Hong Kong, my love: A travel guide to Jackie Chan’s homeland
Jackie Chan has moved his business operations to mainland China, but he remains loyal to his home city of Hong Kong, the city where he grew up and famous. A special travel guide by Silke Oettel, Vice-President of the JC Dragon’s Heart Foundation Europe since 2011, and Thorsten Boose, author of the Jackie Chan film guides, were published in 2009 with “Hong Kong, my love”, in which readers go to former locations of Chan’s movie sets and being guided around Hong Kong.
The following text contains a chapter of the book and a film page with further background information about one of Jackie Chan’s better-known films “Twin Dragons”. Victoria Peak, where Jackie Chan lived in the early years of his exciting life.
So it’s 2009, Silke Oettel remembers …
Hong Kong from above: Victoria Peak
To get to the famous Victoria Peak, known by the locals as “The Peak”, we take bus no. 15, which leaves from the central Exchange Square bus station, and bus no. 15C, which leaves from the bus terminal near the Star Ferry departs Pier Central. The latter acts as a feeder to the Peak Tram. Both the no. 15 busses and the Peak Tram offer every Hong Kong visitor a pleasant ride through the exotic landscape with many unexpected views and insights into the sea of houses in Hong Kong.
We know bus travel from Germany – but when does one have the opportunity to take a funicular that is over 100 years old? So, let’s hop on the Peak Tram! Since 1888, the Peak Tram has covered the 1365 m long course from the valley station (“Lower Peak Tram Terminus”) to the terminus at the Peak Tower, overcoming 369 meters in altitude. At the steepest point the incline is 51%!
The Peak Tram was still powered by a steam engine when it opened on May 28, 1888. It has been electric since 1926. In 1989, the railway was automated by the Swiss industrial group Von Roll and the capacity of the cars increased from 32 to 120 passengers. Adult one-way tickets are HK $ 22 and return tickets are HK $ 33; the duration of only seven minutes is the same for both.
In the entrance area of the valley station we almost hit a blow and we grab the camera out of reflex. But it’s not the real Jackie Chan standing there. Its wax figure edition behind glass advertises Madame Tussauds Hong Kong in the Peak Tower on the summit, which we will visit shortly.
While we put the cameras away again, we wait for the arrival of the next train and now admire the real Jackie on the monitors on the opposite wall of the terminal in a commercial for the HKTB, in which he is standing on the roof of the Peak tram wagons. Finally, we get a seat each on the right-hand side of the wagon so that we can properly enjoy the view; this is breathtakingly beautiful!
There are four intermediate stops along the route: Kennedy Road, Macdonell Road, May Road and Barker Road – all named after political figures of the past. Barker Road looks familiar to us as fans; on this street was the French embassy where Jackie Chan spent the first years of his life. This is also mentioned in his documentary “Traces Of A Dragon: Jackie Chan & His Lost Family”.
The Peak Tram now reaches its summit station, which is located at the foot of the Peak Tower. Our tour of discovery continues.
The Peak Tower
The Peak Tower, which is somewhat reminiscent of a wok, was reopened in 2006 after several months of renovation and therefore presents itself with a few changes. The previously existing large viewing terrace on the east side of the building, which Jackie Chan used as a viewing platform down onto the city in his documentary “Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong”, has given way to restaurants and shops.
The magnificent view in good weather conditions can now unfortunately only be enjoyed without restrictions from the roof terrace for the small fee of HK $ 20. Here you are practically face to face with and even higher than the tallest skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island such as B. the 415.8 m high 2 IFC Tower.
The terrace is worth visiting at least twice during a stay in Hong Kong: once during the day and once at dusk or at night when the whole of Hong Kong is bathed in colourful light. This beautiful view of the city from down here also appears in some of Jackie Chan’s films. It may also have been the reason for fans to come to Hong Kong one day and enjoy it with their own eyes. Would we be here otherwise?
A second observation deck is located east of the Peak Tower. It is kept in the Chinese style and is always frequented by tourists.
Madame Tussaud’s Hong Kong
Next we want to visit the Hong Kong edition of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in “Level P2” of the Peak Tower. In the wax museum you will find celebrities from the film and music industry in Hong Kong and around the world as well as famous politicians, artists and athletes from various fields. From A for Muhammad Ali to Z for Mao Zedong, there is the right star for every visitor.
Next to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan is the first figure at the entrance. Since it was set up there in the opening year 2000, he has changed clothes several times. In the summer of 2007, he was dressed in original clothes from his film “Rob-B-Hood”, in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in a tracksuit he had designed; afterwards he was wrapped in a chic denim suit. Photographing and touching of all figures, of which there are around a hundred, is permitted in the wax museum, but professional photographers are available for photos together with Jackie. The result can be purchased at the end of the tour and taken home either in the form of a photo or on other souvenirs.
The entrance fee is HK $ 160 as an adult.
The Peak Galleria and a picture book stroll
Across the Peak Tower is the Peak Galleria, a tourist-focused shopping mall with three floors of shops and restaurants to suit all budgets. The most famous restaurant is the Café Decó Bar & Grill, which also has a wonderful view of the city. However, a reservation is recommended here. Victoria Peak’s bus and taxi stops are located in the basement of the building.
However, if you prefer to explore the »Peak« outside, you can do so on a very scenic circular route. In the approximately 50 minutes required for this, another Hong Kong in all its facets reveals itself again and again: the sea of houses of Victoria, the busy Victoria Harbor, the Kowloon Peninsula behind it, to the mountain range bordering the New Territories – later you’ll look up the open sea and the many small islands.
The tour then concludes with a view of the south of Hong Kong Island, where in Aberdeen you can admire the “floating restaurants” and boats of the junks town. The starting point of the hiking tour is to the right of the exit of the Peak Tower on Lugard Road; the walk is easy to master even without a navigation device.
In the meantime, we have thoroughly enjoyed the view and overview of Hong Kong’s 24th largest mountain and are thinking about how to get back down from Victoria Peak: Would you prefer to walk or take the Peak Tram again? The trail leads through lush greenery on the Old Peak Road to the Zoological and Botanical Garden, but it is also very steep and sometimes the hour hand turns more than one lap on the clock.
In Hong Kong, every clock ticks faster than usual, so we finally decide to get on the Peak Tram. Next, we want to take a treetop walk – and that can only be done in the famous Hong Kong Park.
Photos: Silke Oettel
Mix-up comedy, 1992
approx. 100 mins. (DVD)*
Locations: Shek Wan (Tsing Yi Island), former airport Kai Tak, Jardine House, The Regent Hong Kong
Right at the beginning of the film, a reference is made to the Hong Kong Director’s Guild. It was founded in 1989 “to give life, hope, joy and inspiration to humanity through the medium of film” (source: www.hkfdg.com). Jackie has been a member since its inception and has been Honorary President alongside Ng See-yuen since 1996.
The karaoke bar at the beginning of the film is located in the so-called Jardine House (former Connaught Center), an office building in Central. It was opened in 1973; it is 178.5 m high with a total of 52 floors.
The scene in the café with both Jackies, Maggie Cheung and Nina Li Chi was filmed in the former Hotel The Regent Hong Kong (now Hotel International). From the window in the background you can see the Avenue of Stars.
Nina Li Chi is Miss Asia 1986 and made her last film appearance here. The beautiful Shanghai Chinese woman has been married to Jet Li since 1999 and they have two daughters together.
The scenes in the hotel lobby were actually filmed at Hotel Nikko Hong Kong, which is located in Tsim Sha Tsui. Its location is ideal: It takes only four minutes to get to the MTR, six minutes to the Star Ferry and 45 minutes to the airport. The hotel has 463 guest rooms including 18 suites, many of which guarantee a view of the harbor. Special features: babysitting and “Doctor on Call” service.
Photo: Scene from “Twin Dragons” – copyright 1992 by Golden Way Films & Hong Kong Film Directors Guild
Hong Kong, my love – A special travel guide
In the footsteps of Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong films, this travel guide not only covers the city’s well-known sights, but also visits old film sets and provides insider information for tourists.
Release date: Oct. 27th, 2009
ISBN: 978-3-86858-255-0, 232 pages, paperback