• Historical

Tai Kwun – History and the Instagrammable Spots

February 14, 2020

Name(English): Tai Kwun
Name(Chinese): 大館
Category: Culture and History
Address(English): 10 Hollywood Road, Central, HK Island
Address(Chinese): 香港中環荷李活道10號
Address Google Map Link: https://g.page/taikwun?share
Address longitude and latitude: 22.28139681300218, 114.15397696238475
Nearest MTR Station: Central Station Exit D2
Nearest MTR Station Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/c7qP19o3v12dDtQX9
Nearest MTR Station longitude and latitude: 22.2820172212907, 114.15767728901186
How far from the nearest MTR Station: 10-15 mins from Central MTR Station Exit D2
Opening hours:
MON 10:00 – 23:00
TUE 10:00 – 23:00
WED 10:00 – 23:00
THU 10:00 – 23:00
FRI 10:00 – 23:00
SAT 10:00 – 23:00
SUN 10:00 – 23:00
Recommended Time to Visit: Late Morning and Afternoon
Reminder:No Entrance fee

Central and Western District was the first planned urban area in Hong Kong during the colonial era. You can find many historical architectures there, which remain their European inspired structures, such as Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun Entrance

Tai Kwun, which means “Big Station” in Cantonese, was previously the headquarters of the police force back in the 19th Century. Before HK was under British Colonial rule, law and order were set up by locals, such as Kung Sor inside temples, to the British surprise. Therefore they saw the necessity to establish their own Colonial Police Force, so they built Tai Kwun to serve as the centre of the police station, magistracy and jail. The superintendent there was at the same time the head of police, judge and prison, who wields enormous influence. Many were held in the jail, including Ho Chi-Minh, the father of Vietnam, who founded the communist party of Vietnam after he was released!

People line up to go into prison!

As time pass by, Tai Kwun’s original function faded out, and it was renovated as a centre for heritage and arts. If you are interested in art exhibitions, performing arts or stuff like that, it would be a good place to explore the artistic side of Hong Kong.

But if you are just the kind of tourist who wants to post good photos on your Instagram, it does not mean that Tai Kwun is unsuitable for you. In fact, many HK people go Tai Kwun for snapshot because of its unique European architecture. Here are some “Instagrammable” checkpoints:

  1. The long corridor of the Police Headquarters Block
  2. Staircase inside the Police Headquarters Block
  3. Staircase at Tai Kwun Contemporary
  4. The Parade Ground 
  5. The Prison Yard
Once a prison yard, now a relaxing public space
Colonial architectural style defining an past era of Hong Kong
The most serious place in the past is now full of visitors for its history, art, food and beverages.

Tai Kwun has also become a place with a lot of high-end bars and restaurants (which is like any other parts of Central), it is an area for you to chill out and enjoy a leisure afternoon. Tai Kwun also offers guided tours for history lovers, or if you do not know where to start from (we totally understand- it consists of 21 buildings after all), this 45-minutes free tour would be a valuable introduction, but do remember to book online first, especially when you are going at the weekend!

When you are near Tai Kwun, you cannot miss the famous (or infamous?!) Lan Kwai Fong. Lan Kwai Fong is THE place for nightlife in Hong Kong full of travelers, expats, and even people who just want to have fun there. There are also tons of food and restaurant options near Tai Kwun like Mak’s Noodle, Kau Kee, Yat Lok Goose, and Lin Heung Tea House. Don’t miss them when you visit Tai Kuwn!

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Our Guides

Michael Tsang

Founder of Hong Kong Free Tours. Used to work in finance for 12 years as an actuary and quit his job to chase his passion.