12 Hours in Hong Kong, China - Four Places to Photograph Around the City

Hong Kong is a photographer’s playground! There’s so much to photograph, from wildlife to architecture, beautiful ocean shots to skylines. Throw in street markets and historical cultural buildings and you could spend years photographing this city.

But if you’re like me, a tourist passing through, unfortunately you don’t have the luxury of time to explore every angle. So here’s a list of a few areas that I stopped at to photograph. This is not an all-inclusive list but highlights some of the treasures in Hong Kong that can’t be found elsewhere.

 
Sai Wan Swimming Shed in Hong-Kong-Stairs-by-Mary Parkhill of Marys-Mark-Photography.jpg

To get to this location, it can be tricky. I did not have a car (driving in Hong Kong was too intimidating to me) so after chatting with the hotel concierge and showing the taxi driver the address, I was dropped off in what felt like the middle of nowhere… somewhere along a steep grade. Using Google Maps, I found the opening to the staircase which plummeted down the side of the mountain.

Pro Tips:

  • Take bug spray: There are tiny bugs that bite as you get closer to the water. I wasn’t prepared and spent precious time slapping away the bugs. The locals didn’t seem to be bothered by them too much.

  • Be Prepared to Stand in Line: Thanks to social media, there are hundreds of people who want to take selfies on the pier. In an orderly fashion, people line-up so that everyone has a turn to take their photo on the pier. As you can see in my photo, there’s no one in it as I wanted a landscape image. Even if you don’t want anyone in your shot, be prepared to stand in line.

 
Yick Fat Building Yick Cheong Building by Mary Parkhill Hong-Kong-Photograph-by-Mary-Parkhill-of-Mary's-Mark-Photography.jpg

I haven’t seen movie ‘Transformers - Age of Extinction’ but apparently this building is in it. For this photography location, make sure to put the address in Google maps - reaching the inside of the building’s courtyard (which is where this photograph was taken) is not the easiest to get to. Once you’re at the street address location, you will need to turn and walk into what looks like a hallway with a couple of shops inside (I think one shop was a meat butcher). Walk past the shops a bit and you will eventually find yourself inside of the courtyard.

Pro Tips:

  • Spend time getting various angles: While the attraction of the Yick Building is the view / angle looking up, don’t overlook the currently-lived-in apartment porches with sheets hanging to dry, kids toys and plants that add to the texture of your image.

  • Concrete Block: There’s a concrete block towards the one end of the courtyard. If you are looking for a selfie spot, jump on top of the concrete block and angle the camera outward/upward. This will provide a decent angle.

  • Stairs: At the other end of the courtyard (opposite the concrete block), there is a set of stairs that allows you to photograph from below ‘ground’ level. Consider taking a few photos from a lower angle.

 

To save on time, take a taxi to the top of Victoria Peak (you can walk and/or take a tram but be prepared for quite a hike and potential rain showers depending on which season you’re traveling). At the top, there’s a walking path and a building that offers a couple of restaurants, shops and of course, the incredible view overlooking Hong Kong. There is a nominal fee to go to the very top but it’s well worth it. You will take about 4+ escalators to the top of the viewing pier so make sure you budget enough travel time especially if you’re trying to capture the sunset.

Pro Tips:

  • There are 2 levels of platforms at the top: While the highest platform is only 5 or 6 steps above the lower platform, consider photographing from it. Make sure to take a couple of lenses so you can exercise depth of field, distance, and various light conditions.

  • Wildlife: Yes - the purpose of getting to Victoria Peak is to capture the Hong Kong skyline; however, be on a watch out for beautiful, soaring birds that are high above the city line.

 
Yellow-Umbrella-Chun-Yeung-Street-Wet-Market-Hong-Kong-by-Mary-Parkhill-of-Marys-Mark-Photography.jpg

Be prepared for interesting aromas that fill this street market. There are several seafood and meat stalls as well as vegetables, toys and clothing stalls. This unique blend of merchandise makes for incredibly textured photographs but mixed with warm seasonal rains, the photographing conditions can be somewhat tough.

Pro Tips:

  • Street Car: There’s a working street car that runs down the center of the market. In addition to your safety (e.g. don’t get run over), the street car divides the craziness of the market and offers a wonderful focus point.

  • Umbrella: It often rains in Hong Kong so make sure you take an umbrella (or purchase one from the market).


 

In this article:

  1. Sai Wan Swimming Shed

  2. Yick Cheong Building

  3. Victoria Peak

  4. hun Yeung Street Wet Market