the agent to an open door with a view of an unrefined Chinese woman sprawled over a desk sleeping; our friend nudges her, and a feral visage is exposed, appearing as if it is the most cumbersome thing to actually do her job and accept new customers.  She slowly wakes up, and guides us to another decrepit looking hallway chock full of doors that lead to equally decrepit-looking dank rooms.  Upon discovering that the eyesore would cost me $40 Canadian, I nervously thank the lady and walk away, half of me glad that I wasn’t gullible enough to pounce on the very first offer, but the other half wondering how in hell I would find another guesthouse, let alone get out of the building alive.  

Panicking, I put pedal to the metal, skipping down a series of staircases that I figure will lead me out of the building, but instead brings me to a dead end.  Memories of getting stuck in the mirror maze at the Canadian National Exhibition rain down on my helpless soul.

This, above all, is the most important issue of the Mirador Mansions: if you think you know where your guesthouse is, think again; next time, take notes on which elevator you boarded, as four sets of elevators adorn the mazelike mayhem.  Obviously, investing in a compass wouldn’t hurt. 

Apparently my need to get out of the building is as intense as my friendly tout’s need for a commission.  Not a beat later, he’s behind me, huffing and puffing, asking me why I had left so quickly.  Of course, he has scores of other guesthouses to recommend, each one a little better (and cheaper) than the previous.  I finally get myself into a $12 CAN dorm room with no apparent security aside from the four east Indians engaged a loud round of card games outside the open door.  I figure this will be better than nothing and, in an act of extreme fatigue, volunteer my back to the bedbug-ridden mattress on the creaky bunk bed frames with sheer delight.

Though this particular guesthouse feels like paradise compared to the previous haunts, an aura of insecurity continues to loom through the halls.  After all, rooming in any of the Mansion guesthouses makes it seem like you've just volunteered to participate in the Hong Kong inferno exhibition, featuring the charred bodies of the cheapskate traveler collective.  I would not be surprised if I return next to find the superintendent holding up a placard reading: “Come one, come all!  Bear witness to the Burnt Canadian, well done!”

Still, Mirador possesses much more than bedbugs and burning backpacks.  The building brims with commercial affairs of an indescribable nature, including a number of rooms filled with naked mannequins, cloth samples, and people squatting on the floor eating rice in takeaway containers.  Behind closed doors exist the clickety-clack of mah jong tiles and the consequent high pitch Cantonese squeals denoting a bad hand.  Wafts of coriander and cumin flow through the ventilation shafts of East Indian dens.   And on every floor, with every turn of the head, the largest ratio of janitors to tenants, hardly indicative of the hygienic state of the tower.

And all this describes its appeal.  Of the three times I've passed through Hong Kong, I've voluntarily thrown myself back into this labyrinth of substandard rooming houses.  Despite my frustration with accommodation standards, it has a sort of personality that you just can't get in your typical Howard Johnson (i.e. slimy bathroom slippers, cockroaches).  Though reports have it that the Chungking Mansions, a few buildings south on Nathan Road, harbours even more chaotic pleasure, I find that my time spent in Mirador has been interesting enough.  

However, there’s no doubt that the next time I hit Hong Kong my relatives will still be stacked in their claustrophobic sardine flats, and I will be left to suffer accommodation woes yet again. 

That’s it.  I’ll grab my compass, you bring the cockroach chalk.  I’ll see you in Chungking."