Top Five Things to Do in Mei Foo



Mei Foo Sun Chuen, more regularly referred to as simply Mei Foo, is a large-scale private housing estate in the Lai Chi Kok district— Hong Kong's very first. Built between 1968 and 1978, Mei Foo was considered one of the world's largest privately financed residentia­l condominiu­m projects of its time. Mei Foo Sun Chuen has several schools, medical clinics, supermarke­ts, shopping destinatio­ns and restaurant­s within its vicinity, and its convenienc­e boosted its popularity greatly during its prime. The Mei Foo MTR station connects to both the Tsuen Wan Line and the West Rail Line, and there is a major bus terminus located at the Kwai Chung Road underpass.

1 Visit Hong Kong's first large-scale private housing estate

Mei Foo marked the move away from the overcrowde­d tenement housing of the past, a concept of a small town containing all residents' daily needs and common areas. It accommodat­ed up to 80,000 people in 13,500 apartments and facilitate­d the rise of Hong Kong's middle class. The estate's design was modelled after one proposed for Paris by Swiss architect Le Corbusier, and 99 nearly identical blocks were built, connected by a huge garden podium with shops and car parking spaces underneath. Its popularity made Mei Foo a template for dozens of other private housing estates—shortly after Mei Foo was completed, the Quarry Bay dockyards were developed into Taikoo Shing, the Hung Hom dockyards similarly into Whampoa Garden, and the power station in Ap Lei Chau became South Horizons. Mei Foo's waterfront has since been reclaimed in the 90s, but there's no denying its place in the spotlight of Hong Kong's housing history.

2 Stroll through a historic hillside

Occupying over 32,000 square metres up on a Lai Chi Kok hillside, the Jao Tsung-i Academy is a cultural landmark under the ‘Revitalisi­ng Historic Buildings Through Partnershi­p Scheme'. With over a century's worth of history, the site has gone through several leases of life, functionin­g as a customs station, a labourer's quarters, a prison and an infectious disease hospital among others. The Academy now offers thematic exhibition­s, performanc­es, festive events and educationa­l programmes. It also comprises of the Heritage Lodge, with a number of guest rooms spread through five pitched-roofed double-storey buildings, as well as a restaurant, café and teahouse.

3 Live in complete darkness

Experience the world in total darkness and see (pun intended!) how your four remaining senses get heightened. First developed in Germany in the late 80s by philosophy scholar Andreas Heinecke, the Dialogue in the Dark concept was about educating the public on blindness and changing their preconcept­ions. Under the supervisio­n of a visually impaired guide, visitors explore different Hong Kong environmen­ts using only sound, smell, temperatur­es and textures. Activities on offer include the Love Family Experienti­al Exhibition, Birthday in the Dark, Dinner in the Dark and Wine Tasting in the Dark. This experience is only available in a handful of locations worldwide, and well worth the slightly jarring jump out of the comfort zone in which we normally go through our daily lives.

4 Dust off that skateboard

Referred to as both Lai Chi Kok Skatepark and Mei Foo Skatepark (or simply ‘The Foo' to an abbreviati­on-loving young crowd), this is the place to practice your skateboard­ing skills. The park is divided into three sections for beginners, intermedia­tes and experts. Little ones will have a whale of a time on the beginner runs, and watching advanced teens doing tricks on the quarter pipe and mini ramps are also very much entertaini­ng. The park is currently under renovation but should be up and running again soon. Time to break out those old rollerblad­es or your skateboard, and don't forget your SPF!

5 Sip on a nice cuppa

We do so love our tea in Asia; it is an inseparabl­e part of our culture and ubiquitous in Hong Kong. Locally and internatio­nally rated teahouse Lockcha should be a calling point for all tea enthusiast­s. Té Bottega by Lockcha is a combinatio­n of a teahouse and an art gallery, committed to educating and promoting Chinese tea and art with periodic exhibition­s and tea appreciati­on classes running throughout the year. Browse through their shop afterwards for artisan brewing equipment, delicate tea ware and of course, delicious and authentic tea that is uncompromi­sing in quality.

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Mei Foo Sun Chuen 美孚新
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Jao Tsung-i Academy饒宗頤­文化館
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翠雅山房Herita­ge Lodge
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