Early Hong Kong travel in pictures, guide books and Louis Vuitton trunks

Early Hong Kong travel in pictures, guide books and Louis Vuitton trunks

An exhibition at the University Museum and Art Gallery spotlights Hong Kong tourism at the turn of the last century
Early Hong Kong Travel
Benjamin Yim, avid historical armchair traveler.

What did tourists do in Hong Kong 100 years ago? The Avenue of Stars certainly didn't exist then. 

This is the subject of the current exhibition "Early Hong Kong Travel (1880-1939)" which showcases more than 100 exhibits at the University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery.

Louis Vuitton and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited have contributed to the exhibition and LV's vintage monogrammed trunks are a big draw.

But the museum's honorary advisor Benjamin W. Yim, who has loaned much of his own collection of Hong Kong tourism historical artifacts to the exhibit, hopes that visitors will enjoy the show in its entirety.

"This exhibition can give everyone a perspective of Hong Kong history," says Yim.

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According to the museum, travel during the late 19th century was generally associated with trade or specialized exploration. But gradually, transportation became more efficient and travel became a more accessible activity.

Journeys for pleasure became possible and tourism in Hong Kong, by those who could afford it, began in earnest. 

Featured at the exhibit are more than 100 vintage menus, cabin trunks, postcards, photographs, luggage labels, travel guides, brochures and trivia related to travel in Hong Kong in the 1900s.

It is a comprehensive look at what impressions Hong Kong gave visitors from Europe and America.

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Who knew that the Hong Kong fire station and cemetery were part of any self-respecting tourist's must-see list? Or that the Peninsula Hotel hosted a special group of visitors before it even opened in 1928?

A room at the museum shows vintage family photos of leisure travelers in Hong Kong. Each image is a time capsule of the travel industry as well as the city.

A display of travel guides includes one written by Ellen Kolban 90 years ago, made with a high level of craftsmanship that seems foreign in our era of TripAdvisor.

Yim's favorite exhibit is of luggage tags from the Repulse Bay Hotel which closed down in 1982. 

"These are one of the earliest items in my collection. I am sentimental about the Repulse Bay Hotel -- I sort of grew up with that place," says Yim. He chose the tags for the exhibition's poster design.



Sweeney 為酒店於1928年畫的一系列宣傳作品,你又知否香港山頂從前有間大酒店呢?


Early Hong Kong travel (1880-1939): The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, Benjamin W. Yim and Louis Vuitton Collections

Until November 27

Open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday 1p.m. - 6 p.m. Closed on university holidays and public holidays.

University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery, 90 Bonham Road, +852 2241 5500 www0.hku.hk

Hiufu Wong is CNN Travel's staff writer.

Read more about Maggie Hiufu Wong

After traveling around the world on a fistful of dollars, Zoe returns to Hong Kong, where she grew up, to discover and write about all the inspiring stuff that happens here on a daily basis.

Read more about Zoe Li