Tips on Tops: 6 Roof-Tops to Discover in HKU

March 19, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

I have an avid-reader of a friend who decided to do something I deem incredibly cool during her second semester as a freshman at HKU. She’s been on a mission to find different rooftops on campus to read her novels! Our university campus is honestly a maze (take a look at that map) and just like any other freshman, you’re most likely going to experience about a month of getting lost before you begin finding your way around. It’s like organised chaos that once you become familiar with makes lovely sense. Read on to better acquaint yourself with the ins and outs of our campus!




Where is it? 11th Floor, Music Department, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus

Overlooking the entirety of Centennial Campus is the 11th floor terrace in Run Run Shaw Tower. Although reasonably segregated by the foliage enclosure, this spot still feels “open” with the sweeping sky above. I’m not saying it’s 100% acceptable for you to be here but it’s definitely accessible. Adhere to the opening and closing timings of the glass doors leading outside on the 8th floor and from there walk up the few flights of stairs to the 11th.



Where is it? 10th Floor, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus

Humble, grey and utilitarian are the exact words I’d use to characterize this balcony. I see how this paints a rather bleak picture, but I feel like I’d best be able to focus in someplace like this if my intention was to get some hardcore work done. It’s private with proper stone seating that lines the ledge.



Where is it? 11th Floor, Social Sciences Department, Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus

I would definitely not recommend this as a hangout spot only because it’s not allowed. Although, I strongly believe HKU-ers should be hosting some rooftop parties when we have spaces as expansive as this.

This rooftop is located above the top-most floor of Jockey Club Tower. Walk out of the fire exit and up a few stairs to be greeted by a sight of windmills, machinery, and white noise accompanying it all. The space is big and industrial in its feel but is perfect for a quick breather or a rooftop snap of the panoramic view.


Where is it? 8th Floor, Meng Wah Complex

Moving towards the Main Campus, we have Meng Wah Complex with the 8th floor divided into two distinct sections.


From the elevator lobby, to the right is the Education Library – a quiet, serene and safe space for students who choose to take refuge here. It has the usual facilities a library offers, but the rooftop in question isn’t within these walls. Head straight through the library, turn left and then walk through the double doors out into the open air. The library is rather small so you will neither get lost nor miss this door, hopefully.

 This space is small but with an abundance of vegetation to satisfy your inner tree hugger. Bring a book and a sandwich (or two, or three – no judging) and enjoy the calm that this area offers.


On the other hand of the entrance on the 8th floor are several doors that upon passing through will lead you to an open space. Drink in the view from here while you similarly enjoy that well-earned sugar-laden beverage. Come here to unwind after giving that test you’d been dreading and bring your friends along with you as there is ample space to sit – nobody should be alone after a bad exam!



Where is it? Runme Shaw Building

1.     Walk to the 4th floor (yes, it’s four floors of physical exercise) of Runme Shaw Building

2.     Turn left through the doors near the restrooms

3.     Walk down the corridor

4.     Go through the door on the right immediately after the women’s restroom

5.     Ascend the stairs

6.     There is a door to the right, ignore that.

7.     Straight ahead is a sign saying ‘Rooftop Farming’ and to its right is a doorway leading to Runme Shaw’s open rooftop.

As the sign forewarns, this rooftop is used for farming with little pots dotting most of the surface. The terrace isn’t as high as Meng Wah so don’t expect a similar quality view, but this rooftop has a spirit of its own to enjoy. Convenience in accessibility is a plus, unlike some of the other locations. Bring your lunch and enjoy the quiet among the young plants while you contemplate that math problem, or your love triangle, or both.



Where is it? 2nd Floor, Main Building

More likely than not, you’ve already been here if you frequent the Main Building. This open, bench-laden space offers tired souls, a chance to take a break from their hectic routine and others a place to relax before their next class. Regardless of what your motive may be, the veranda is situated in the heart of the Main Building; you will definitely find yourself marveling over everything historic around you, from the form of the structure to the carvings in the frames.


I like to think of the building as being adorned with subtle embroidery. I also like to wonder about the many generations of HKU students that have strolled through these very halls. The sound of the fountain from just beneath this space should help you detach from the fast paced life Hong Kong has made us all accustomed to. So savor the moment and recharge for the rest of the day; or do the opposite and just lose yourself in contemplation of pertinent questions. What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? Am I late for my tutorial!?



GARDEN HIDE-OUT #1: Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Center 


Where is it? Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Center

For the nature buffs reading this, this is proper heaven on earth for you.

1.     Go up the road behind, or from the right of, the Graduate House.

2.     Ascend the staircase to your right

3.     Choose to switch staircases when you see another one on your way and continue going up the hill


The building that will stand before you is the Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre. You can understand the nature of this facility by its name (pun intended). Focus hard to discern the stone bench and sit there if you’d like a calming, somewhat obstructed-by-trees view of HKU. When the chaos on University Street begins making its way into your thoughts, run out to this secret spot. The region is home to a variety of flora and insect-life, so grab this opportunity to master the abilities of your DSLR and up your insta feed.

Word of Warning: It’s a rather long way out from some of the other buildings on campus and a visit might not be viable if you’re short on time, or breath.

GARDEN HIDE-OUT #2: Centennial Gardens


Where is it? 2nd Floor, Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus

This is unarguably one of the most striking spots with killer views and lush greenery. Although the gardens are quite public, the large size allows for enough privacy while not being isolating. It’s the perfect combination. You have both flavours to taste – access to civilization or not. This is one of those places where your rom-com inspired daydreams have potential of becoming realities. Or honestly, grabbing some Starbucks and chilling by all the greenery does not sound like a bad idea at all either. Bring a blanket if you’re planning to lay amidst the green grass, under the blue (-ish for HK) sky, or bring your yoga mats if you’d like to take full advantage of the zen energy this circular composition exudes. Yes, my friend is posing but that could very well be you doing some surya namaskar!


Random fact: This is the only place (of the ones we found) with flowers! Or maybe it’s winter right now so blossoms aren’t at their peak around campus, so that’s a plus point to aesthetics. Another bonus is that you know you’re allowed to be here. I mention this because you’ll soon realise that getting to some of the other locations might be a tad bit tricky.

Knowing that I generally have five hang-out spots on campus, my friend took me around to see her selection of roof-top hideouts. Well, our intention was to explore rooftops but we ended up discovering an array of beautiful, secluded outdoor spots – rooftops, terraces, gardens, and balconies. I’ve been oblivious to the presence of most of these spots up until halfway through my first semester. I won’t let that happen to you so if you’re a prospective student, do check them out earlier than I managed to.

Written by Abbas Alvi and Samaara Malhotra



Spends time avoiding cooking/ laundry/ doing the dishes, and all-round just wriggling out of responsibilities that come with adulthood.