Chungking Mansions

by Poi on September 29, 2010

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When researching somewhere to stay in Hong Kong we kept coming across the same two names no matter how hard we tried to avoid them, the guidebooks and search engines just kept sending us right back to them. Those two places were Chungking and Mirador Mansions.

The reason for trying to stay clear of them was simple – the bad reputation they seemed to have developed over the years. The reviews and comments suggesting entering alone at night could be dangerous would be enough to put anyone off. The problem is they are cheap (by Hong Kong standards) and in a great location and that’s what we all look for so in the end we decided “why not?”

Choosing between the two didn’t really come into it, they both seem to be just as bad as each other judging by the reviews. Our guidebook (no names mentioned) for China suggests Mirador is slightly better than ChungKing, but guidebook for South East Asia says it’s the other way round despite being published only two months apart by the same company.

Great work rough guides….ooppps.

Chungking Mansion, Hong Kong

Chungking Mansion

We ended up booking 5 nights in the New Hong Kong Hostel in Chungking Mansions simply because it was available and cheapish. First impressions of this place were very worrying and pretty intimidating especially after such negative press.

The exterior of the building is very much an eye sore. The inside doesn’t do much to change your initial impression, the first two floors are made up of lots and lots of shops crammed into a small area, it’s more like a market selling everything from food and drink to dodgy electrical goods and of course money transfers.

From here you catch a lift up to whatever floor you have pre-booked a room on and pre-book you should. Walking in with our backpacks looking vulnerable from a long nights travelling we noticed many people’s eyes light up. We were offered cheap rooms, cheap guest houses and even cheaper rooms and guest houses without a price ever being mentioned. This is how it was all week, every time we walked through someone was trying to get us to go somewhere.

First impression of the hostel was much better, everywhere was very clean and so quiet compared to what we had experienced on the way in. Entering the room though, did provide us with a shock, we had read about how limited space was in Hong Kong and to expect small rooms… but yikes!

tiny room in Chunking Mansion, Hong Kong

Shower whilst sitting on the toilet?

The room was tiny, very tiny but once we had got over the shock of it we started to notice what it had going for it. Very clean, free wifi, ensuite (although you did have to shower over the toilet) air con and a fan, what more do you need? Space, that’s what! If I was visiting Hong Kong for three days on my own this is where I’d go. For two people with twice the stuff for nearly a week. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t get annoyed in there.

Chungking mansion Hong Kong

Showering sitting on the toilet.

Chunking Mansions seems to be known by most people in Hong Kong, for good currys. With the influx of Indian culture comes a whole new world of taste. There are plenty of these places in the Mansion all good which seem quite popular and good value for money. As long as you don’t go expecting a fancy restaurant and take it for what it is these places are great, sort of curry cafes. We went to Khyber Pass on floor 7 block E, and had a brilliant Chicken Tikka Masala and would recommend it to anyone. It’s even cheaper if you let one of the hawkers from the bottom send you up as they give you a VIP card.

So in the end we were pleased to be leaving chunking mansion not because of any bad experiences or close calls but just because of space. Despite being a very intimidating place to begin with we got used to it and although we couldn’t say we love the place but I could have been a lot worse.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam September 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Wow, that is a really small room. We have stayed in some small rooms on our travels, but I think this one takes the cake. At least there’s some good street food conveniently located!
Adam´s last blog post ..All you need to know about a Bolivian Pampas Tour

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Kirsty September 30, 2010 at 5:41 am

It was difficult to live in – sometimes you felt very claustrophobic! Safe to say we didn’t spend much time in the actual room!

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Jenny September 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Wow that is an extremely small room… I dunno how TWO of you stayed in there! However, it looks like a place I’ll want to check out when I get to Hong Kong.
Jenny´s last blog post ..4 Easy Steps to Finding Great Hostels on the Road

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Kirsty September 30, 2010 at 5:47 am

One had to always stay on the bed – or else we would run into a traffic jam!
It is a good place to stay, it’s not half as threatening as we expected it to be!

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Jayne September 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm

You never can quite imagine how small the guidebooks mean until you get there! I’ve stayed at the Hong Kong hostel and remember having to sleep with my backpack in the bed with me!! Wait until you get on the trams – I’m not tall but even I felt like I was in Gulliver’s Travels!! Hong Kong is amazing though. Hope you are having fun :)
Jayne´s last blog post ..10 unusual reasons to visit China

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Kirsty September 30, 2010 at 5:53 am

our bed was twice as high as a normal one, so we could store our backpacks under there. Although there was some spare tiles and other DIY products stored under there too!

The trams were pretty cool… they looked really weird! We had loads of fun in HK :)

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Justin Morris September 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Fantastic write up guys! I stayed in Marco Polo Hostel as well when I stopped over in Hong Kong on my last trip back to Australia. Chungking is definitely a “don’t judge a book by its cover” kind of place.
I had a fantastic curry in Butt Food Centre on the ground floor also.

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Kirsty September 30, 2010 at 5:58 am

I agree it is definately dont judge a book by it’s cover!

Butt Food Centre?? I like that name! :)

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Jaime D. September 30, 2010 at 3:02 am

That is too funny! That is a small ass room. The entire room is the size of my bathroom alone…lol!!! I couldnt handle and then especially for two people nope couldn’t have.

Funny picture~
Jaime D.´s last blog post ..Minor set back… or not

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Kirsty September 30, 2010 at 6:06 am

The size of your bathroom!!! I would say that’s a big bathroom…. but our room was tiny!!
There were a few short words, but we just stayed away as much as possibke!

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Andi September 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Oh god, I’m getting heart palps looking at the size of that place!!!
Andi´s last blog post ..Europe- Day 1 Part 3

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Sherilee September 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Compact and Bijou!!

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Kirsty October 10, 2010 at 8:58 am

That’s one way to look at it!

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Amanda September 30, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Yikes! That room is ridiculously small! And having the shower over the toilet sounds… odd, to say the least.
Amanda´s last blog post ..Thursday Traveler- Caroline Eubanks

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Kirsty October 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

Ha ha, it’s strange you kinda got used to it… just had to remember not to leave the toilet roll lying around!

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Joel October 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I should have caught up on blog reading a week ago! I’m in ChungKing Mansions as I type this.

Fortunately, the hostel I’m in looks like it was re-modeled in the last couple of months – it’s spotless. The bathroom is definitely a challenge, though. The “shower on the toilet” is just strange.
Joel´s last blog post ..A Prehistoric Time in Cheddar

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Kirsty October 10, 2010 at 9:01 am

Ha ha, where are you staying? Ours was pretty new and nice the only thing really wrong with it was the size! ….And maybe all the DIY stuff under the bed!

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Stephanie May 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Interesting! I skipped the Chungking Mansions b/c of what I heard, and ended up staying at a very nice hostel on the main island, near Fortress Hill Metro. I think it’s called Yesinn Hostel. I stayed in a dorm room but it seemed pretty spacious, particularly compared to that!

I’m staying there again when I head back next week but i might head over to the Chungking Mansions to find some Indian food!

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Kirsty May 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Yeah it def worth a visit for the indian food, it was gorgeous! But the rooms…. we wouldn’t be able to stay there again, lets put it that way!

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tom May 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Ive stayed in HK quite a few times and to be honest i really dont like Chungking or Mirador Mansions I stayed in one then thought id give the other a go both were pretty dire.

Your article is right thought the rooms are very clean if a bit small! Its just the hassle you get around the area I dont like also i had to use the stairs once as the lift broke i can tell you that was not a nice experience. Personally for me I think its much better to stay on HK Island and as the previous poster has said the Yes Inn is a great choice.

Great perspective and blog post though hope you enjoyed HK too :)
tom´s last blog post ..Europe’s Top 5 Best Beach Parties

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Kirsty May 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Yeah I would stay on HK island if I were to do it again, it’s not that much expensive and you are right in the thick of it a bit more there! Thankfully we didn’t have to use the stairs – the guide book basically said AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!! So we did!

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Shannon September 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

Yikes that’s probably smaller than a truck camper (google it, these are popular in the US) the truck camper bathrooms are designed the same way as these where you sit on the throne to shower, good thing it has a roll dispenser cover to protect the roll itself :)

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Poi September 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm

It was a bit of a pain, every time we wanted a shower we had to remove everything from the bathroom that couldn’t get wet, no taking your towel in with you!

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Narelle Walker October 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm

CHUNGKING MANSIONS…..they use the staircase at the lower level for a toilet…the stairs are so digusting..even toilet paper on floor one and ground floor….nobody in that body corporate of tenants has the decency to get the stairs cleaned. There is a managing body for the complex but they must not care about what the guests think and the landlords have no respect for their environment…..the outside world perceives the place as run by a lot of dirty people which is not the case…..MOST OF THE LODGES seem to be clean and tidy….TAIWAN HOTEL IS clean and comfortable. But the laundry hanging in the main foyer gives Westerners a bit of a scare…..You think, WHAT THE HELL is going on here….but check their deluxe better rooms and they are okay…all I say to the management is get together and clean up the stairs because you are on 3rd floor and some of your guests use the stairs when the lifts are busy…..good prices for what is offered…..the owners seem to care about their rooms but get the flithy stairs cleaned up…..NARELLE WALKER, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA.t

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Michael October 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm

That’s too funny. I actually stayed at the Mirador Mansions when I first arrived to Hong Kong. It’s pretty much the same space wise but you are on the money about location…. I just took it in my stride. The place was cheap but relatively clean.

Don’t think I will ever get used to showering on the toilet though :)

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Poi October 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

For what the place is it’s not that bad, a little intimidating at first but fine once you get use to it. Glad to hear Mirador Mansions is just as ‘good’ :)

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Darren December 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Any advice from your input if I am going to walk-in to get a room for 2 persons end of the month, 29th Dec? As we planned to spend the new yr celebrations in HK, and most of the hostels and hotels are fully booked, yet the price is so much expensive which beyond our budget. Thanks

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Poi December 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

We stayed at the New Hong Kong Hostel in Chungking Mansions although many of the rooms are owned by the same people. The minute you walk into the building there will be plenty of people offering you rooms, just be sure to check them out before you pay for anything. It’s best to have an idea where you want to stay before going as it can be quite intimidating in there.

Cheers & Good Luck!

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Dave March 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Hahaha oh man we booked room in Chungking mansions a month ago and are flying in to HK from canada , all these crappy reviews! Looks like a experince for first time travellers . Any advice ? 2 canadian guys shouldnt have a problem ?

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Poi March 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Ner you’ll be fine, just avoid the stairs at night maybe and keep your valuable stuff with you if you don’t trust the hostel owners.

It’ll definitely be an experience but keep an open mind and enjoy it, see the fun side. Be sure to hunt down an indian restaurant in there as well, it’s good stuff!

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Luis Varela July 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hi
Thanks for so advicing blog, and sorry for a couple of questions.

After reading you, I can imagine that it is not necessary book previusly, isn’t?

Can you smoke on those rooms?

I’m gonna arrive midnight to Hong Kong, is dangeorous boo at that hour?

Thanks a lot for your time.

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Poi July 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hi Luis, Sorry we’ve been away and didn’t get a chance to respond to this in time for your visit. Would love to know how you got on?

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karly December 22, 2012 at 8:13 am

hi! what is the name of the hostel you were staying?

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Poi January 3, 2013 at 3:20 am

It was called New Hong Kong Hostel at the time but the same guy seemed to run a bunch of them.

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