Thursday, April 22, 2010


Kowloon is an urban area in Hong Kong which comprises the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. As mentioned before, Hong Kong today is comprised of the island plus Kowloon and the New Territories on the mainland. Although Kowloon is situated on mainland China, it is officially part of Hong Kong. We were able to reserve tickets via email through the Hong Kong Intercity Passenger Services Center for the overnight train from the Hung Hom station in Kowloon to Shanghai. This was possible only because the train originates in Kowloon; tickets for all other trains traveling within mainland China cannot be purchased or reserved online. This restriction created challenges in firming our travel plans for this trip.

We were required to collect our tickets at the Hung Hom station at least 24 hours prior to departure on Saturday 24 April. So we spent only one night in a hotel on the island of Hong Kong, and then moved to a hotel in Kowloon. This afforded us the opportunity to see various parts of the official SAR of Hong Kong.

Kowloon is home to the famous Chinese triads of Hong Kong.....organized crime groups. The earliest triads started as resistance/rebel forces who opposed Manchu rule in China during the Qing Dynasty, as the Manchurians were regarded as foreign invaders in the predominant Han Chinese society of China. In the 1760s, the Heaven and Earth Society was founded, with its objective to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and restore Han Chinese rule in China. As the society's influence spread throughout China, it branched into several smaller groups with different names, one of which was the Three Harmonies Society. These societies adopted the triangle as their emblem, usually accompanied by decorative images of swords or portraits of Guan Yu. Guan Yu was a general during the Eastern Han Dynasty; he died in 219 A.D. The Chinese have long memories. The term "triad" was first coined by British authorities in colonial Hong Kong, as a reference to the triads' use of triangular imagery. Soon the word triad came to mean an underground society or group of organized crime.

The name Kowloon came from the nine dragons represented by eight land peaks and Chinese Emperor Bing (8 hills plus the emperor = 9 dragons). The part of Kowloon south of Boundary Street, together with Stonecutters Island, was ceded by Qing China to the United Kingdom under the Convention of Peking of 1860. For many years the area remained largely undeveloped, used by the British mainly for tiger-hunting expeditions. The part of Kowloon north of Boundary Street (New Kowloon) was leased by the British as part of the New Territories in 1898 for 99 years. Within New Kowloon is the Kowloon City, which refers to an area, where the Kowloon Walled City used to be located.

The Kowloon Walled City was a place of lawlessness and no government for many years. You can read about it at
The Kowloon Walled City was finally demolished by the government of Hong Kong in 1994. That area today is a park.

It is now Friday morning and the sun is trying to peek out. Think we will take the MTR to Central and see the main small island known as the original island of Hong Kong. There are many raised pedestrian platforms around the city which allow people to walk between subway stations above ground and above the crowded sidewalks and streets below. We can take one of these elevated pedestrian platforms from the shopping mall attached to our hotel over to the subway station that has service directly beneath Victoria Harbour to the main island of Hong Kong.

Easy-peasy as the Brits say.

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