Hong Kong
Where East meets West
Hong Kong Travel, Mong Kok

Mong Kok

Chinese traditions and bustling markets

 

Mongkok and Yau-ma-Tei lie north of Tsim sha Tsui and are characterized by a mixture of old and new multi-story buildings, with shops and restaurants at street level and commercial or residential units above.

               

The atmosphere in these two areas is less touristy than in TST or Hong Kong Island and prices, accordingly, are usually lower... Some of the metropolis' best open-air markets can be found here and the hawkers sell almost everything... From authentic Chinese products to cheap fashion accessories and from reasonably priced electronics to imitations of expensive watches... The two districts are very popular among locals and tourists alike, both for their low prices and for the relatively authentic atmosphere. 

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MTR-Jordan, on Yau Ma Tei's South Side (one station north of Tsim sha Tsui), should be a good place to start the journey from.  Take exit A to Jordan Road West and walk along it for less than five minutes. The third turn on your right is Temple Street, where the famous Night Market is held nightly.

 

The Night Market is a good place to fetch a few bargains.  Rows of brightly lit market stalls sell everything you can think of: Asian antiques and costumes, Footwear and clothes, Electronic gadgets and watches, cassettes and CDs... You name it.  There are also more than a few food-stalls and eateries around, where you can indulge on simple, delicious Chinese food, and Cantonese opera singers are entertaining the customers, from time to time... (The opera singers and the fortune-tellers usually perform near the old Tin Hau Temple).

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The market is open daily from 4 pm to 11 pm (although it gets busy only at around 7 pm).

  • Walking all the way from Tsim Sha Tsui is also possible and can take 10 - 15 minutes : You should walk up Nathan Rd. (away from the waterfront), turn left to Jordan Rd. and the third street on you right is Temple St.  

Next in line are Canton Road (the section of which that is popularly known as Jade Street) and the Jade Market.  A visit to both these places is recommended, especially if you admire gemstones.  Canton Road is the sixth street on your right, from exit A of MTR-Jordan (three corners after the entrance to Temple Street and the Night Market).

 

The Jade Market is one of Hong Kong's most colorful bazaars and you can get some really nice and inexpensive souvenirs over there...  

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Jade and its products are the specialty of most of the shops along this section of the road, and there is certainly a lot to see (and buy...).  From Jade St. you can turn right to Ning Po Street where many traditional Chinese shops and businesses can be found (It is a street that connects "Jade St." and the "Night Market").  Onwards along Canton Road, turn right to Kansu Street and and you will immediately see the Jade Market on your left (The small red-painted structures under the flyover).  The market boasts dozens of stalls and the stuff they sell is really beautiful, but be careful not to invest a substantial amount of money unless you are familiar with gemstones, or accompanied by an expert (In any case, there are heaps of cheap and cheerful pieces you can buy, so even if you are not planning to spend a fortune, you will probably not walk out of here empty-handed ).

 

The market is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm.  Try to come early if you want to put your hands on the best stuff, before it disappears (this advise is relevant to both the market and Jade Street).

 

Want to know more about shopping in the Jade Market? Here is a nice 'mini-guide', written by Australian blogger Lady Melbourne (Click here to read...)

 

Keep on walking along Kansu Street and turn left to Shanghai Street, where you will see the old Tin Hau Temple on your right (On a paved piazza with leafy banyan trees). Built in the 1880s, this is one of Kowloon's oldest temples. It is dedicated to Tin Hau, one of Hong Kong's most beloved deities.

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Also known by the name Matsu, Tin Hau is considered as the "Queen of Heaven", "Goddess of the Sea" and protector of seafarers... According to legend, she was born in 906 AD on Meizhou Island, Fujian, and since she did not cry when she was born, she was given the name "Silent Girl."

Although she started swimming relatively late, at the age of 15, she soon became an excellent swimmer and made a name for herself as the protector of fishermen and seafarer.

After her death, the families of many fishermen and sailors began to pray to her in honor of her acts of courage in trying to save those at sea. Much of her popularity, in comparison to other sea deities, resulted from her role as a compassionate motherly protector, completely different from authoritarian father figures.

 

The temple is open daily, from early morning till around 5:30 pm and although it is not one of Hong Kong's most impressive temples, it is certainly worth a visit.

 

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Yung Shue Tau Square, just outside the old Tin Hau Temple, is a good place to rest and enjoy the cool shade of the Banyan trees.  The square comes alive in the late afternoon, when hawkers, Chinese chess players, Cantonese opera singers and Fortune tellers are setting up their small stalls...

 

A tasty tip from Metropolasia-Man

Housed in a sort of art-deco building, on the corner of Public Square Street and Temple Street, opposite the old Tin Hau Temple, Mido Café is a "culinary institution" that has changed very little (if at all) since it first opened its doors, almost sixty years ago... Even the old cash till is still there... No wonder this place was used as a backdrop of many Hong Kong movies.

  

Food wise, they serve the traditional Cha Chaan Teng fare, which is basically Hong Kong style café fare... From nice and simple sandwiches and toasts, to more "serious" fried rice and noodle dishes, like their signature Baked pork-chop rice, Baked spareribs rice, Spicy Eggplant & Minced Pork with Fried Noodles and Shredded Chicken Fried Noodles... Everything is nice (and there is a nice street-view from the windows...)

 

Prices are quite reasonable: HK$ 50 - 75 per person for a nice meal

 

Open from 8:30 am till 10pm

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A visit to the historic Kowloon Wholesale Fruit Market (also known as Yau-ma-Tei Fruit Market) is recommended... especially if you are ready to pay the price and get there at as early as 5 am, when the level of hustle and bustle is at its highest...

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Founded in 1913, the market occupies a cluster of early 20th century buildings that have changed very little over the years... (Pre World War II signboards can still be seen on the outer walls of some of those buildings). 

You can also visit the market at a saner hour of the day, but it is not as fun as when the early morning chaos is on...

 

The Fruit Market is on the corner of Reclamation Street and Waterloo Road, just a few minutes walk from exit B-2 of MTR-Yau Ma Tei (along Waterloo Rd.).

 

Also on the corner of Waterloo and Reclamation, the historic building of Yaumatei Theatre once accommodated Kowloon's largest theatre.  It was restored recently and will probably be turned to a Cantonese Opera hall.

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Mong Kok, just north of Yau Ma Tei, is where most of Hong Kong's authentic markets are concentrated.  MTR-Mong Kok is probably the right place to start from.

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Ladies' Market stretches along Mongkok's Tung Choi Street and is one of Hong Kong's most popular open-air markets.  As its name denotes, this market specializes in women's clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and the likes. However, the products here are not only for women: Many men's and children's products can also be found here, including soft toys, clothes, bags, jeans and watches... just to name a few. 

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The market is open daily from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm.

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To get there: Take exit E-2 of MTR-Mong Kok to the east side of Nelson Street and proceed to the market (2 minutes walk), Exit D-3, on Argyle Street is also close to the market.

 

A tasty tip from Metropolasia-Man

If you feel like a refreshment after strolling through the market, try Hui Lau Shan: They specialize in creative mango-based desserts (although they also offer non-mango goodies) and have a few outlets right next to Ladies' Market: 156 Sai Yeung Choi Street South (next to MTR Mong Kok), as well as on 58-60 Sai Yeung Choi Street and 60 Soy Street. 

 

Their Pearl tea, Iced chocolate and Lemon tea are also quite popular.

 

And one more "tasty tip" that is well worth knowing about...

Praised as the world's cheapest one-Michelin-star restaurant, Tim Ho Wan, Just a short stroll from Ladies' Market, is certainly one of the best places in Hong Kong, if not in the whole world, to enjoy sensationally tasty dim sum and dumplings at unbelievably affordable prices...

 

Click here for a nice (and quite pictorial) review of this fabulous restaurant.

Fa Yuen Street (also known as Sportswear Street) is a small street that runs parallel to Ladies' Market and houses many small retailers which sell sports equipment and clothing.  It boasts a wide diversity of sports shoes. Many shoes of rare or special editions from different places are available here.

 

Goldfish Market - is located along the north part of Tung Choi St. (the street of Ladies' Market). There are dozens of shops and hawkers here that sell various tropical freshwater or marine fish, as well as different types of aquarium equipment.  Open daily from 10 am to 9 pm.

 

Fa Yuen Street Market is situated along the north part of Fa Yuen Street.  It is full of shops selling bargain-priced trendy fashion and casual wear for men, women and children and they usually open between 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. daily (the market also stretches along Nullah Road, all the way to Prince Edward Road West).

 

Flower Market is a small street market in the northern part of Mong Kok, where many flower and plant shops can be found.  It opens daily from 7 am to 7:30 pm, and there are two ways to get there:  A) If coming from Ladies' Market: continue northward with Tung Choi Street (Goldfish Market) till you get to the corner of Prince Edward Rd., cross it to the other side and turn right, then enter the second street on your left (Sai Yee Street) and the first street on your right is the market.  B) Take exit A of MTR-Prince Edward to Playing Field Rd. and walk along it to its end. Turn right to Sai Yee St. and left to Flower Market Rd. and you are there...

 

At the far end of Flower Market Rd., turn left and enter Yuen Po Street Bird Garden (or, simply, the Bird Garden), where dozens of bird shops are located and hundreds of colorful songbirds in exquisitely crafted cages can be seen... The market also makes a popular meeting point for elderly bird owners... Open daily from 7 am to 8 pm.

 

From here, you can walk back to the other end of Yuen Po Street, from where you can turn right to Prince Edward Rd. and walk along it, back to Nathan Rd. and the MTR station.

 

Something worth reading: "The Crazy Heart of Hong Kong" is a very pictorial blog post that takes you through the market streets of Hong Kong's most bustling area... 

 

Sai Yeung Choi Street South is a hot spot for Hongkongers. The section south of Argyle Street concentrates shops of consumer electronic products at street level and upstair bookstores above. Some good cosmetics shops can also be found here.  To get here: take exit D-3 of MTR-Mong Kok and you are there...

 

The shopping malls and arcades in Mong Kok are not as glittering and stylish as the ones in TST, Causeway Bay and Central, but they are definitely worth visiting, especially if you are price-savvy...

  • Yau Shing Commercial Centre, on 51 Sai Yeung Choi Street South (almost opposite exit D-3 of MTR Mong Kok) boasts a good choice of shops of consumer electronic products that specialize in gadgets, cameras and the likes…
  • Argyle Center is situated right next to exit D-2 of MTR-Mong Kok and specializes mostly in cheap fashion and accessories.
  • Not far from Argyle Center and exit D-2, on Argyle Street, you can find Sincere House shopping centre, where the shops specialize in Cellular phones and their accessories.
  • Mong Kok computer center is the place to go to for everything that is computer related. This three-storey mall has dozens of computer shops, selling various kinds of products including laptops, software, hardware and computer accessories. all at very competitive prices.  The center is located on 8 Nelson St., near exit E-2 of MTR- Mong Kok and is open daily between 11 am and 11 pm. 
  • Langham Place is a 3-in-1 complex, comprising of  shopping mall, hotel and office tower.  The huge shopping mall has a modern, "high-tech" look, and houses more than 300 shops, including many trendy boutiques that specialize in international brands. Otherwise, there are quite a few little shops here run by young people, where you'll find the most individualistic fashion items.  The mall also has the longest escalators within a shopping mall in Hong Kong, called the "Xpresscalators".  A pair is located on the 4th floor leading up to the 8th and another pair leads to the 12th floor. The mall is located on the corner of Shanghai St. and Argyle St. and is connected to MTR-Mong Kok via Exit C-3.  Open daily from 11 am to 11 pm.

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You may also want to read about other trips around this area...

Tsim sha Tsui - World class shopping, entertainment and museums

Kowloon City and East Kowloon - History, religion and traditions