15 Top Places For Hong Kong Instagram Shots

 

The former British colony is a goldmine for urban photographers with impeccable lines, vivacious characters and plenty of bright lights. For those planning to visit Hong Kong, it’s difficult to resist the allure of nailing a pose on a Hong Kong basketball court for your Instagram feed. To help plan your Hong Kong instagram shots, we’ve put together a list of spots that we hit up during our visit and a few others to encourage you to add your own creative spin. Of course, we’ve thrown in some favourites such as Montane Mansion (Yick Fat Building), Lok Wah South Estate and Choi Hung Estate. But we are advocates of travellers and photography enthusiasts looking beyond the ‘gram and finding inspiration in unknown corners of the city. 

The best places for street photography in Hong Kong may not have been discovered yet so grab your camera, put on your walking shoes and get snap ready to shoot that stride-by in Hong Kong.

Shopfront outside Man Mo Temple | Hong Kong Instagram Shots

Hong Kong Instagram hotspots

1. Lok Wah South Estate Garage Car Park

How great that grungy car park spaces have some of the best leading lines and symmetry for photographers. How do you get to Lok Wah South Estate you ask? Hop on a bus that takes you to Lok Wah Bus Terminus. Cross the road to the car park opposite the bus terminus and walk a couple of levels up where you will find the faded canary blue walls with cut out circles. It was a little bit busy when we visited one late morning but be patient and respectful of other creatives while they shoot their frame and they will show you the same patience and respect.

2. Montane Mansion

The Transformer Building! If you haven’t seen the movie then do yourself a favour and go watch it. But in all seriousness, Instagram has drastically altered the amount of traffic through here and Management has had to take action to protect the residents who live here. By the time we visited in April 2019, there were signs around this public middle space stating that photography and videography for commercial purposes was not prohibited. We asked permission from a gentleman sitting at one of the front offices and he told us that we were permitted to photograph for personal use provided we did not sue Management if we were injured in the process of taking these photos. Now, we believe there are physical barriers in place preventing people from climbing onto the raised sections in the middle. Please ensure that you are respecting the property at Montane Mansion (otherwise known as the Yick Fat Building Hong Kong) and the surrounding apartment blocks as these are people’s homes and living areas.

3. Kowloon Peak

It should come as no surprise that to be rewarded with the best views, you need to climb high. To access Kowloon Peak is no short walk in the park. In hindsight, we wish we had taken a taxi or Uber to the starting point to save our legs as we were unable to find one to take us back down to the nearest subway station. We would recommend completing this hike during daylight hours, carrying sufficient water and snacks and a windbreaker.

The trail is a start and return point at a cemetery on Fei Ngo Shan Road. Even though Suicide Cliff and Google Maps show a trail starting at the end of Fei Ha Road, we would not recommend this route. We happened to meet a hiker who emerged from the thicket just as we were about to walk up and he strongly advised against it. From what we understand, this trail should only be used by experienced hikers, rock climbers and abseilers.

4. Choi Hung Estate

We can’t think of a basketball court more famous or colourful than the one at Choi Hung EstateWith the apartments painted all the colours of the rainbow, visitors have arrived in droves making the public housing estate an Instagram sensation. We prefer to take our photos early in the morning but given the weather and the timing of our visit to Hong Kong, we ended up catching the metro out to Kowloon on a Sunday morning. Turns out, this wasn’t ideal even if we did get there at 6.30am as Sunday morning is when most of the older residents do their exercise in the form of group tai chi or laps around the basketball court. We still managed to take some photos (respectfully keeping our distance) but we would be interested to hear of other people’s experience of visiting this spot during the week at another time of the day.

5. Sai Wan Swimming Shed

We didn’t make it out to Sai Wan Swimming Shed ourselves but before and after our visit to Hong Kong, we have read mixed reviews of this now popular photo location. Some deem it not worth the trek, others have blamed the weather but there are a lucky few whose timing with the perfect light have seen them rave about this spot. Would be worth perhaps double checking the timing of the tides as high tide in the afternoon appears to give the rickety-looking pier the best frame.

7. Man Mo Temple

One of the oldest temples in Hong Kong is dedicated to the gods of literature (‘Man’), who hold a writing brush, and the gods of martial arts (‘Ma’), who wield a sword. The Taoist temple in the Sheung Wan district was built during the Qing dynasty. Man Mo Temple was a place of worship but was also used as a court of arbitration to settle matters between the Chinese merchants and colonialists. The middle block, Lit Shing Kung, was built for all heavenly gods. Incense burns from spiral coils hanging from the roof. With natural light streaming through the sunroof and hitting the smoky air permeating the room, photographers have the opportunity to place their subject(s) in a natural ethereal/mystical setting. Entrance to the temple is free and flash photography is not permitted. 

8. Olympic Bridge

If your Hong Kong instagram shots must be colour coordinated, then we have a doozy of a spot for you! We’d recommend fitting in Olympic Bridge either before or after your Braemar Hill hike as it is fortunately in the vicinity. The staircases are painted different colours and list out the years and cities of each Olympic Games since the inaugural games. Mix and match to your heart’s content!

9. Yum Cha (Central)

If it looks good or makes people laugh, it will probably photograph well too. Hand to heart, we did come here for the novelty dim sum and unfortunately they mostly tasted average. But kudos to Yum Cha (Central) for creating such a buzz with googly eyes, pork buns shaped as little piggies and Chinese pork sausage dressed up as daschunds. Of course we’ll sit at your restaurant and pay a mini fortune because you’re now in the list of most instagrammable restaurants in Hong Kong! But how cute is my photo, right?

HONG KONG DIM SUM

10. Nathan Road

The best places for street photography in Hong Kong are well, literally on the street. There are plenty of instagrammable basketball courts in Hong Kong, carparks, colourful apartment blocks and restaurants too. But we encourage you to find inspiration on the streets. There are neon lights in Mong Kok, a view of Victoria Harbour from the edge of Tsim Sha Tsui and the ding ding of the trams trundling along in Wan Chai. Play around with your angles and just take care not to walk into oncoming traffic!

11. Braemar Hill

Another peak you say?! Your chubby belly and heavy bottom will thank us later for fitting in numerous leg days into your itinerary because you’ve undoubtedly been scoffing down dim sum for every meal. Braemar Hill sits above Causeway Bay and is a short, leafy hike with hilltop views looking out over Kowloon Bay. Catch the 49M minibus not far from Fortress Hill subway station and it will drop you off in front of St Joan of Arc Secondary School. From here, you walk the rest of the way!

12. Temple Street Night Market

It’s not difficult to get into night photography in Hong Kong when you have places like Temple Street Night Market. The popular shopping street sells everything from trinkets, jade, antiques, electronics, fake designer accessories underneath brightly illuminated tarpaulin stalls. The market is the perfect place for people watching. Take a seat on a plastic stool at one of the sidewalk restaurants and observe the market filled with locals and visitors bartering for cheap goods. When shooting at night, remember to use a tripod, adjust your camera settings to a higher ISO, longer shutter speed and to stand VERY still!

13. The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

We’d love to say and show you that we’ve stayed at The Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong but we are still waiting for that day! Whilst this 5-star hotel offers spectacular views of Victoria Harbour from its Club Lounge and waterfront-view hotel rooms, we think its the wine cellar which has pushed The Ritz-Carlton into the list of most instagrammable hotels in Hong Kong. If you have expensive wine in your cellar, you may as well make it look pretty. And Bevan’s advice? If you can afford it, drop it like it’s hot.

14. Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre

Of all the photos we viewed of these yellow and white apartment blocks, not one included a geotag which made the hunt for this photo spot a little harder but somewhat rewarding once we found it. Your destination is the rooftop of the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre. Take the elevator to the top level and then you need to climb a couple flights of stairs before you’re in the open air. There is no entrance fee and there were no personnel guarding the roof but there are CCTV cameras and roped off areas so please respect these barriers for your own safety.

15. Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak sits on Hong Kong Island and provides some of the best skyline and waterfront views. Daytime and nighttime offer jaw-dropping panoramas so do take this into consideration when planning your Hong Kong instagram shot. One of the best times to visit Victoria Peak is after the rains during summer which helps to clear the city air.

You have the option to walk up to Victoria Peak or to save your legs, hair and make-up and catch the Peak Tram. Do keep in mind that you need to pay to ride the Peak Tram and there may be long queues during busy periods.

Where are your favourite locations for street photography in Hong Kong?

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