As ‘Asia’s Cultural Hub’, Hong Kong is a city where modernity co-exists with tradition. Sai Ying Pun, theDesk’s hometown, is the perfect example of this coalescence. As an old camp of the British military, the name Sai Ying Pun comes directly from the English translation of ‘West Camp’. Despite the rapid development of the area in recent years, many heritage sites are still intact and well-protected. That was one of the reasons behind theDesk’s decision to lay foundations in Sai Ying Pun, as we wanted to begin our coworking journey in a well-developed but charming district.
Join us as we explore the vintage vibe of Sai Ying Pun and discover our favorite heritage hideouts.
Sites of enlightenment
Just a little walk from exit A1 of HKU MTR, we find our first government declared monument of the day — The Main Building of The University of Hong Kong (HKU). The building, with over one hundred years of history, dates back to 1912 – when the city’s most historic university was established. It was a landmark moment in the development of Hong Kong’s esteemed higher education system. Designed in Edwardian Baroque-style, the red bricks architecture oozes class, elegance, and intellect.
Further down the road, stands the Former Fung Ping Shan Museum. Now called The University Museum and Art Gallery of HKU, it’s one of the oldest museums in Hong Kong still in operation. The museum is home to a diverse collection of ceramics, bronzes, paintings and calligraphy that belong to ancient Chinese dynasties. Be sure to give yourself an entire afternoon if you want to truly take in all the exhibitions.
Down the hilly street from the museum is the King’s College. Established in the mid-19th Century, it’s one of Hong Kong’s oldest secondary schools. Declared a monument under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance of Hong Kong’s government, the building is composed of red bricks and adorned with neo-classical style features. It bravely stood through World War II and the Japanese Occupation. Though unfortunately damaged, it was refurbished after the war. It has witnessed more of Hong Kong’s history and development than anyone alive has.
Explore more: 5 Sai Ying Pun hideaways you need to try!
Places of hope and help
A few steps away from King’s College is Kau Yan Church, a Christian Church founded in 1852. Located on the corner of Third and High Street, it once played home to a church, school, and administrative offices. Now it’s solely purposed as a church and while its grey exterior may not be the most eye-catching, it’s been a safe haven for countless Hong Kongers for over a century.
Just past the Church, on the corner of Second Street, we will see the Western District Community Centre. Formerly known as Old Tsan Yuk Maternity Hospital, not only was it an obstetric hospital, it was also a teaching unit for medical students of HKU. Again, it was declared as a first class monument by the HKSAR government. Now that it is a community center, it continues to serve the public through holding various kinds of social activities and events. Even though it’s no longer a place where lives are saved, it still brings a lot of joy to the community.
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Connecting to modernity
Rounding off the journey is the recently opened Sai Ying Pun MTR station – where heritage truly meets modernity. From theDesk’s local station you can easily travel to all the modern districts of the city such as Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and beyond.
Amongst the hustle and bustle, we often rush around glued to our phones or worrying about our last meeting. But sometimes it’s important to slow down and appreciate our beautiful city. Being surrounded by all these sites may not hit you as anything special, yet once you walk along the trail and understand the history around you, you may start having a different view of Sai Ying Pun.
If the above heritage trail seems a bit too time-consuming for you, here’s another option — experience how heritage blends with modernity in an afternoon at theDesk’s Sai Wan site. Our award-winning interior design has captured Sai Ying Pun’s uniqueness, reflecting how our members are innovative but, at the same time, respectful of tradition.
Usually, space is exclusive for our entrepreneurial members, but on 12th and 13th October, visitors are welcomed to come and have a glimpse of our dynamic co-working office. Don’t miss the chance.
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