Hong Kong: Avenue of the Stars

After our museums and Clock Tower visit, Jandy, Cheska and I moved on to the Victoria Harbor waterfront for the Avenue of the Stars, one of Hong Kong’s newest attractions.  Opened on April 27, 2004, this HK$40 million avenue, built along an existing promenade, was designed by local architects AGC Design, financed by New World Group and supported by government bodies including the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Hong Kong Tourism Commission and the Hong Kong Film Awards Association. Upon completion, it was donated to the Hong Kong SAR Government by New World Group.

Avenue of the Stars

Modeled after the popular Hollywood Walk of Fame in the U.S., it honors glamorous celebrities of the Hong Kong (touted as the “Hollywood of the Orient”) film industry. Upon entering Salibury Garden (the western entrance), from the Hong Kong Museum of Art, we were greeted by a 4.5 m. high replica of the statuette given to winners at the annual Hong Kong Film Awards.

Welcome to the Avenue of the Stars

Along its 440 m. long promenade, which commands a stunning panoramic view across Victoria Harbor, the story of Hong Kong’s 100 years of cinematic history is told through inscriptions printed on 9 red pillars. Also set into the promenade’s colored paving blocks are 101  (up from the initial 73) plaques honoring the celebrities, some emblazoned with hand prints and autographs of the stars set in cement, but most only contain the celebrities’ names as they are now deceased (such as Bruce Lee).

Plaque of Bruce Lee

Among the few plaques with hand prints that we recognized were those of Chow Yun Fat and martial arts superstars Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.  We all can’t help but crouch or sit down and take photos of our hands in the molds of their hand prints.  The others are recognizable only to the Hong Kong community or aficionados of Hong Kong films.

Measuring Up to Jet Li

One of the most recent additions to the Avenue of Stars is the 2.5 m. bronze statue of the late Bruce Lee (1940-1973), erected here in 2005 to commemorate his 65th birth anniversary.  Another popular attraction along the avenue for photo opportunities is a statue of  a film director and cameraman “on set.” There are also 3 souvenir kiosks along the Avenue of Stars, including one dedicated to Jackie Chan merchandise and memorabilia.

Emulating Bruce Lee

Nightly, at 8 PM, the promenade is a popular viewing place for the free 14-min. light and sound show called the “Symphony of Lights.” Here, 44 prominent buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbor, part of Hong Kong Island’s famous skyline, becomes spectacularly illuminated.

Statues of Director and Cameramen on Set

Avenue of the Stars: Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

How to Get There: by MTR, take the East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, exit J, near InterContinental Hotel.  It is a 3-min. walk from the avenue. Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, which is linked by pedestrian subway to East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and has common exits is also within walking distance. The Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier is also a 10-min. walk from the avenue. Follow the promenade past the clock tower and along the harbor side, in front of Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Museum of Art.  The Star Ferry Bus Terminus, located at Star Ferry Pier, is the terminus for KMB services 1, 1A, 2, 5, 5A, 5C, 6, 6A, 7, 8 and 9. Routes A21, 8A, 13X, 26, 28, 35A, 41A, 81C, 87D, 98D, 110, 203, 208, 215X, 219X and 224X all stop on Salisbury Road, outside New World Centre, a 5-min. walk from the avenue.

Hong Kong: Clock Tower, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Space Museum

From Kowloon Park, Jandy, Cheska and I walked along Canton Road until we reached the red brick and granite, 45-m. high Former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower, located near Victoria Harbor at the foot of Salisbury Road.  Topped by a 7-m. high lightning rod, it is the only remnant of the original site of the former Kowloon Station on the Kowloon-Canton Railway. Built in 1915, it marks the start of the scenic Waterfront Promenade and remains as a photogenic monument to Tsim Sha Tsui’s rail heritage. The tower can be reached by a wooden staircase located within. Another landmark, the Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier, is located nearby.

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower reused the clock from the now demolished Pedder Street Clock Tower. However, only one side had a clock, and it was not until 1920 that the remaining three sides of the Clock Tower were installed. They began operation in the afternoon of March 22, 1921, and have run ever since except during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II.  In 1975, the Kowloon Station was moved to the present-day Hung Hom Station, on the newly reclaimed Hung Hom Bay. The old building of the station was demolished in 1977 but the Clock Tower was preserved. Since July 13, 1990, the tower has been listed as a declared monument in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Cultural Center

Today, the site of the historic railway station is now occupied by the multipurpose Hong Kong Cultural Center, its curving roof and futuristic features creating an unusual background to the Clock Tower. Home to the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the center has an oval, 2-tiered 2,019-seat Concert Hall with adjustable acoustic canopy and curtains and finished with high-quality oak.  It also houses an 8,000-pipe pipe organ (Asia’s largest, built by the Austrian firm Rieger Orgelbau), a 1,734-seat, 3-tiered Grand Theater for large scale opera, ballet and musicals,  a 300-496-seat Studio Theater for smaller-scale theater and performance works, an  Exhibition Gallery, 4 foyer exhibition areas and 11 rehearsal and practice rooms.

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Flanking the Hong Kong Cultural Center are the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.  The Hong Kong Museum of Art, a museum for Chinese cultural heritage, and local and international art in Hong Kong, houses 14,000 art objects, mainly Chinese paintings of historical significance, sculpture and calligraphy works and antique Chinese treasures.  The museum also presents a great variety of thematic exhibitions drawn from local and overseas sources. It was first established in the City Hall in 1962 and moved to the present premises in 1991.

Hong Kong Space Museum

The 80,000-sq. m., dome-shaped Hong Kong Space Museum, built in 1980, has 3 sections: the Hall of Space Science, the Hall of Astronomy, and one of the world’s largest and most technical planetariums, the Space Theater, where thrilling wide-screen Omnimax and Skyshows are presented.

How to Get There: From MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit E, walk towards Salisbury Road, turn right, take pedestrian next to YMCA to Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Then turn right and walk straight ahead towards the waterfront.  Take Star Ferry from Central or Wan Chai and follow the signs. The Clock Tower is located next to the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier.