If there’s one thing you must do when you visit Hong Kong it’s visit the markets. Although the city is most well known for glittering sky scrapers and the harbour, it’s the tiny stalls and people going about their everyday lives that always interests me the most. If you like colour and vitality, don’t confine your trip to the malls – explore a bit to see the parts of Hong Kong you’ll remember the most.
It would totally be possible to spend a week visiting every market in the city, and trust me you wouldn’t get bored. But if you’re short on time and want see the best of the best in a day, then this is the itinerary for you. Conveniently located around the Prince Edward and Yau Mae Tei in Kowloon, start in the morning and keep walking til your feet fall off – or you hail a cab!
The perfect market day…
10 am Flower Markets
Start at Prince Edward station and head over to the Flower Markets. If you arrive in the late morning you’ll be able to watch the sellers set up. Walk the whole block, and enjoy the hectic nature of the street, the succulents (this is where I get mine!) and the gorgeous hanging plants. Grab a coffee at Cafe Hay Fever if you’re in need of a pick me up. Flower Market Road, Prince Edward Station Exit B1.
11 am Yuen Po Bird Garden
At the end of Flower Market Road, you’ll find the Yuen Po Bird Garden – a market slash garden where people come to buy pet birds as well as feed, cages, live insects and all manner of other bird related paraphernalia. The Chinese style cages make this garden feel like a throw back to a bygone era, and the men that bring their cages down from their houses to talk birds will keep you entertained for hours. Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward (the end of Flower Market Road)
12.30 pm Goldfish Street
Once you’ve finished at the Bird Garden, head back towards the station and take a left onto Tung Choi St, otherwise known as Goldfish Street. This street isn’t quite a market but makes the cut – shop after shop selling pet goldfish in bags, and boxes full of turtles. Naturally it smells strongly of fish food but I’m sure you can handle it. Tung Choi Street North, Mong Kong
1.30 Cafe Mido
Jump into a taxi and head to this very atmospheric Hong Kong style tea house. I love this place! Wes Anderson would be proud of the throwback 50’s tiles and furniture, and the gorgeous green antique windows that look down onto the local temple. The menu is Hong Kong cafe food which can be a tad odd for the uninitiated – noodles and condensed milk on toast anyone? – but don’t let that stop you. 63 Temple St, Yau Ma Tei
2.30pm Jade Markets
Jade has long been associated with long life and prosperity in China, so you can understand why there’s whole markets dedicated to the stone. I love this market for its colour and stall holders, and for jewellery lovers – there are lots of other stones as well as Jade and it’s a great place to pick up presents. Junction of Kansu Street and Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
Top off your day with either a pit stop at the Ladies Markets if you’re in the mood for a few fake handbags clothes, or nip into Din Tai Fung in TST to weigh yourself down with Dim Sum!
We took these photos over the course of a few days, but you only need one day to do it!
Photos by Nicola Lemmon