This picture taken on January 20, 2019 shows a woman posing for a photo at a popular Instagram spot in Hong Kong.
AFP/Isaac Lawrence
WATCH: Tourists flock to Hong Kong's Instagram hotspots
Elaine Yu (Agence France-Presse) - February 17, 2019 - 12:46pm

HONG KONG, China — For smartphone-wielding hordes of tourists, Hong Kong boasts a host of must-have Instagram locations -- but crowds of snap-happy travellers are testing local patience and transforming once quaint pockets of the bustling metropolis.

The buildings in Hong Kong's Quarry Bay are one of the city's best known residential complexes, famed for tightly-knit apartments towering above three sides of a thin courtyard.

But in recent years, daily throngs of tourists have relegated the card players to a dark corner of the courtyard.

While the building had long been a draw for street photographers and architecture enthusiasts, social media has helped turn it into a mass tourist attraction, fuelled by it featuring as a location in a recent "Transformers" blockbuster and the remake of the Japanese manga classic "Ghost in the Shell".

A sign warning against shooting photos and disturbing residents has done little to deter the chic travellers who usually form an orderly line to wait for a coveted spot in the middle of symmetrical blocks.

Other Instagram hotspots have proven more chaotic.

A mural by local graffiti artist Alex Croft featuring rows of tenement houses draws a constant stream of tourists to the steeply sloping Graham Street in downtown Central district.

Taxis and cars honk restlessly as the tourists -- primarily from mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan but also western nations -- spill into the road to get their ideal frame seemingly oblivious to the safety issues. 

For some shops, this heavy foot traffic brings new business: there are queues outside a famous egg tart store and a dumpling house nearby, as snappers stop to refuel.

But Toby Cooper who runs popular pub The Globe which sits directly opposite the mural, says the sheer number of people loitering on the road is a safety issue.

Critics say the crowds help romanticise poverty sharing images that provide only a shallow view of what it is to live in the one of the world's most unaffordable property markets.

Across the harbour tourists and some locals have taken over the basketball courts surrounded by the now iconic rainbow-coloured housing estate in the Choi Hung district, which means rainbow in Cantonese.

It is where Korean boy band Seventeen shot a music video and is now being promoted by the government's tourism bureau.

 

HONG KONG ROAD SAFETY TOURISM TOURISTS
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