Another magnificent destination in the West Kowloon Cultural District

The Quest for Originality: Contemporary Design and Traditional Craft in Dialogue
2/F south atrium stairway
Dawn to Dusk: Life in the Forbidden City, presenting the court life for emperors and empresses of the Qing dynasty
Dawn to Dusk: Life in the Forbidden City, presenting the court life for emperors and empresses of the Qing dynasty
Entering the Forbidden City: Architecture, Collection, and Heritage
Entering the Forbidden City: Architecture, Collection, and Heritage
Three-panel screen with pine tree, bamboo, plum blossom and orchid
The Quest for Originality: Contemporary Design and Traditional Craft in Dialogue
The Quest for Originality: Vase with spiral pattern, Qing dynasty
Scenery from 2/F viewing deck
Spectacular panoramic view
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As Hong Kong moves forward to a very changed world, the city is trying to return to the jewel it once was as the gateway to China and a top Asian tourism destination.

When the Hong Kong Palace Museum officially opened to the public it was timed to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China and the visit to the city of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Decades ago, there were a scant few public or private museums and galleries on offer to locals or visitors. When visitors came, you can bet that they did so for the shopping, the food, and the exotic appeal of the city’s blend of east meets west.

Now, with the West Kowloon vision almost fully realised, the arts and cultural hub with its varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums located alongside a two-kilometre waterfront promenade on Victoria Harbour are hosting world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events. This investment will certainly attract more tourism while fostering local creative talent.

The Hong Kong Palace Museum’s vision is to be fully dedicated to Chinese art and culture. Not only will they display items from the Palace Museum, in Beijing, but also relevant thematic artefacts from other museums.

The Palace Museum in Beijing was established in 1925, just after Emperor Puyi, China’s last emperor, was ousted from the Forbidden City, which had been the exclusive residence and palace of the Emperor of China from the Ming to the Qing dynasties (1420-1924). The vast collection of imperial treasures and household items left behind by the imperial family was audited and catalogued and numbered more than 1,860,000 items. These included all manner of antiquities (porcelains, furniture, textiles, ornaments), all sorts of artworks (paintings, calligraphy, gold statues and silver ornaments), and countless books and literary works.

This enormous collection offers a broad perspective of 5,000 years of Chinese history and specifically the life of those who had lived in the Forbidden City for hundreds of years.

Much of the collection is on display, in galleries and halls throughout the Forbidden City, which in its entirety is a sprawling museum open to the public.

Like many other world-class museums, the Palace Museum participates in exchanges and loans with others. This gives ample opportunities to give some of the inventory display time elsewhere. The exhibits at The Hong Kong Palace Museum will allow people around the world to see some of the imperial treasures outside of Beijing.

For its opening debut, The Hong Kong Palace Museum is featuring over 900 exquisite treasures, among the largest and finest selection of exhibits the Palace Museum has ever lent out. There are over 100 items on loan from other local museums, such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art, as well as several precious art objects from the Louvre Museum in Paris.

There are nine galleries, each displaying items following different curatorial and thematic narratives.

The floor plans are simple, and there are escalators connecting each level, making all the galleries readily accessible and easy to find.

There is a gorgeous spacious second floor south atrium stairway that invites rest on one of its terraces – a beautiful place to soak in and savour the opulent space and scenic view, and it is a treat to walk down the grand stairway to level two.

There is a lot to see in one building and certainly, it would be best to review and enjoy all the exhibitions over a few days instead of just one.

The museum’s architecture and interior space on its own was a delight to see, and my favourite spot was found on the fourth floor where there is a viewing deck offering a spectacular panoramic view of western Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island and Kowloon. At the end of my visit, I raced back to this viewing deck several times as the sun set and was rewarded with amazing colours and hues as the evening came.

Another reason, among many, is that this is the new must-visit destination in Hong Kong.