Hong Kong’s street markets are colourful and chaotic. They’re also the best place to bag yourself a bargain.
If it’s worth buying, then it most likely has a street named after it in Hong Kong.
From Sneakers Street and Cat Street to Jade Street and Goldfish Street, the vibrant local markets are a fun way for savvy shoppers to bag a bargain.
Wandering the weird and wacky open-air markets of Hong Kong is as much a cultural experience as it is retail therapy. They really are among the best street markets you’ll find anywhere in the world.
Here you’ll find locals selling everything from street food and fresh produce to flowers, shoes, electronics and even fake luxury goods.
If you’re a fan of haggling, you’ll really get a work out in Hong Kong’s chaotic and colourful street markets.
Here’s some of our favourites:
Hong Kong Street Markets
Ladies’ Market, Kowloon: The Ladies’ Market in Tung Choi Street is one of Hong Kong’s most popular markets. But don’t be fooled by the name, they sell clothes for men and women here and it’s a great place to pick up clothes, watches, shoes, knick-knacks – and a range of fakes.
Temple Street Night Market, Kowloon: This rowdy thoroughfare in central Kowloon starts where Temple Street meets Jordan Road. Hawkers flog everything from clothes, pirated CDs, hardware, pens, trinkets, watches and luggage. At night, it’s also a wonderful place to eat as open-air street food stalls spring into action. If you want to haggle, this is the place to do it.
Jade Street: The Jade Market and Jade Street (at the junction of Nathan Road and Kansu Streets at Mong Kok) is an inside covered market with hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of jade, pearls and semi-precious stones, including bracelets, carvings, earrings, stones, small figurines and ornaments. The market is worth a visit, but don’t expect to find top quality jade. This is purely the stuff of souvenirs. And don’t be conned into buying synthetic jade – which is really plastic. Authentic, high quality jade is emerald green, very expensive and usually sells in high street jewellery stores.
Sneakers Street, Mong Kok: As you might have read in an earlier blog, this is where you’ll find the greatest collection of sneakers on the planet. They’re (mostly) all authentic, so don’t expect them to budge on price. Be warned, they stock mainly Asian sizes, so if you have a big foot you might be out of luck.
Flower Market Road, Mong Kok: The famous flower market on Prince Edward Road West has everything from cut flowers, potted plants and seeds to bulbs and orchids. You can also buy dried flowers, vases and a range of gardening tools. As tourists we had to resort to looking rather than buying, as we couldn’t take any plant material (including seeds or soil) back to Australia with us.
Bird Market, Kowloon: This short pedestrian alleyway is filled with pet shops specialising in birds. Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is designed in the style of a traditional Chinese garden. The park is popular with songbird enthusiasts and has dozens of stalls selling exotic birds, beautifully crafted bamboo cages, porcelain water dishes and other bird-care paraphernalia. Bird lovers come to see – and buy – pet birds, as well as everything a bird-owner might need, from feed to handmade cages.
Goldfish Market, Kowloon: Tung Choi Street North – better known as Goldfish Street – is a 300 metre strip of shops and stalls devoted to all types of fish. Here you can buy goldfish in a bag (pictured) and admire all types of colourful fish and other marine life in tanks. Goldfish are believed to signify good luck and fortune. According to feng shui practitioners, nine is the ideal number of fish to have in a home aquarium, made up of eight red goldfish and one black goldfish. The number eight is a prosperity number in Chinese culture.
Cat Street Antique Market, Sheung Wan: It might officially be named Upper Lascar Row, but for antique enthusiasts it’s simply known as as Hong Kong’s famous Cat Street market. Located on a pedestrian street just below Hollywood Road, the century-old market is the go-to place for vintage treasure hunters or handcrafted modern replicas. In the 1920s, the market was a place where stolen goods would change hands. In Cantonese, stolen items are called ‘rat goods’ and the people who buy them are called “cats”, giving rise to the name Cat Street.
Apliu Street, Kowloon: Apliu Street – often called Electronics Street – is a flea market that specialises in cheap (often second-hand) electronic gadgets like phones, radios, computers, tablets and TVs. It’s located just north of Temple Street.
Stanley Market, Hong Kong Island: At Stanley Market you’ll find a good collection of artwork, chopsticks, clothing, jewellery and souvenirs. Even if you’re not into markets, just getting to Stanley is half the fun, particularly by bus. It’s a 40 minute bus trip from Central that takes in the magnificent hilly coastline, with views of the South China Sea as it passes through Repulse Bay. Sitting upstairs in the front seat of the bus is an experience as it navigates the narrow, winding roads. Beware though, occasionally the windscreen cops a thud from low hanging tree branches.
© 2019 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved
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