I stood in the middle of a 3-way pedestrian intersection – the foot traffic heavier than some vehicle junctions I have seen in the UK. I was in Mongkok on a weekday evening and the streets were heaving with locals meeting friends and a sprinkling of tourists looking for cheap souvenirs. Signs protruded from every spare space of wall, advertising a mixture of electrical goods and massage, although I am not sure to which premises they referred. Teenagers queue for iced tea and, strangely, photographers are conducting photo shoots on the street for a small fee. Mongkok seems a world away from Hong Kong Island yet it is just a few short stops on the MTR. Make the journey to Mongkok and check out some of our favorite Hong Kong markets.
If you have a hankering for a Mulberry leather wallet without the designer price tag you’ll find a good copy here. Also on sale during my visit were Marc Jabobs make-up bags, Gangnam Style USB sticks, and some of the most intricate pop-up paper greeting cards I’ve ever seen. For the Lady's Market take exit D3 at Mong Kok station – from there the Ladies Market is very well sign-posted, or you can simply follow the crowds all the way to Tung Choi Street. The Ladies Market runs from noon to 10.30 pm but has the best atmosphere in the evenings. If you have time take a stroll down the parallel Fa Yuen Street where you will find more local high-street shops and food vendors. This is also where I spotted the local teenagers having their photos taken – it does make quite an impressive backdrop!
Continuing north along Tung Choi Street will bring you to the Goldfish Market. You will notice the street signs change to advertising aquariums and shop fronts will be lined with plastic bags containing ornamental and exotic-looking fish. Visiting on a weekend I got to see just how popular pet fish are in Hong Kong as the locals were busy browsing the different bags for their next lucky purchase. (Goldfish are a symbol of good fortune.)
There are also some pet shops and poodle parlors along this section of the street which are fun to browse, as well as lots of tanks selling miniature turtles.
Just a few minutes walk from the top end of the Goldfish Market is the Flower Market (cross over Prince Edward Road and turn right towards Flower Market Road – just ignore the smell from the ‘Stinky Tofu’ stands!) Spilling out onto pavements and roads are several flower shops selling an array of colorful blooms, it makes a beautiful photo opportunity even if you are not on the market for a bouquet. Around Chinese New Year the bouquets and baskets get even more elaborate and the streets get busier as locals come to buy narcissi, orange trees, and plum blossoms to decorate their homes with.
Yuen Po Bird Garden
Also in the vicinity is the Yuen Po Bird Garden which is worth a visit simply because I’ve never seen anything like it in Europe. Keeping songbirds is a popular pastime for older Chinese men and at Yuen Po, they can purchase everything they need for the hobby as well as meet up with fellow bird lovers. Shaded stalls sell a variety of pet birds including thrushes and finches, as well as ornate wooden cages and bird feed in the form of live crickets that are fed to the birds with chopsticks.
Please find below an interactive map of all the places named in this post. Happy market shopping!