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One of the things I was most looking forward to seeing while in Hong Kong were all of the markets. Night markets were the stuff of legends since the one in Vancouver opened up. All my friends who grew up in Asia or spent significant time in Asia all said that it was nothing compared to the ones in Asia. I was excited to finally see and experience them for myself.
Hong Kong certainly had plenty to offer. There are so many different ones in the city selling all sorts of things – anything you could imagine, you could find at a market.
This one was closest to where we were staying in Mongkok and we ventured out to it on our first night in Hong Kong. Despite its name, this market has plenty for both genders, not just clothing and accessories for women. It was a long row of cheap and knock off goods. Each stall sold essentially the same thing. Stall after stall sold cellphone cases, t-shirts, cheesy souvenirs, selfie sticks and bags. I was on the hunt for some apple accessories for my mother, but everything started to blur together.
Haggling was encouraged here. The best part was if you couldn’t agree to a price, all you had to do was walk down a couple stalls and you can find the same item again.
Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
MTR Mong Kok Station, Exit E2. Walk along Nelson Street for two blocks.
Tip: If items have prices on them, don’t haggle. If there is no price and you have to ask for a price, then go ahead and try and talk them down.
Temple Street Night Market
The Temple Street Night Market was named so after the Tin Hau temple located on the street. A long stretch of stalls set up selling everything you could imagine.
I saw no discernible difference between the Temple Street Night Market and the Ladies Market. Both were contained stalls hawking the same kind of wares. Many guidebooks and website suggest that there are a number of dai pai dongs (hawker style food stalls) available in the area, but we didn’t see any set out. Perhaps we visited too early in the night and they hadn’t set up yet.
Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon Dusk – midnight
MTR Yau Ma Tei Station, Exit C, turn onto Temple Street at Man Ming Lane.
MTR Jordan Station, Exit A. Turn right onto Jordan Road and then take another right onto Temple Street.
The Flower Market
The Flower Market is home to streets of florists and plant shops full of orchids, orange trees and exotic flowers and plants. Anything you could dream of, I’m sure you could find here. It just seemed to go on endlessly.
I have no green thumb whatsoever and can’t tell the difference between flowers never mind other flora. So wandering around these shops I really didn’t have much of an appreciation for them. I saw some cool looking plants though!
Flower Market Road, Kowloon 7am – 8pm
MTR Prince Edward Station, Exit B1. Walk east along Prince Edward Road West until you reach the market.
MTR Mong Kok East Station, Exit C. Walk to Sai Yee Street via the footbridge and follow the signs.
Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
Designed to look like a traditional Chinese garden, the Bird Market is full of stalls selling exotic birds, hand crafted cages, and bird food. Keeping birds is a big pastime in Hong Kong and you’re likely to see the elderly generation out at the park taking their birds for a “walk”.
The sound is what gets to you first. All these birds, tweeting away makes for a very loud experience. I felt terrible the whole time I was there. These birds were in tiny cages, they couldn’t even unfurl their wings. If they had a larger cage, they had to share with others. It was not an enjoyable experience to see all these birds locked up in such tight quarters. With all these birds come all their feeds. Insects from crickets to grasshoppers to larvae were available for purchase.
If the sound of chirping birds wasn’t enough to get you to make a hasty exit, then just a glimpse at all the creepy crawlies would give you the jitters.
Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon 7am – 8pm
MTR Prince Edward Station Exit B1. Walk along Prince Edward Road west towards the Mongkok Stadium for about 15 minutes.
There are so many markets in Hong Kong. We attempted to visit the Jade Market but it was closed by the time we arrived. We also took a wander through Sneaker Street (Fa Yuen Street), which is home to a number of shoe shops for discounted prices. The street gets extremely crowded and stores offer the same items essentially.
To the north, Sham Shui Po, with its origins in the textile industry, is full of wholesale fashion warehouses. You can purchase assortments of fabrics, buttons, ribbon, lace at very cheap prices. Perfect if you like to sew. Also nearby is the Ap Liu Street Flea Market where you can find all kinds of junk and cheap household appliances. I spotted remotes for TVs that probably don’t even exist anymore. If you’re looking for something old and dated, this is the place to go.
I was really excited to visit all the markets while in Hong Kong, but most of them left me with a feeling of “that’s it?” I wasn’t overly impressed with any of them. Most were selling the same items (which I expected), but it got overly repetitive seeing the same stuff over and over again. Streets were crowded, there were constantly so many people. I missed all the food stalls I was expecting to see. I don’t know if its because I went at the wrong time, or if the food stalls had moved to more traditional storefronts near the streets which there were lots of and where we got food from.
I didn’t buy anything in most of the market, expect for the Ladies Market on the last night where I picked up some souvenirs for friends and family. All in all, most of my market visits were a disappointment. I guess that means I need to go elsewhere in Asia and experience their markets!
Have you visited any of the markets in Asia and specifically in Hong Kong? What did you think?