Sai Ying Pun: Neighbourhood Guide - Hong Kong's Old Military Camp

Hong Kong Apr 05, 2021

Sai Ying Pun, which literally translates into “West Camp” in Cantonese, used to be the British military camp back in the 1880s. Today, the neighbourhood portrays a perfect mix between modern and traditional, with High Street bustling with Western restaurants while conventional Chinese dried seafood stores still exist along Des Voeux Road.

Getting to Know Sai Ying Pun

During the colonial period, the streets of Sai Ying Pun were among the first to be developed in Hong Kong namely, First Street, Second Street, Third Street, and High Street, all of which are connected by Eastern Street, Centre Street, and Western Street, forming organised rectangular blocks.

Only 2 MTR stops away from Central station, Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood today offers a similar kind of convenience to Sheung Wan district for those working in CBD. As one of Hong Kong's oldest neighbourhoods, the recent arrival of the MTR and Centre Street escalators, much like the Central-Mid-Levels escalators, have breathed new life into the area in the past few years. This, together with the affordable rental rates make Sai Ying Pun an increasing popular neighbourhood to live in for locals and expats alike.

Top 5 Places to Eat and Drink in Sai Ying Pun

Must Eat

1. Okra Kitchen
This cozy izakaya style restaurant serves fresh sashimi, charcoal grilled small plates and amazing craft sakes. If you are a fan of omakase, head upstairs to Okra Bar. With only 8 seats in the house, you are guaranteed an intimate omakase experience! Due to limited seats, reservation is highly recommended.

Website | 110 Queen's Road West, Sai Ying Pun

2. Locofama

Locofama is all about elevating the health of the community through deliciously prepared organic meals. By partnering with local farmers, the restaurant can source fresh seasonal ingredients that are free of chemicals. No matter which diet you adopt, be it vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, or gluten-free, Locofama has something for everyone. It's also one of the many pet-friendly cafes in Hong Kong!

Website | 9-13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun

3. Thai on High
Renowned as one of the best Thai restaurants on Hong Kong island, Thai on High is operated by local Thai staff, serving authentic Thai food. With many restaurants frequently emerging and disappearing on High Street over the years, Thai on High has passed the test of time with its quality for over half a decade!

Website | 39-41 High Street, Sai Ying Pun

4. Homeslice

It is always a blessing to have a great pizzaria in your neighbourhood to satisfy that late night pizza craving or to serve at your last minute house gathering. If you live in Sai Ying Pun and like Neapolitan-style pizzas conveniently located just under 5 minutes walk from Sai Ying Pun B3 exit, Homeslice is your spot!

Website | 321 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun

5. La Paloma

Dishes at La Paloma are inspired by Spanish and Basque Country cuisine. Their paellas are authentic as can be because they are made with customised stove sent from Spain! The upbeat and friendly atmosphere together with the various sharing platter options make La Paloma the ideal venue to enjoy with your best friends.

Website | 189 Queen's Road West, Sai Ying Pun

Must Drink

1. French Flair
As the name suggests, French Flair is your neighbourhood French wine shop, offering wine selections which are imported from rare and exclusive vineyards at prices that you can swallow. For those who want to learn more about French wine, don't forget to watch out for their private wine tasting events!

Website | 69 High Street, Sai Ying Pun

2. Potato Head

Bringing the Bali vibes to Hong Kong since 2016, Potato Head's Eksotika Bar is the best spot to relive your tropical dreams while sipping cocktails with ingredients like pineapple, sugarcane, and coconut. While you're there, check out their Music Room to experience the vintage sound system that will surely mellow you out!

Website | 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun

3. Winston Coffee
Don't be fooled by the term "coffee" on their signboard, because as the day turns into night, Winston's baristas transform into a bartenders serving everything from craft beers, wine, to their famous cocktail, Espresso Martini. Bonus! This is also another pet-friendly establishment, so feel free to bring your four-legged friends along with you!

Website | 213 Queens Road West, Sai Ying Pun

4. Bar Tomoko
Friendly vibes, an endless drink menu and a beer pong table, Bar Tomoko will give you an experience that will bring you back to your teenage years. Not to mention they have an arcade machine with over 400 games, including the classics like Street Fighter, Ms Pac Man, and Contra!

Website | 5 First Street, Sai Ying Pun

5. Ping Pong Gintoneria

What used to be an old ping pong parlour located in a dark alley, Ping Pong Gintoneria today has transformed into a chic speakeasy specialising in Spanish-style gins and tonics. The bar is not to be missed by all gin lovers, and if you are feeling lost, just look out for their iconic mysterious red door!

Website | 129 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun

Top 3 Things to See and Do in Sai Ying Pun

Must See

1. Sai Ying Pun Community Complex
Constructed since 1892, this colonial building was originally a foreign nurse quarter until WWII. After the war, it was converted into a mental hospital and was abandoned between the 70s-90s before the government decided to turn it into a community centre. The building's beauty and mysterious history has attracted both curious locals and tourists to visit each year.

Website | 2 High Street, Sai Ying Pun

2. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park
This waterfront park is rich with history. The park was named after Dr. Sun Yat Sen, who was exiled from Hong Kong by the British colonial government for leading the Chinese Revolution. Thus, before land reclamation, this park used to be the spot out at sea where Dr. Sun would meet his friends and supporters abroad a boat. Today, the park serves as a perfect venue for a picnic and exercise.

Website | 16 Eastern Street North, Sai Ying Pun

3. ArtLane

Take exit B3 at Sai Ying Pun station and you will be steps away from the colourful staircase into ArtLane where buildings walls of Ki Ling Lane and Chung Ching Street are turned into canvas for murals done by both local and international artists. If you are looking for an Instagramable spot, this is definitely the best spot for street arts in the neighbourhood!

Website | Chung Ching Street, Sai Ying Pun

Artlane is a nice little space in Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong island. It has really cool murals done by various artists.
Photo by Pop & Zebra / Unsplash

Must Do

1. LiveZero
The world would be a much better place if everyone strives to reduce their carbon footprints. However, it is not always easy when you don't have the right tools and ecosystem to break your bad habits and live more sustainably. Luckily for those living in Sai Ying Pun, LiveZero, Hong Kong's first zero waste store, is right at their doorsteps.

Website | 24 High Street, Sai Ying Pun

2. Sai Ying Pun Market

Open from 6am to 8pm, Sai Ying Pun marketing is the place to go for fresh food shopping. From vegetables and fruits to seafood, you can rely on this local market to provide the freshest ingredients daily for the neighbourhood.

Website | 44 and 45 Centre Street, Sai Ying Pun

Early morning scene at a market in Hong Kong. This particular stall was selling seafood - it was interesting to see as this was in an alley that is close to tall buildings and housing area. So there were also a lot of people heading to work.
Photo by Adli Wahid / Unsplash

3. Thorn & Burrow

If home decoration is your passion, Thorn & Burrow is a place that you must stop by. This homeware and lifestyle store sells everything from candles and kitchenware to paint. Our favourite products are those Hong Kong inspired homeware items. Imagine plates and mugs with dumplings, Chinese tea pots, and luck cat prints on them!

Website | 1/F, 30 High Street, Sai Ying Pun

Itching to move to Sai Ying Pun? Choose from over 10 locations of either private rooms or full apartments in Sai Ying Pun. Plus, some of our homes are pet-friendly too!


Nontawan Kraitat

Senior Sales Manager at Hmlet. Thailand born, Hong Kong based. As a team we strive to give our members the most memorable coliving experience and change the way people live!