I have to admit that the Ibis Hotel Sheung Wan and Central wasn't my first choice of hotel when my wife and I travelled to Hong Kong recently, but I am glad that I did choose it over many others.
Why wasn't it my first choice, you may ask. Well, in the first instance, I knew next to nothing about this part of Hong Kong island. I had only wanted to stay at a place which was near to the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal, and from the map, the Ibis was near enough.
In the second instance, I wanted a hotel that was on the route of the free shuttle bus service from the Hong Kong MTR station and I found that the shuttle bus would stop right at the hotel's doorsteps. How much more convenient could this be, right? The Ibis Hotel fitted both my needs.
The added bonus was that the price of the room was cheap enough. So that was where we stayed. And to our pleasant surprise, we found that the hotel was located right in the midst of old Hong Kong: surrounded by the Hong Kong that I had always imagined. A Hong Kong that is full of character and atmosphere.
After finishing checking into the hotel, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Sheung Wan.
We came across traditional shops retailing dried seafood stuff like fish maw, abalone, scallops, shark fin, sea cucumber and salted fish. In addition, we found ourselves surrounded by traditional Chinese medical halls.
Everywhere we turned, we would find small shoplots selling all types of food. Nobody could ever go hungry here!
This lady was selling fresh vegetables by the roadside.
And suddenly, we found ourselves in Upper Lascar Row, also known as Cat Street. All types of antique dealers here.
When I saw this mask, immediately it reminded me so much of the British actor, Stephen Fry. Must be the prominent jowl.
And all too soon, we had reached the end of Upper Lascar Row and we descended the steps known as Ladder Street.
An interior of the Man Mo Temple, which is supposed to be one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong.
Anyway, it was built in 1847 and dedicated to the worship of Man Tai (文帝) and Mo Tai (武帝). That's how the temple got its name from.
Yes! We were in Hollywood. Hollywood Road, Hong Kong, that is.
Climbing further up Ladder Street, the roads became more empty and quiet.
And then we found ourselves inside the Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre. The first floor was akin to a huge hawker centre with tables laid out in all directions. Patrons could sit anywhere they liked as none of the hawkers could claim any part of the floor to be their personal corner.