Choi Hung Estate, Hong Kong

The Colors of Hong Kong

Bright and colorful, Hong Kong has never failed to impress first-time visitors. They are often overwhelmed by the rainbow of colors seen in the brightly lit shop fronts, in the delicious food, and on the dazzling skyline. Some would say that this mixture of colors characterizes Hong Kong as the melting pot of culture. And each color represents an aspect of the bustling life that thrives amid towering buildings.

If you ask me what color comes to mind when thinking of Hong Kong. “Rainbow” would be my answer. Though natural rainbows are rarely seen arching across the sky, the city is compensated with the vibrancy seen in countless man-made bursts of color. From the vivid red of the urban taxi to the violet hue of the night sky, nearly all spectrums of the rainbow can be found in the “Fragrant Harbour”.

Choi Hung Estate – One of the most colorful spots in Hong Kong
Bustling street at night

1. Red – The Energy of Hong Kong

Of all colors in Hong Kong, red is probably the most stand-out. Like a flame burning in the night, it effortlessly bursts through the grey concrete jungle, bringing energy (and movement) to one of Asia’s busiest harbors.

From the omnipresent city taxis and the double-decker buses to the cloth lanterns in every single temple, you have to actively try to not see red everywhere you go.

2. Orange & Yellow – The Cuisine

While the color red may catch your sight, orange and yellow are the ones that will make you drool. These colors represent the city’s vibrant food scene: high-quality, inventive, and often well-hidden.

From the spicy crabs, the crispy roasted pork belly to the heavenly-tasted beef noodle, all the good food in Hong Kong is “brightened up” with either orange or yellow. The yellow color is also associated with the kitchen light – a place where the chefs create and master his/her dishes.


3. Green – The Recreation

Standing amid the urban jungle, you might think that green is a rare find in Hong Kong. But you will be amazed by how green the city actually is when standing on Victoria Peak or visiting one of the neighboring islands.

Forty percent of the territory’s surface is covered by green areas, bringing a lot of recreational opportunities to its citizens. Besides, the image of Hong Kong’s skyline cannot be complete without the mountainous landscape framing the city.

View of the city from Victoria Peak
Giant Buddha in Lantau Island

4. Blue – The History of Hong Kong

Despite the symbolic meaning of all the aforementioned colors, only the blue can reflect the history of the “Fragrant Harbour”. For centuries, the blue sea has been the life source of the city, providing it with wealth and prosperity. It turned a small fishing village on the Chinese eastern coast into one of Asia’s most important financial hubs. The sea also helped to shape Hong Kong’s identity as the meeting point of East and West by bringing different cultures together.

5. Violet – The Nightlife

For a restless city like Hong Kong, the sky has never really gone black. Instead, the city’s night sky is characterized by a violet hue created by countless neon signs. Vying for authority and brightness, these signs seemingly clash with each other as they extend over the streets.

Some say that these old advertising instruments are the cause of light pollution, and they should be regulated or even banned. Others want to preserve this chaos as a feature of Hong Kong because, for them, Hong Kong will never be the same without these eccentric neon signs.

The busy neon signs
Hong Kong skyline

19 thoughts on “The Colors of Hong Kong”

  1. I love it! Hong Kong really is a very colorful city.

  2. You back great memories Len. The one thing we missed was the Giant Buddha though. Always next time! 🙂

  3. Lignum Draco – ... A blog about nothing in particular, because "Candid photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get". Photography by "The Wood Dragon" since 2012.
    Lignum Draco says:

    Great post. Love the vibrancy of the city and the food. Someone told me they are planning to replace all the neon signs with LED. Do you know anything about that?

    1. I think the replacement is happening now. Not all, but many shops have already switched to LED panels. Based on my knowledge, the shopowners have 2 reasons to do so: 1) the energy cost for a LED is lower than a neon sign, 2) the neon lights is not in-trend anymore, so only a handful of neon tubes are still produced. And once the sign is defected, there is little chance to repair/replace.

  4. What an interesting post, Len. Hong Kong indeed looks colorful and vibrant. I love the last photo especially! Seems like I really need to put Hong Kong on my list of places to visit hehe.

  5. Sartenada – Hi. In my photo blog, I have big selection of photos from Finland; from the South to the North, from the East to the West. My blog deals all subjects of life including travelling, hobbies, customs, habits, oddities, towns, traditions, road trips, winter, snow, garden, biking, reindeers, handicrafts, lake cruses, DIY with instructions, sauna etc. Every post has a theme. Northern parts of Finland are near to my heart, which means much information about those areas. Blog in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese. Welcome / Bienvenido / Bienvenu / Bem vinda
    Sartenada says:

    What a wonderful post presenting it thru Your gorgeous photos. Thank You. We have not been there, but someday, who knows…

    1. I hope soon, before the city become too crowded 😉 I had a difficult time navigate around Kowloon, because there was too much people. Hong Kong Central is more relaxing, but still full of people. Again, thanks for your kind words!

  6. Len, your photos and the design of your post (blog in general) are gorgeous. Your colours inspiration is a creative and beautiful way of showcasing Hong Kong. I find it very impressive that such a large, chaotic city has so much green space.

    1. Same here 🙂 At first, I was overwhelmed (nearly suffocated) by the amount of skyscrappers in HK. But when I travelled further to Victoria Peak, and later to Lantau, I realised the island is really green.

  7. Alison and Don – Occupation: being/living/experiencing/travelling In our sixties, with apparently no other authentic option, my husband Don and I sold our apartment and car, sold or gave away all our stuff and set off to discover the world. And ourselves. We started in Italy in 2011 and from there have travelled to Spain, India, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia, South America, Egypt, Japan, etc. - you can see the blog archive. We travelled full-time for nearly six years, and then re-established a home in Vancouver. We now travel 2-3 months per year. We are interested in how the world works, how life works, how the creation of experience works, how the mind works. As we travel and both "choose" our course, and at the same time just let it unfold, we discover the "mechanics" of life, the astounding creativity of life, and a continual need to return to trust and presence. Opening the heart, and acceptance of what is, as it is, are keystones for us both. Interests: In no particular order: travel, photography, figure skating (as a fan), acceptance, authenticity, walking/hiking, joy, creativity, being human, adventure, presence, NOW. Same for Don except replace figure skating with Formula One motor racing.
    Alison and Don says:

    I so enjoyed this post, and of course your wonderful photographs. What a lovely, and original, way to approach Hong Kong – through all its colour. Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities.

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