Do a search for cheap hotels in Hong Kong and you’ll find a list of accommodation options for the Chungking Mansions. The first time I stayed in Hong Kong I booked a place here not knowing what I was getting myself into.
I had a vision of a run-down colonial mansion with high ceilings, a lazy ceiling fan swooshing overhead, and old wooden window shutters looking out on the the streets below. Instead I was greeted with a drab water-stained concrete block with air conditioning units and washing hanging out from the windows.
[Chungking Mansions – Hong Kong]
The “mansions” is a city-within-a-building, occupied by shops, small business offices, and private apartments. On the ground floor there are money changers, import and export businesses, mobile phone and electronic shops among others.
It looks like something out of Blade Runner, or maybe a modern homage the the old Kowloon Walled City.
[Shops of the Chungking Mansions]
Chungking is the home of cheap accommodation in Hong Kong. Here you will find budget accommodation marketed as hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Whatever they call themselves, most of them are nothing more than a window-less box; a place to sleep at night.
I’ve been visiting Hong Kong since 2002 and I’ve stayed at the Chungking (and the nearby Mirador Mansions) several times now. If you are going to lodge at the Chungking Mansions here are my tips for making a more comfortable stay.
Check these options before you stay
While the Chungking Mansions are almost always the cheapest single-room option in Hong Kong, it might not be the best value. For example a single room can be found for $30USD, but sometimes there are crazy deals going on for 4 and 5 star hotels. On my last visit I found a room at the 4* Ramada Hotel for $50 so I took that option instead. These deals aren’t always available but I always check Agoda and sort hotels by 4 and 5 stars as Agoda often have deals going for the big cities of Asia.
Another option is checking out Airbnb for any deals. If you haven’t used Airbnb before you can get a $20 credit by signing up here (the credit lasts a month so sign up when you are ready to book) so first-time users might work out cheaper that way.
If you’ve never been to Hong Kong here is my guide for the best areas to stay in Hong Kong.
Stay on the first 3 floors
The Chungking Mansions is like a city unto itself. There must be thousands of people staying in this building at any one time, and it feels like it when you go to the elevator.
When you book a room the address includes a block number, and you will need to find the corresponding elevator for that block. Sometimes the queues for the lift can be long and the ride crowded with people and freight.
I have gotten around this by only staying in guesthouses as high up as the third floor (Hong Kong use the British way of counting floors (i.e. the correct way) and count the ground floor as the first floor.)
[Waiting for the elevator at the Chungking Mansions]
Not only is walking faster than waiting for a lift, it is a good way to get to know the exit in case of emergency. You just have to remember where your particular staircase is. The last time I stayed it was in a side alley in between two shops. Here are some lower floor options.
3rd floor of Chungking Mansions
Hong Kong Tai Wan Hotel (I have stayed here.)
5th floor of Chungking Mansions
3rd floor of Mirador Mansions
This also applies for the Mirador Mansion, which is a few doors up from the Chungking Mansions.
Book a room with a window
I’ve stayed in some rooms that are deep inside the mansions that have no windows. Some of the rooms are so small that it felt like sleeping in a coffin, so I prefer having a window.
[A room with a window. I could barely fit the room in the picture.]
The room I stayed in at the Nagaland Guest House had windows in the bedroom and bathroom, which made for a more pleasant stay than the usual windowless boxes.
Book a double room if you are tall
The last place I stayed at had a notice on the booking page:
“For muscular men or slim women with long legs, please choose Twin/Double rooms.”
I have stayed in a single room and as a 185cm/6’1” guy I can tell you that this is good advice as I didn’t fit in the bed. The room was the length of the bed I had to lie in a crooked position to fit.
[A single bed in a room that I barely fit in.]
Good luck with your adventure of staying at The Mansions!
I dunno, I actually kinda liked Chungking Mansions. I booked a room there on booking.com (I try only to book rooms that have a 8+ rating; so far, this has weeded out a lot of crummier choices) without having read anything about CM. I then saw blurbs about it in guidebooks and online reviews that used phrases like “rabbit warren” and “mothers watch your daughters” and I got really worried. Having come prepared, I put on my big city poker face once I entered, bypassed all the dudes trying to sell me watches, and was totally fine. I actually liked the fact that the elevators have security cameras; made me feel a little safer. You’re right, the rooms are crazy tiny. The walking space between the bed and the wall wasn’t even wide enough for my hips! But I liked to think of the bathroom as the epitome of efficiency: where else can you (theoretically) brush your teeth at the sink while sitting on the toilet AND taking a shower? 🙂
could you please tell me the room fare in Chungking mansion? How much should I expect for food and stay in city for 4 days??
Good suggestions. I guess, a good research goes a long way in finding a comfy place to stay.
Good advice needless to say because most people will go for the cheapest option.
Nico C says
Thank you so much for this information. I will travel to Hong Kong as a solo female in April. I booked a hotel with a goog rating at 15th floor in Building E.. but only after booking I realized that the building itself is not too safe and the lifts are old and slow. I feel a little uneasy to stay at so high floor.. I consider to change my reservation at 3th floor Tai wan hotel.. I want to know if this hotel is accesible by stairs or only by lift. Also I would like to know about the other higher floors.. Instead of waiting the lift I prefer to use the stairs.. but I read that some of the stairs are blocked??
James Clark says
Hi Nico, I’ve stayed on the 15th floor and it was ok, but I just got frustrated waiting for the lift. I wouldn’t want to walk up the stairs to the 15th floor.
James stratta says
I must say , Chung King Mansion is very diff from the USA hotels , 90% bad 10% good , like the Clint Eastwood , Movie … The Good the Bad and the Ugly …??
Amazing! This place looks insane, so I must must stay here 😛
Danny Disco says
Looks like prices have really jumped recently. It would be helpful to have some price comparisons with dates.