No district in Hong Kong better encapsulates the true global-meets-local, East-meets- West essence of our city than Mong Kok in Kowloon.
“Mong Kok” means “busy corner” in Cantonese – a fitting name, given that it was named the most densely populated district on Earth by Guinness World Records in 2011.
Heaving with shops, markets, and food stalls, Mong Kok can be overwhelming. So, to help you get the most out of your Mong Kok experience without getting too lost, here are four markets to keep an eye out for.
From knock-off designer brands, to electronic gadgets, to toys, Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street has it all. And don’t let the name deceive you, because there is something for everyone here! With more than 100 stalls stretching on for a full kilometre, you have plenty of chances to hone your bargaining skills. Even with minimal haggling, you can buy four Ralph Lauren polo shirts for HK$100; or a Gucci handbag for even less.
Usually, vendors prepare their stalls at noon, so arrive between 1pm and 6pm for the best deals.
How to get there: Take Exit D3 or E2 from Mong Kok station.
This market has been selling fresh bouquets for more than a century, with many businesses having been passed down from generation to generation. You can find towering stacks of exotic blooms flown in from across the globe – but you can also walk away with your wallet pretty much intact, as bouquets are usually well under HK$200.
The Flower Market is also a great place to appreciate traditional Chinese culture. It’s an especially popular destination during the Lunar New Year, when “good fortune plants” are bought by the dozen. These range from mandarin trees, which symbolise good fortune and prosperity, to “lucky bamboos” used in feng shui to make a household more prosperous.
How to get there: Take Exit B1 from Prince Edward Station, and walk east along Prince Edward Road West until you reach Flower Market Road. Alternatively, take Exit C from Mong Kok East Station, then walk to Sai Yee Street via the footbridge and follow the signs to the market.
For tweets that don’t come from a smartphone, head to Bird Market on Yuen Po Street. Birdsong can be heard up and down this quaint street, which is designed in the style of a traditional Chinese garden. The chirping you hear on this street come from the hordes of birds in elegant hand-carved teak cages. If you close your eyes, you’ll feel yourself being transported somewhere more peaceful than our concrete jungle. Once in a while, you might see elderly men parading their feathered friends around the park, too.
Of course, not everyone will be comfortable seeing birds in cages, but this market can still be worth a visit; the handcrafted bamboo bird cages and porcelain water dishes for sale make nice decorative pieces.
How to get there: Take Exit B1 from Prince Edward Station, then walk east along Prince Edward Road West towards the Mongkok Stadium until you reach Yuen Po Street.
Yes, this market really sells goldfish! Sai Yee Street plays host to several shops lined with endless rows of plastic pouches filled with tiny, brightly coloured fish. You’ll also find aquariums filled with yet more fish. Many people still buy these to improve the feng shui of their home, as fish are believed to bring wealth and success.
While it’s fascinating watching these little creatures swimming about, and very tempting to take one home, it’s important to remember that, like the birds at the Bird Market, these fish are real, living creatures. So if you’re thinking of buying one, be sure you know how to properly take care of it.
How to get there: Take Exit C from Mong Kok East Station, walk to Sai Yee Street via the footbridge and follow the signs to the market. You can also take Exit B2 at Prince Edward Station, then walk east along Prince Edward Road West until you reach the market.
Before you go
- Bring a camera with spare memory cards to capture the scenery (the markets tend to look best at night).
- Bring a phone with GPS or a map app, just in case you get lost; all the streets look identical.
- Bring a portable charger, in case your phone runs out of battery.
- Bring lots of money for all those bargains you’re sure to snap up.
Take care of your belongings, as pickpockets might be lurking about!