Formerly the site of the Kai Tak Airport where pilots had to navigate perilously close to skyscrapers to touch down on the harbourfront runway, Kwun Tong was left waiting for its next incarnation when the airport shut down in 1998.
That’s now arrived thanks to the government’s Energizing Kowloon East project, which has transformed the neighbourhood over the past decade. Set to become Hong Kong’s first “smart city”, it’s now home to artsy boutiques, warehouse restaurants and well-designed public spaces.
- Hotel Cozi Harbour View
Earlier this year, Hotel Cozi Harbour View opened at what used to be the Newtown Place Hotel in Kwun Tong. Located by the waterfront promenade, the 598 rooms promise a more contemporary vibe after a total makeover slated for the end of this year. Fun additions will include a new restaurant and beautiful manicured gardens.
Photo etchings, lithography, wood cuttings, screen prints – Marbleprintclay is a traditional print nerd’s dream, and it still has all the old-school equipment. Hidden inside a factory building, the collaborative artist studio sells a rotating selection of limited-edition prints – or you can commission something bespoke.
- Kai Tak Runway Park and Cruise Terminal Park
When Kai Tak Airport closed in 1998, there was much debate over the decaying runway. A decade later, the government enlisted architectural firm Foster + Partners to transform the harbourfront peninsula into an international cruise terminal with a green rooftop and a sprawling waterfront park. And that’s just the beginning. The 28ha Kai Tak Sports Park, Metro Park, cycling tracks and a monorail will open in 2023.
- How Department
It is an oasis for design lovers, but first, you have to hunt How Department down. At the end of an unassuming alleyway off How Ming Street, turn left and you’ll find a shabby industrial elevator that belies the store’s modern style. Upstairs, the lofty space is divided into two. To the left, the Food Factory serves up matcha lattes and vegan dishes. The rest of the space is devoted to minimalist Japanese and local lifestyle designs, featuring ceramics, clothing and more.
- Kwun Tong Promenade
As part of the government’s revitalisation project to transform Kwun Tong into Hong Kong’s first smart city, the area has welcomed everything from the city’s first Zero Carbon Building (guided tours available) to public art installations and redeveloped outdoor areas. Also in store: energy-efficient street lights, more pedestrian walkways and green spaces. One of the best examples of the transformation is the freshly landscaped Kwun Tong Promenade, running under the Kwun Tong Bypass. The former cargo work area now delivers 950m of grassy lawns, jogging paths, funky street murals and sweet views of Victoria Harbour.