Mirador Mansion Hong Kong
In Kowloon peninsula from Hong Kong there’s an area called Tsim Sha Tsui. The area is also known as “Golden Mile” because here can be found the most expensive land in the world. Three years ago, the owners took the decision of demolishing Hyatt Hotel which had about 10 – 12 stories and preparing the setting for a much larger building which was still under construction in 2009 when I was last time in Hong Kong…The terrain below what used to be Hyatt Hotel, costs probably more than a 5 star hotel. Well, on this “golden” ground, can be found two buildings for backpackers and immigrants – some massive grey blocks of about 15 – 16 stories that are housing a few hundreds of guesthouses. Millions of backpackers from all around the world have lived here during the last 50 years, thus transforming Chungking and Mirador Mansions into legendary places such as Thamel in Kathmandu, Khao San Road from Bangkok or Goa…The cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong located in the most expensive residential area in the world!
The buildings were constructed in the ‘60s for a big real estate project which intended to reduce the demographic pressure on the island, but in the end, the two massive apartment blocks ended up on housing the city’s visitors instead of its cramped inhabitants. Slowly, private entrepreneurs started to let and sublet larger or smaller spaces and turn them into guesthouses. Today, nobody has any idea who rented to whom but one thing is sure: here you can find a few hundred “hotels” with thousands of beds.
But not all guesthouses are alike. A characteristic of all of them is that the rooms are extremely small and each square centimeter is used in the most efficient way. What separates a place from another is the fact that some are dirtier, whereas others are extremely clean. It depends a lot to whom the place addresses to: the ones meant for the immigrants from the Indian subcontinent or from Africa or Mainland China may be in poor conditions and filthy, but the ones meant for Western backpackers (generally mentioned in Lonely Planet or other travel guides) are cleaner and nicer.
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