3 things you didn't know about Hong Kong's feng shui

Hong Kong has an outstanding and recognisable city skyline. Within its glittering modern skyscrapers lies an ancient art practised for centuries - feng shui.

Literally translated as "wind and water", feng shui is a Chinese ancient philosophy that follows the principle of harmonising people with the surrounding environment and nature, including mountains, seas and skies.

Feng shui is deeply rooted in the Hong Kong culture when it comes to embarking on large projects or businesses. It may not seem apparent, but many buildings have been strategically designed or positioned to ensure that there is positive energy flow or 'qi'.

The planning that goes behind the architectural designs of the buildings in Hong Kong is determined not just by architects and engineers, but also by feng shui masters, or geomancers, too.

We went on one of the most underrated tourist trails in Hong Kong to uncover the mystery behind the country's feng shui landmarks and the secrets behind why Hong Kong and companies there are so prosperous.

1. Lung Cheung Road lookout aka "Dragon's Den"

Lung Cheung Road Lookout(龍翔道觀景台), Kowloon

Because of Hong Kong's excellent geographical position - with the various mountain ranges from southern China that are considered to be the pulses of a moving dragon that flow into Hong Kong, to the mountains of Kowloon that appear to bow to Hong Kong Island which seeks for protection, and last of all, the water of Victoria Harbour that harmonises with the skies that brings prosperity and stability - it's no wonder Hong Kong has good feng shui to begin with.

Here at Lung Cheung Road look out in Kowloon, this is where you can experience the highest concentration of the dragon's energy that is believed to have created Hong Kong's prosperity.

2. Feng shui in the financial district

Bank of China Tower (top left) and Cheung Kong Center (right). Photo: Eunice Lim

The art of feng shui is a serious business in Hong Kong. Many believe that good feng shui can attract prosperity and ward off bad luck. Even prominent architectural and building firms consult feng shui experts when designing a building in Hong Kong.

In the heart of the financial district, the Bank of China Tower is one of the most eye-catching skyscrapers in Central, Hong Kong since 1990.

Designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect, I. M. Pei, who ignored good feng shui at his own perils, this financial building has been heavily criticised for its harsh, knife-edged corners, which is believed to represent attacks on the good fortune of nearby neighbours.

Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. Photo: Eunice Lim

One of the many victims of Bank of China Tower's bad feng shui was the former Bond Centre (now known as Lippo Centre). Shortly after the Bank of China Tower was constructed, the former owner of Bond Centre experienced a huge financial crisis, which forced him to sell the building.

Lippo Centre in Hong Kong, one of the victims of Bank of China’s bad feng shui. Photo: The Straits Times

To avoid such bad luck, HSBC Building created two "cannons" at the top of its building in the direction of Bank of China Tower. This is a classic feng shui technique that can help to deflect negative energy.

HSBC Building and the two “cannons”. Photo: Eunice Lim
HSBC Building and the two “cannons”. Photo: Eunice Lim

A few years later, in the 90s, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing bought the land that was once occupied by Hilton Hotel to construct Cheung Kong Center. This building is caught right in the middle of Bank of China Tower and HSBC Building.

From left: Bank of China tower, Cheung Kong Center, and HSBC Building. Photo: Eunice Lim

In order to avoid the "knife" and "cannon", feng shui experts were consulted to help his architect design the building in a square shape to resist negative energy, as much as to maximise the space efficiency for business.

We can't go wrong with Hong Kong's richest man's belief in good feng shui for good fortune, can we?

Inside HSBC Building

In feng shui, any financial building needs to trap the moving "qi" in order to keep and protect the wealth. However, when you look at the ground level of HSBC building, you can see that the building has a huge gap, which seems to allow energy to pass through directly.

Inside the HSBC Building.Photo: Eunice Lim

You can feel gusts of wind when you stand at the entrance or exit of HSBC Building. Once you step inside the building, you'll experience stillness in the air, which is in line with the principle of feng shui - to trap wealth. This clever design demonstrates that feng shui can be incorporated ingeniously into every day life without anyone realising. You need to be there to experience it for yourself.

3. Central Government Complex (Headquarters of the Hong Kong Government) and its "open door" concept

The Central Government Complex, which is the headquarters of the Hong Kong government, used to be located in Central at Hong Kong Island, occupying the lower level of Government Hill.

Since 2011, the headquarters shifted to a new location at Tamar, a 4.2-hectare site on reclaimed land at the harbourfront of Central.

The building is designed with the "open door" concept, indicating that the government opens its door to welcome new ideas and is receptive to its people.

The “open door” concept indicates that the government opens its door to welcome new ideas and is receptive to its people. Photo: Eunice Lim
The rounded building at the side of Central Government Complex. Photo: Eunice Lim

Whether you're a feng shui buff or noob, this trail is one of the best kept secrets in Hong Kong. Learn about more unknown stories behind Hong Kong's feng shui with this Feng Shui Tour organised by Discover Hong Kong.

For more information, please visit discoverhongkong.com

This article was sponsored by Hong Kong Tourism Board.