Cramped pub­lic hous­ing “man­sions” from the 1960s per­fect­ly con­vey the feel­ing of Hong Kong, one of the most dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed cities in the world.

Hong Kong Monster Building Day

Hong Kong Mon­ster Build­ing — Day

400 to 500 Mil­lion HKD….to live in this grave­yard.” (500–600 thou­sand USD) my friend Bon­nie tells me. She’s from Hong Kong, grew up here. Her par­ents worked in Hong Kong back when there were more fac­to­ries before most moved to main­land Chi­na or South­east Asia. “I’m a tourist here too.” She tells me as I remark on the peo­ple walk­ing around. It’s an unlike­ly place to see tourists. A grungi­er side of Hong Kong where, if it weren’t for social media per­haps this “Mon­ster Build­ing” as it’s called by the locals, wouldn’t be famous.

Mon­tane Man­sion, Quar­ry Bay – Pho­tog­ra­phy Guide

See this arti­cle for the com­plete pho­tog­ra­phy guide to Mon­tane Man­sion (Mon­ster Build­ing)

Hong Kong Monster Building at Night

Hong Kong Mon­ster Build­ing at Night

The mas­sive E shaped hous­ing com­plex sprung up as an answer to the pop­u­la­tion influx in post-WWII Hong Kong as peo­ple fled from Chi­na. Now it’s tak­en on a celebri­ty sta­tus in this age of Ins­ta-famous loca­tions. It was even fea­tured in the movie “Ghost in the Shell” released ear­li­er this year as well as “Trans­form­ers: Age of Extinc­tion” (inci­den­tal­ly, dur­ing the film­ing, air con­di­tion­er units were thrown at the crew by some dis­grun­tled local busi­ness­es.)

Almost every hos­tel I’ve stayed at in Hong Kong feels like this, cramped, with lit­tle room to move or store lug­gage. There is a cer­tain beau­ty to the fad­ed col­ors and lay­er upon lay­er of apart­ments though, coat­ed in city grunge, cloth­ing dry­ing in the breeze. A dystopi­an metrop­o­lis of the future. Some­thing from Blade Run­ner or the Fifth Ele­ment. The bot­tom lev­el is lined with shops and ten­ants go about their busi­ness not pay­ing much atten­tion to the tourists and their vic­to­ry fin­ger pos­es.

How to get there:

The Mon­ster build­ing is locat­ed on Hong Kong Island and com­pos­es var­i­ous “Man­sions”. You can use the fol­low­ing address.

Mon­tane Man­sion 1028 King’s Road, Quar­ry Bay

Take the “Quar­ry Bay” Metro stop, then Exit A. Turn right on the street (King’s Road). You will pass “Taikoo Place”. Keep fol­low­ing the road pass­ing “Mount Park­er Road Green Trail”

Mount Parker Green Trail Sign

Mount Park­er Road Green Trail Sign

It’s less than a ten-minute walk from the metro sta­tion. The entrance looks like this

Entrance to Monster Building

Entrance to the Mon­ster Build­ing

Map:

Monster Building Hong Kong Google Map

Mon­ster Build­ing Hong Kong Google Map

Additional Tips:

  1. Don’t for­get to see both court­yards. There are two. You can access the sec­ond through the back stairs or from a lit­tle fur­ther down the street at 1032 King’s Road. This sec­ond court­yard is actu­al­ly the one that is pho­tographed most.
  2. I rec­om­mend going at night. If you want to go dur­ing the day and night go for it. But I think the night is more beau­ti­ful. Look at the pic­tures and decide for your­self.
  3. If you go at night, bring a tri­pod if you’ve got it. Oth­er­wise, you can lay your cam­era on the struc­tures in the court­yard.
  4. You’ll want your widest lens for this.
  5. Look at the out­side of the build­ing. While not quite as pho­to­genic it’s still a mon­stros­i­ty.
  6. Be respect­ful of the peo­ple who work and live here.
Hong Kong Monster Exterior Night

Hong Kong Mon­ster Build­ing Exte­ri­or Night

Hong Kong Monster Exterior Night

Hong Kong Mon­ster Build­ing Exte­ri­or Night

 

For more pic­tures and pho­tog­ra­phy tips on the Mon­ster Build­ing (Mon­tane Man­sion) see the post here. 

Update: Montane Mansion Photo Ban

In Feb­ru­ary of 2018, there was a sign post­ed in the Mon­tane Man­sion (Mon­ster Build­ing) telling peo­ple that pho­tog­ra­phy isn’t allowed. It appears this area is actu­al­ly pub­lic prop­er­ty and they can’t enforce this Pho­tog­ra­phy Ban. How­ev­er please always be respect­ful of the res­i­dents inside. You are going into the court­yard of a build­ing many peo­ple call home. Do not shout or hang around longer than you need to. Buy­ing some­thing from the stores at ground lev­el I believe will also be appre­ci­at­ed.

What to do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a city full of things to do and not just shop­ping (though with no sales tax and one of the largest ports in the world it can be a great place to shop). Here are some more sug­ges­tions on what to see and what to do in Hong Kong after you’ve vis­it­ed the Mon­ster Build­ing.

 

10 Cheap/Free Things To Do In Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a pret­ty expen­sive city so I’ll start with some things to do that are free or very cheap.

 

Vic­to­ria Peak Hike – The Clas­sic View of Hong Kong

Anoth­er great place to vis­it is Vic­to­ria Peak, what I believe is one of the best city views in the world. Check out the arti­cle on Vic­to­ria Peak, Hong Kong here. (I rec­om­mend walk­ing up there but you can just as eas­i­ly take the Vic­to­ria Peak Tram or a bus)

Dragon’s Back – Asia’s Best Urban Hike

Unbe­knownst to many, Hong Kong has some pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar hikes. The hike up Dragon’s Back is prob­a­bly the most acces­si­ble for great views. Read the full arti­cle on the Dragon’s Back hike here.

Good luck with your jour­ney to Hong Kong and I hope this arti­cle has been of some use to you. Let me know how your vis­it to the Mon­ster Build­ing went in the com­ments. I love hear­ing feed­back.

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