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Choi Hung Estate – the Most Instagrammable Public Housing in Hong Kong

April 3, 2021

Name(English): Choi Hung Estate
Name(Chinese): 彩虹邨
Top Things to Do
Address(English): Tse Wai Avenue No. 5-19, Ngau Chi Wan
Address(Chinese): 九龍黃大仙區牛池灣
Address Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/mzQexwKbuoyBZT9t6
Address longitude and latitude: 22.335343536634934, 114.204249877539
Nearest MTR Station: Choi Hung MTR Station Exit C3
Nearest MTR Station Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/WoVZKqZwqiRjY8ci7
Nearest MTR Station longitude and latitude: 22.33506561131485, 114.20770391062779
How far from the nearest MTR Station: 2 mins walk from Choi Hung MTR Station Exit C3
Opening Hours:
MON 00:00 – 23:59
TUE 00:00 – 23:59
WED 00:00 – 23:59
THU 00:00 – 23:59
FRI 00:00 – 23:59
SAT 00:00 – 23:59
SUN 00:00 – 23:59
Recommended Time to Visit: Visit during the day for the “rainbows”
Accessibility Note: Easy access

It is the most colourful landmark in Hong Kong. It is on numerous photographs, travel blogs and Instagram posts. It is even on some K-pop MTVs too (https://youtu.be/4K4b9Z9lSwc). And it is the Choi Hung Estate – a humble public housing estate in Kowloon East.

(Photo from https://kknews.cc/zh-hk/travel/n6yvj8g.html)

Built in the early 1960s, Choi Hung (Chinese for Rainbow) Estate was one of the first waves of large public housing projects, targeting at providing steady shelters for many of those who migrated from Mainland China after WWII and those living in squatter areas which are often dangerous (the disastrous Shek Kip Mei fire in the ’50s leftover 50,000 homeless). Back in the days, it was a fuzz in Hong Kong. It had won local architectural awards. Prince Magaret and Richard Nixon visited here. 

You would not miss the unique visual features of the housing estate. The walls of all the residence buildings are painted in gradient rainbow colours. If you can read Chinese characters, the street names and building names are all in colourful terms (such as Green Sea Building or Purple Blossom Avenue). The most Instagrammed place is the rooftop playground. It is a 2 storey carpark and a playground on its rooftop floor. Climb up the stairs and you shall see colourful walls surrounding a huge open colourfully painted basketball court. 

And if you are not satisfied with just likes and followers, Choi Hung Estate is actually a great place to glimpse at the very local way of living. In the well-maintained community, you can still hear local school bells ringing and witness old-school handy shops where owners like to hang many goods from the ceiling so as to maximize the use of space. There are local style grocery stores where you can still purchase your own mix of different types and origins of rice and all those traditional fermented and dried foods. There are wet markets and butcher shops where you can pretty much guess what makes up a daily Hong Kong home meal. 

(Photo from https://kknews.cc/zh-hk/travel/n6yvj8g.html)

Try the buns at the Well Bakery (https://goo.gl/maps/DEWn94zhvhNpt9Gj7). You can still taste and smell the yeastiness that only comes from decades-old yeast and craft. It will make you forgive the shop’s poor taste in the renovation. Oi Kwan Fastfood Restaurant (https://goo.gl/maps/MHMTPQ1k64WEhKYN9) is another shop that has been running for decades and it still remains as one of the hidden gems in Hong Kong. The deep-fried chicken leg is deliciously juicy and savory. Its distinctive taste from anywhere in the world comes from its special marinating spices and sauces. 

If you have the capacity to spend a full meal, you should definitely try Kam Pik Restaurant (https://goo.gl/maps/EwX6ZiQFKqiKBUPCA). Over 50 years since opening, it still keeps its tiles, walls, menu, and taste just the way they were. 

Choi Hung Estate is what it would look like when Hong Kong Colonialism meets Le Corbusier-sque Modernism. It provides safe housings and community functions (so that they would stay in line and go to work).

Choi Hung is very convenient to get to. A lot of buses pass by and there is a Choi Hung MTR station where you can find uniquely colour patterned mosaic walls and columns. It is 15 mins walk to the HKBU’s visual art campus and gallery, which used to be the Royal Air Force (RAF) Officers’ Mess in the early 20th century.

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