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
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!