Yik Fat - Transformer's "Monster Building"
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Hong Kong is easily known as Asia's most densely concrete jungle with over 7.4 million people. There is a lot of excitement with this city, but at the same time it calls for small apartments and very cramped architectural designs. To us, Hong Kong felt very similar to New York City where we are from with its abundance of skyscrapers and people bustling along the streets.
The only shocking difference is that the apartments are even smaller than in New York City...and that's saying something!
Calling Hong Kong apartments “compact” is an understatement. In Hong Kong, the average person has a mere 161 square feet to themselves. Compare this to 832 in the US, 960 in Australia, 587 in Germany, 379 in Japan and 356 in the UK. The average new home in Hong Kong is 484 square feet, compared to 2,164 in the US, 1,023 in Japan and 818 in the UK." Read more on the challenges of Hong Kong Architects at medium.com.
The Monster Building is one complex of apartment buildings located in Quarry Bay. Quarry Bay is one of the more densely packed areas in all of Hong Kong. The complex consists of 5 different buildings in the shape of a E. It has been featured in many films over the years, but the most recent and popular was Transformers: Age of Extinction.
How to Get There
During our stay we were located near Kowloon Station so it was very easy for us to hop on the subway to arrive at the Yick Fat Building. Take the subway line closest to you and connect to the lines that will let you transfer to Quarry Bay MRT stop. You will walk out of exit A as a more convenient/closer exit from the MRT station. From there it is less than a 5 minute walk to the Yick Fat Building. Our google maps directions seemed a little confusing so below is an exact location of where to find the Yick Fat Building.
You will pass a 7/11 on the left hand side and see the meat butchers who will be on your right of the entrance and walk up the stairs. Go through the dimly lit hallway and walk to the courtyard. Looking up you will be greeted with the breath taking sight!
Know Before You Go
The typical picture would be where people would climb on top of the green platforms located in the center of the Yick Fat Building. The platforms were raised which allowed for an upwards view of the buildings behind you if the picture is taken from the ground. However, due to over tourism and disruption to the local residents in this area, the green platforms are now caged up. There are also signs posted throughout the Yick Fat building that says it is now prohibited to take photos/videos/or drone usage on the platforms. It is to our assumption that tourists were getting out of hand and not respecting the residents and workers in the area which led to police being informed. Do not be one of those rowdy tourists... no one likes them.
Fortunately, we didn't experience any problems with police or security, and there were a handful of tourists there taking pictures. The locals seemed unbothered and barely acknowledging that we were there. This is a complex with coffee shops, markets, and apartments being lived in. Be respectful of the workers and residents. Keep your noise to a minimum, quickly take your picture and a moment of silence at the scale of the architecture then make a move on to other places like Choi Estate.
Tip: With the green platforms being barricaded you can still get the "ground up" picture if you walk all the way to the back by the staircase leading down. Set your tripod at the bottom and climb back up the stairs for a good pose!
What Time to Go
If you are just going for a simple picture or to see it for yourself you can basically come any time while the sun is up. If you are looking to get the best picture for your IG we recommend coming before midday or after 4 pm when the sun is starting to set. This is because before that the sun will be shining directly on to the back wall of the building. With the camera we have it left the back wall over exposed so we waited until closer to 4 for the shade to set in instead.
Tip: Arrived too soon? Sun is over exposing your photo? Grab a coffee at Arabica!
Arabica is a coffee shop located within the Yick Fat complex at the bottom next to the photo spot. The Iced Spanish Latte is one of the best coffees I have had my entire trip! It isn't cheap by any means, but if you are looking for a nice coffee to pass the time this is the place for you.
This area/photo op is surrounded by residential homes and apartment complexes. We received a few stares and lingering curiosity without even being an openly lesbian couple. If you go here and want to avoid any conflict we recommend not being too flashy as it is typically an older generation who lives here.