avenue of stars hong kong

Voyaging Around Hong Kong Through the Lens of Popular Media

Aside from being known as a top tourist destination in Asia, Hong Kong also wields significant influence over popular culture and its various media. Whether it’s in movies, books, comics, or music, many of these popular media have featured Hong Kong as inspiration, a foundation, or even a backdrop for their creative works.

Hong Kong’s reputation in pop culture spreads and greatly influences the growth of its hospitality and tourism industry as well, as it’s not uncommon for a significant number of tourists to visit Hong Kong because they have seen the region’s landmarks and attractions in their favorite films, books, and other forms of media.

Our article today will take you to explore Hong Kong’s enticing spots down the route of the illuminating perspective of popular media, as depicted by these blockbuster movies, books, comics, and a sensational music video!

10 Popular Media Works Featuring Hong Kong Spots

Hong Kong is often dubbed the “Hollywood of the East” due to its picture-perfect backdrop that has been featured in various films. However, it’s not just movies; Hong Kong’s spots have also served as the muse for a wide range of creative works, which we will voyage around through these ten popular media!

1. Chungking Express (1994) – Chungking Mansions

Chungking ExpressAn iconic scene in Chungking Express. (via Variety)

Directed by Wong Kar-wai, Chungking Express tells a story about chronicling love, longing, and loneliness. This movie, which has attained cult classic status since its release, was filmed in various locations throughout Hong Kong. Among them, the most prominent is Chungking Mansions, from which the film derives its title.

Chungking MansionsChungking Mansions. (via Cathay)

Once known as Hong Kong’s most infamous building, the current Chungking Mansions is a place where you can encounter a striking diversity of locals, backpackers, food stalls, and independent shops run by vendors from all over the world!

2. Fragrant Harbour (2002) – Cheng Chau Island

Fragrant Harbour by John LanchesterFragrant Harbour by John Lanchester. (via The Book Grocer)

This book, written by John Lanchester, is set in the 1930s and follows the tale of an adventurous young Englishman who sails to Hong Kong to seek his fortune. Fragrant Harbour captures the transformation of Hong Kong and showcases the region’s famous places, including Cheung Chau Island, which is explicitly mentioned in one of its passages.

Cheng Chau IslandCheng Chau Island. (via Hong Kong Tourism Board)

Cheung Chau is a small, dumbbell-shaped island known for its sandy beaches and scenic hiking trails, which appeal to those seeking an escape from bustling city life. In recent years, many contemporary and Instagram-worthy cafes have emerged on Cheung Chau, coexisting in harmony with the island’s timeless charm, notably the 18th-century Pak Tai Temple.

3. Kowloon Generic Romance (2019) – Old Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon Generic RomanceKowloon Generic Romance by Jun Mayuzuki. (via zerochan)

Kowloon Generic Romance is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Jun Mayuzuki. It is an adult romance story between a working man and woman set in the dystopian Kowloon Walled City, where the past, present, and future converge.

Old Kowloon Walled City and Kowloon Walled City ParkOld Kowloon Walled City (left) and Kowloon Walled City Park (right).

The setting in this manga series is based on the real, old Kowloon Walled City, which was once home to 350 tightly packed buildings and more than 30,000 residents, making it the most densely populated area in the world. Kowloon Walled City was eventually demolished in 1993, and in its place now sits Kowloon Walled City Park, a beautiful garden showcasing preserved artifacts from the former Kowloon Walled City.

4. Fallen Angels (1995) – Lan Kwai Fong

Takeshi Kaneshiro in Fallen AngelsTakeshi Kaneshiro in Fallen Angels. (via IMDb)

Another classic by Wong Kar-wai, Fallen Angels is a crime drama movie that follows the life of a hitman who wants to quit the dirty business. Just like its predecessor, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels was shot in numerous locations across Hong Kong, with one of its most notable locations being Lan Kwai Fong.

Lan Kwai FongLan Kwai Fong. (via MEHK)

Known as one of the main entertainment districts in Hong Kong, Lan Kwai Fong is home to restaurants, bars, clubs, and many art galleries showcasing their works at the entrance. The area is a popular nightlife destination for visitors and regularly hosts events like New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and many more, drawing large numbers of people to gather and celebrate!

5. White Ghost Girls (2006) – Victoria Harbour

White Ghost Girls by Alice GreenwayWhite Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway. (via Decitre)

Set in the summer of 1967 in Hong Kong, White Ghost Girls is Alice Greenway’s literary debut, telling the tale of sacrifice and solidarity. It centers around two American sisters living in a foreign land during a chaotic time.

Victoria HarbourVictoria Harbour.

One of the most remarkable places featured in this book is Victoria Harbour, a top tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Here, visitors can stroll along the promenade, admire iconic skyscrapers, ride the Star Ferry, or enjoy the spectacular view of Hong Kong’s skyline from the top of Victoria Peak!

6. Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Lai Tak Tsuen

Scarlet Johansson in Ghost in the ShellScarlet Johansson in Ghost in the Shell. (via IMDb)

The 2017 movie is a live-action adaptation of a Japanese manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. Starring Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira, the main character, Ghost in the Shell tells the story of Major Mira, who was rescued from a disaster and saved by having her mind placed into a completely artificial body.

Lai Tak TsuenLai Tak Tsuen. (via Flickr)

As a cyberpunk-themed film, it features numerous futuristic scenes, some of which were shot in Lai Tak Tsuen, Hong Kong. Lai Tak Tsuen is a public housing estate known for its unique cylindrical architecture, making it a must-see for architecture enthusiasts! Moreover, you can also enjoy a tantalizing view of Victoria Harbour from this location.

7. GOT7’s “You Are” Music Video (2017) – Hong Kong Cultural Centre

"You Are" Music Video by GOT7“You Are” Music Video by GOT7. (via Billboard)

In 2017, the popular K-pop group GOT7 filmed their music video for “You Are” in Hong Kong. The music video takes advantage of the geometric architecture of Hong Kong, showcasing the presence of symmetry amid the city’s sprawling layout.

Hong Kong Cultural CentreHong Kong Cultural Centre. (via Holidify)

One of the notable locations in the music video is the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, a multi-purpose performance venue in Tsim Sha Tsui. It boasts a range of state-of-the-art facilities, from a concert hall to a grand theater and exhibition gallery, which have hosted numerous cultural performances.

8. Rush Hour 2 (2001) – Causeway Bay

Rush Hour 2 posterRush Hour 2 poster. (via Medium)

Starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, Rush Hour 2 is the action comedy sequel to Rush Hour that follows Lee (Jackie Chan) and Carter (Chris Tucker), a pair of police officers who go to Hong Kong for vacation. However, their holiday soon turns into chaos as both become embroiled in a counterfeit money scam.

Causeway BayCauseway Bay. (via Hong Kong Tourism Board)

A large part of the movie was shot in Hong Kong, and one of its iconic scenes was filmed in Causeway Bay. This district is a paradise for shopaholics and home to a plethora of tourist landmarks! In Causeway Bay, you can stroll around Victoria Park, dine and shop at Times Square Hong Kong, or, if you need a break from Hong Kong’s bustling streets, give yourself a peaceful visit to the Tin Hau Temple.

9. Rouge (1987) – Hollywood Road

A scene in RougeA scene in Rouge. (via The Criterion Collection)

Rouge is a supernatural romantic-drama story about a ghostly woman searching for her lost lover. She has waited in the afterlife for 53 years, believing her lover to be lost. The movie was directed by Stanley Kwan and stars Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung. Some of the scenes were shot on Hollywood Road, which is the second-oldest street in Hong Kong.

Hollywood RoadHollywood Road. (via Flickr)

Hollywood Road has always been a hub for collectibles, antiques, and artworks, making it a must-visit for history fanatics and art lovers. When you visit, be sure to embark on a tour of Hollywood Road across Central and Sheung Wan, where you’ll see a mesmerizing array of heritage buildings, street art, and stylish art galleries!

10. Love in a Fallen City (1943) – Wan Chai

Love in a Fallen City by Eileen ChangLove in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang. (via goodreads)

The first English collection of Eileen Chang’s works, Love in a Fallen City, was originally published in China during the 1940s. It comprises four novellas with illuminating and melancholic narratives of love and longing.

Wan ChaiWan Chai. (via tripsavvy)

Some parts of these novellas are set in Wan Chai, which has since transformed into a bustling neighborhood known for its intriguing architecture, hidden shops, cultural attractions, and, most notably, its top restaurants offering a diverse world of cuisine. Wan Chai boasts a range of Asian restaurants, including classic Cantonese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and even Korean dishes. If you prefer Western cuisine, you’ll find plenty of options here as well!

Wrapping Up

What a fun way to explore Hong Kong! With its bustling city, diverse culture, rich history, and enticing landmarks, Hong Kong has become an inspiration behind numerous creative works — which also attracted tourists from around the world.

While touring Hong Kong through the perspective of popular media is unique and entertaining, another exciting and even beneficial alternative to exploring the City of Lights can be found with RMC Asia’s Cultural Exchange Programs here!

Cultural Exchange Programs are our hands-on internship and management training programs focused on the hospitality and tourism industry, offering various positions to choose from, taking place in international hotels and resorts across Asia’s alluring destinations.

You can expect more than professional development from our Cultural Exchange Programs. Our programs serve as your pathway to enter the international job market, becoming a valuable industry asset, experiencing unforgettable cultural exchanges, and immersing yourself in the appeal of program destinations!

Start your journey with us! Find the opportunities that suit you and join our successful participants now.

Recommended: Hong Kong 2023 Go-To Travel Guide

Alya Miranti Azzahra

Alya Miranti Azzahra

Alya is currently on a mission with RMC Asia as a Content Marketing. Her mission includes writing captivating content for blog, LinkedIn, and social media audiences. She's also a freelance translator & proofreader and is continuing her study in Communication.

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