Home to nearly half of Hong Kong’s population, Kowloon is a major urban area made up of the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. Its name means nine dragons representing the eight mountains that look over Kowloon and the emperor.
What is interesting about this area is its relative smallness in comparison to its population. With an approximate area span of less than 50 square kilometers, Kowloon’s population sits at around 2.1million, making it one of the world’s most populated, yet smallest cities. Unfortunately there is not much to offset the urban claustrophobia that is evident here with the hoards of locals as shops, restaurants and hotels fill in the gaps between skyscrapers.
Fortunately, even with the crowds, it is a popular tourist destination within Hong Kong. It is a great place to admire the views of Hong Kong Island’s skyscrapers and skyline with its peaks in the background. Taking the Star Ferry across to the Island is a must to really experience the view, the best time to hit the water is in the evenings so you are in a perfect place to admire the nightly tribute to Victoria Harbour in the way of a light show that takes place at 8pm every night. This Symphony of Lights is a nightly tradition and an exceptional display.
During the day you can occupy yourself for hours looking through the endless jewellery stores, electronic shops and all the other shopping requirements you might have. On your expiditions, be sure to seek out the localised version of Hollywood’s walk of fame at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, although you may not be familiar with many of the stars, it’s a neat sight. Also in Tsim Sha Tsui is the famous Nathan Road, notorious for its many electronics stores, however perhaps not the best place to shop as a new tourist as they will likely try any trick to get you to pay a higher price. The alternatives are Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po. With the numerous museums, malls and markets, this is a city you will find you can spend several days wondering until the crowds get the better of you. Unlike Hong Kong Island, Kowloon doesn’t have beach and mountain escapes.
In a nutshell, Tsim Sha Tsui is the prominent tourist track where you will find most of Kowloon’s accommodation while Mong Kok is the main shopping drag with copious shops and markets.
To help you start finding the right hotel to fit your needs, here are some places to stay in Kowloon for every budget.
Budget Kowloon Hotels
Metropark Hotel (Ho Man Tin) - with some English speaking staff and moderately cheap nightly rates, this hotel is a good pick.
The Cityview Hotel (Kowloon) - with its great location, it is a good base for budget tourists.
Moderately Priced Kowloon Hotels
Langham Place Hotel (Mongkok) - with its modern look and five star rating, rooms can be booked for a reasonable amount considering its location and chic interiors.
Harbour Plaza Metropolis - with excellent views of Victoria Peak and several extra amenities such as a swimming pool and copious restaurants, it is a good place to stay for a rather low rate.
Luxurious Kowloon Hotels
Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong - with fantastic service and a location to boot, this five star hotel is worth its healthy room rate. The rooms are clean and the staff are extremely accommodating.
The Peninsula Hong Kong - if you are willing to forfeit the money, this is definitely one of the best hotels in Kowloon to stay at with fantastic service coupled with excellent amenities right in the city.