When I first visited Hong Kong back in 2012, I was taken away by the usual sights and wonders the city had to offer. I did the usual touristy things which were: HK Disneyland, Victoria Peak, and Ocean Park. The trip was very memorable and thankfully 4 years after visiting Hong Kong I am back, this time for work and a little for vacation. Before this trip happened I decided to plan out places I would like to visit, the ones I had been to I decided not to visit it. This time I would visit museums on the history of Hong Kong. One of the museums I really wanted to visit was the Museum of Coastal Defence.
Arriving in the museum after a long walk from Shau Kei Wan MTR (take exit B2) a tall, imposing, granite structure greeted me. From the looks of it, the museum was Hong Kong’s version of Corregidor and this got my history/museum bone tingling.
The first thing I noticed was how the museum was unlike most museums, usually there would be a building where visitors enter and view the artifacts. Coastal Defense was different since we had to go up an elevator and exit at the peak of Lei Yu Mun. At the peak I was entertained by the sweeping landscape and seascape, the bay opened up for visitors to see and enjoy, the air was fresh and there were gulls floating and landing here and there. Canons, range finders, and powder rooms were located at strategic points along a path leading to the museum.
At this point I was really excited to see the exhibits inside the museum, I want to learn more about how Hong Kong built up its coastal defense. But before I could really get into the whole museum exploration, the loudspeaker announces that the museum will be closing in 15 minutes. Panicking I decided to do a really lite and quick tour of the museum.
Inside the museum, a large airy atrium greets visitors as they go from one room to another. Each room chronicles the defense of Hong Kong from the 18th century to the 20th century. Since the museum would be closing in 15 minutes, I didn’t have a lot of time going around most of the exhibits.
I decided that the best way to learn about this part of Hong Kong culture was to learn about World War II. I made the right choice choosing this part of the museum’s exhibit, it was the largest and the longest one in the entire museum complex. Three whole rooms devoted to the preparation, defense, occupation, invasion, and surrender of Hong Kong during World War II.
Each exhibit room was rich in information, the walls were adorned with timelines and in the center of each room: artifacts and interactive displays. The artifacts were really rich: diaries, letters, medals, uniforms were all perfectly preserved and the interactive parts of the museum were working (sorry I am bring in museum experience from the Philippines). What I loved the most were audio recordings of people living during that time, it made the experience more personal and meaningful.
Despite my relatively short trip to the Museum of Coastal Defense, I enjoyed the fresh air and the beautiful mountain and harbor views it had to offer. Maybe when I visit Hong Kong next time, I’ll devote more time to this museum.
The Museum of Coastal Defense is located at 175 Tung Hei Road. Shay Kei Wan, Hong Kong (take the MTr blue line all the way to Shau Kei Wan station and exit at D1).
Admission to the museum costs HK$10 but there will be free admission days (I was lucky that last Friday it was)