Behind Choi Hung Estate’s Instagram Craze

Hong Kong is widely known as one of the world’s most photogenic locations, with enchanting seas of neon lights and spectacular harbor views along the side of skyscrapers all within one of the world’s most iconic concrete jungles. In recent years, photo-sharing platforms such as Instagram have experienced a surge in popularity, causing enticing photography spots all around Hong Kong to undergo a tremendous growth in the number of visitors. Unfortunately, this has not been well-received by some Hong Kong residents, especially those who live in or near such places.

Sitting atop a two-story parking lot, the basketball courts at Choi Hung Estate are no exception to this phenomenon.

Choi Hung Estate is most famous for its exterior walls, which contain colors that encompass the entire rainbow palette. It is featured on many websites as the top Instagram hotspot in Hong Kong. Countless visitors from across the globe specifically come to this location simply to snap a photo with the photogenic, vibrant exterior walls.

The “rainbow wall” in Choi Hung estate. (Photo: Aegean Young

“We were searching for Instagram-worthy spots in Hong Kong online, and this place came up in every list”, says Phoebe Huang, a Taiwanese university student on vacation. What’s more, the estate has become so popular in recent years that the Hong Kong Tourism Board has begun to include it as a part of their guided tours. “The colors are so pretty, and I’ve seen it all over Instagram”, adds Hung.

Spread out across the space of three basketball courts and the surrounding area, girls pose with selfie sticks, couples take wedding pictures, and even professional-looking photographers set up their cameras to record time-lapse shots.

However, it has evoked a strong response from the residents of the estate and people who frequent the basketball courts.

   Tam waits for an opening in the basketball courts to play basketball. (Photo: Aegean Young)

Tam Chun-yi, a local high school student who frequents the Choi Hung basketball courts, finds the increasing number of visitors to be a nuisance.

“I come here every other day and there are always people here. It’s even worse on weekends”, says Tam. “Some days, I’ve had to wait up to an hour for the long queues of people to finish taking their photos before I can get a basket to shoot. Even if I get to play, I’m always worried the ball might hit their tripod or camera”.

Others in the neighborhood also share similar sentiments as Tam. An elderly lady, who prefers to be identified only by the name Chan, walks around the basketball courts every afternoon to get some sunlight and outdoor exercise.

“We’ve always had visitors, but never like this many. There have been more and more people coming over the past couple of years” said Chan.

           Chan takes a stroll by the side of the basketball courts. (Photo: Aegean Young)

Chan also highlights that many of her neighbors have complained that they are uncomfortable to draw up their blinds as they fear that photographers will capture shots of them and invade their privacy.

Photographers and their subjects change poses, angles, and backgrounds for an extended period of time.(Photo: Aegean Young)

A quick walk through the midst of the myriad of photographers reveals a strong negativity expressed by the basketball players and other occupants. They tell photographers to hurry up and to not stand in places where the ball might bounce and hit their equipment.

As a result of this relatively recent phenomenon, other residents in similar situations throughout Hong Kong like those who live in the ‘Monster Building’ in Quarry Bay have led their complexes to take measures.

The complex, equally famous for its photographic potential, also having appeared in a recent Transformers movie, has recently banned photographers and visitors from taking pictures in the complex without first obtaining prior permission and has put up posters and signs about the ban around the estate.

Whether other complexes like Choi Hung Estate will take similar measures remains uncertain, but many residents are more hopeful now.


Editor: Mayuri

Reporter: Aegean Young

Copy editor: Seungyeon Choi

Content manager: Sarah Wong



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