IF WAN CHAI could be considered a microcosm of the sharp contrasts in people and cultures in Hong Kong, no cross-section of the neighbourhood would be complete for the curious or impressionable traveller than a visit to its 1%. And when you’re this close to the CBD, Wan Chai gets quite a chunk of Hong Kong’s elite.
The services catering to Hong Kong’s glamorous begin very abruptly, starting with this showroom, just down the block from the Blue House featuring a definite toy, or beauty product, for the rich and famous. And with Hong Kong’s famously undulating terrain, there are more than enough playgrounds for these machines.
Walk further down Queens Road and the signs of wealth only get more apparent: as you approach the CBD, you reach Pacific Place, featuring several 5-star hotels and a mall with luxury brands. A brief bit of comedy ensues when I watch my friends in t-shirts and shorts walk up to the concierge at the JW Marriott, nonchalant and apathetic to any implicit dress code that may exist, and inquire about the price of a room. Just couldn’t help but crack up at that one.
But it’s not all about conspicuous consumption – in one of these buildings is Hong Kong’s first Tesla charging station. And it’s packed. Once I found out that such places exist, I begin to notice more of these vehicles the more I observe Hong Kong’s streets. But to my friends from the US, it’s second nature, and they’re everywhere. But it just goes to show that here, it’s the 1% who have the power to make change – and it’s not all about showing off.
Next Time: Explore the notorious nightlife … in the daytime
Locations: Hopewell Centre, Wan Chai.