Chungking Mansions is one of Hong Kong's best known buildings where one can shop for everything cheap, exchange money, buy international food, stay in one of the hundreds of guest houses, rent an office, and do God knows what else. The visitors to Chungking Mansions come from many parts of the world, such as Russia, China, Japan, Africa, Pakistan, Middle East, India, etc. Its a tourists' paradise except in a situation when one gets cheated by a shop owner or a guest house. Not getting cheated or scammed is important here. I have visited Chungking Mansions to exchange money or to buy SIM cards several times and got the best exchange rates and best prices in Hong Kong every time. But when I decided to stay in one of the guest houses in Chungking Mansions, I got cheated. I stayed there for two nights because I thought to really understand the place, it had to be more than just an overnight stay. This page contains some very useful information that I gathered during my stay in Chungking Mansions. Keep reading...
|Chungking Mansions Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong|
|iSquare Mall Opposite Chungking Mansions Hong Kong|
Money Exchange in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong - Best Money Exchange Rates in Hong Kong
|Money Exchange Shop in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong|
Mobile Phone SIM Cards and Calling Cards in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong
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Laundry Service in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong
|Laundry Shop in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong|
Perhaps the cheapest laundry service in Hong Kong can be availed of in Chungking Mansions. There are at least two laundry shops on the ground floor. They charge by weight and the prices start at around 30 HKD for 3.62 KG (8 lb) of laundry without pressing. No personal experience so I cannot say anything about the quality. The Chinese Laundry shop in the above picture looks good to me.
|Indian Vegetarian Food in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong|
I spotted Indian, Pakistani (also sold as Indian), Nepali, African, Middle Eastern, and Chinese food shops at the ground floor. There are some country specific grocery shops too. Someone looking to buy packaged ready to eat Indian food like MTR brand Indian ready to eat curries can go to these shops. A word of caution here. Shop rentals are very high in Chungking Mansions. Cooking is not allowed in the shop so the shop owners need to rent an apartment in some other floor for cooking. Thus the cost of food here is much higher than it should be. Quality of food also varies depending on the factors at play. Unsold food at the end of the day is not thrown away. Some shops do not have fixed prices. A cup of Indian Chai can cost either 5 or 10 HKD depending on whether or not the customer confirmed the price before ordering. My advice here is, eat in Chungking Mansions only if you must.
Cheap Drinking Water Bottles in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong
|Cheap Water Bottles in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong|
Problems and Scams
The biggest scam prone business in Chungking Mansions is of guest houses. Someone told me that there are around 250 guest houses in this building. I do not know if that is true but know for sure that one guest house (some are called hotels) may be functioning from one or even half of a residential apartment in Chungking Mansions. The so called rooms in these guest houses are match-box sized cabins with hardly any space to keep anything larger than a medium sized travel bag. Some of them have private miniature bathrooms too. The scams are of two types. One, the tariffs are not fixed and depend entirely on demand and supply. Some of the guest houses do have fixed tariffs for advance booking through booking sites such as HostelBookers. The problem with advance booking is that one rarely gets what one sees on the booking site. Tripadvisor guest ratings are manipulated by the guest house owners who post fake reviews to increase their guest rating.
|Canada Hotel That Runs Illegal Guest House in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong|
How to avoid the Guest House Scam in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong
(i) Never do advance booking for a guest house
Walk-in guests get the best rooms in guest houses in Chungking Mansions because they are able to actually see what they are getting for the price. They are also offered the best prices because the guest house owner knows if the price and value equation does not match, the prospective guest will walk away. On the other hand, the poor souls who have done advance booking, made part or full advance payment or have given their credit card numbers to the booking site, have so choice but to take what is given to them. Avoid staying at Chungking Mansions in the first place. If you can't, see the room before making any payment.
I have later stayed at a hostel in Fortress Hill at a much lower price than I paid to the illegal Canada Hotel and that was not bad. Read my review of Yesinn @Fortress Hill here.
(ii) Never stay in a guest house that uses colored bed linen
If you see the bed linen of any color other than White in a guest house in Chungking Mansions, just walk away. If the bed linen is of a dark color, there is more than a 50% chance that the bed linen has not been changed after the last guest checked out. Take care of your health and stay somewhere else.
Safety of guests and visitors to Chungking Mansions Hong Kong
|Crowded Public Elevator in Chungking Mansions Hong Kong|
|Posted by Narinder Singh|