How to get there when you don't know where to go

Last week we introduced the new Places feature. They help you find your way to a place in Hong Kong.

That's great if you know where you want to get to. But what if you've just got a vague idea? eg 'I expect to be working in Central, which serviced apartments are nearby?'. Or "I'm staying in a hotel on Nathan Road, any friendly pubs nearby?".

Here's the next part of the Places idea to help answer those questions. eg, to answer the second question, here's a map of pubs that Mr Tall and I like. It only took a few minutes to pull together - we added each pub as a new place, and made sure that each place had the word 'pub' as a tag. Then we typed in 'pub' as the tag on the searchable map, clicked submit, and hey presto there's the map of pubs.

A map of pubs isn't a great example though - a Google search shows there are plenty of these maps already, so why reinvent the wheel?

Instead we're hoping to see maps of whatever niche interest you have. Just choose a tag, and away you go. eg I'm not surprised that a Google search for maps of ARP tunnels in Hong Kong didn't find anything. So here's one I put together last night.

Here's another small map put together to answer a question we're often asked - where to buy a digital camera in Hong Kong?

What other ideas are there? A few weeks ago, Gweipo's blog mentioned places to go for a picnic. That would make a good map.

When we were new parents, a map of places that had good changing facilities for baby, and a map of places for breast-feeding would have been useful.

Or when I'm wandering around the streets or trails of Hong Kong I'm always interested to see old marker stones, old (say pre-1940) buildings, and old military constructions (ARP shelters, pillboxes, bunkers, batteries, etc). Maps of those would be useful for me.

We'll be using the maps to illustrate several of the articles on the site (beaches, swimming polls, restaurants, etc, etc), but feel free to add your own. Just choose your tag, add the places, and the map will take care of itself.

Happy mapping!

Regards, MrB


Shop Houses in Hong Kong

Readers philk and tngan have been busy documenting all the shop houses in Hong Kong.

Here's some background information about shophouses, and a map showing all that have been found to date.

If there's some special type of place in Hong Kong you're interested in, why not start a new collection of places?

ARP Tunnel Portals

This is the next group of places I'd like to document - the portals (entrances) to the old Air Raid Precaution tunnels in Kowloon and on Hong Kong island. There are several where I have been sent photographs, but I haven't done anything with them thinking I'd get around to writing an article. That seems to be taking me forever, so hopefully tackling them on a per-portal level will cut down my procrastination!

The other benefit is that we'll be able to display them in a list, which in turn will show any we've missed. Initially there will be a lot missing, but over time there should only be a handful left. I think they were numbered consecutively when they were built, so I'm hoping that our list of missing numbers will highlight any tunnels that were not documented, eg for security reasons, or simply because they were not known.

Some guidelines if you are creating a new place for one of the portals: (But if you're not sure what to enter for any of the following, don't worry. Just create the place as best you can, and we can tidy up the details later)

  • Name: Use the template 'ARP portal NNN', where NNN is the number of this portal. If it's a low number pad it out with leading '0', so the list will sort correctly. (eg write 003 instead of 3, or 041 instead of 41). If it's a portal in Kowloon, put a 'K" in front of the number, eg K002.
  • Tags:  Give each place the following three tags
    • ARP portal
    • ARP portal NNN (ie the same as the Name:)
    • ARP tunnel network XX (ie the number of the tunnel network that this portal belongs to. See this map for the location of the different tunnel networks).

Here's an example that hopefully shows what I mean.

Photos of shop houses in Kowloon City


I still have quite a few photos of shop houses of the Kowloon City area.  I will try to post them in the next few weeks.  I just need a bit more time to associate with their approximate locations on the map.


What's the next map?

Maybe not a Hong Kong version of this one!

Popular places

It'll soon be a year since we added this feature, so how are we doing?

Here are some of the most popular places so far - just click the links below to see them on their map.


  • golden boy (114). Places that appear in Martin Booth's book, Golden Boy.
  • Shop Houses (107). The old-style shops that extend over the pavement. See them while you can!


  • pillbox (43). Wartime pillboxes.
  • japanese tunnel (24). Tunnels dug by the Japanese during the occupation of Hong Kong in WWII.
  • ARP tunnel network (29). Air Raid tunnels dug before the start of WWII.



  • Pawn Shops (7). Often these are the only remaining old buildings in a block, where all the surrounding buildings have been demolished and rebuilt.
  • city boundary (7). The stones that mark the boundary of the City of Victoria
  • playground (6). Children's playgrounds.
  • cinema (6). Cinemas!

It's good to see the maps are filling out. Jump in if you can add a place that hasn't been listed - just click the 'Place' link (it's under the 'Create content' menu on the left of the screen) and give it the tag of the map you want it to show on (pub, playground, etc.). Or choose a new tag, and start your own map of places.

Have fun - you can't break anything, so don't worry about getting anything wrong.