Your insider’s guide to Hong Kong

Five vibrant markets to explore in Hong Kong

Snap up the city’s best bargains

Words: Kate Farr

While Hong Kong is a hub for both world-class designer brands and independent homegrown labels, it’s on the city’s streets where the most interesting shopping is to be found. With an established street market culture that continues to thrive, it’s always prudent to leave a little extra space in your hand luggage for a few last-minute purchases.

Temple Street Night Market

Head to Yau Ma Tei as the sun sets, for an evening of strolling, shopping – and even seeing your future. Once known as “Poor Man’s Night Club”, a walk along Temple Street Night Market – named for the temple to goddess Tin Hau at its centre – is every bit as colourful and entertaining as a night on the tiles, without the ensuing hangover. Featuring souvenirs, clothes, leather goods, electronics and even artworks, there is plenty here to tempt savvy shoppers of all stripes. But it’s the market’s fortune-tellers that make Temple Street unique; look out for signs that indicate whether fortunes are told in English, pay a modest fee, draw up a plastic stool and listen carefully, for a truly memorable peek into your destiny.

Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and Prince Edward Flower Market

Combining two of Kowloon’s most charming markets in one day out; while the shopping opportunities may be somewhat limited for visitors, the photogenic nature of both the Bird Garden and Flower Market make for an excellent memento of your visit without the excess baggage. Designed in traditional Chinese style, the Bird Garden is where you’ll find Hong Kong’s most avid avian enthusiasts, who gather daily to show off their prized and pampered songbirds. The park hosts a large number of small stalls that sell birds, along with every conceivable variety of equipment for their care, including cages, bird feed, and specially-made perches.

You’ll find the Flower Market just a short walk from Yuen Po Street, instantly recognisable by the riotous bursts colour lining the street. The market sells cut flowers, houseplants, seeds, compost and gardening accessories year-round, however it really comes into its own at Chinese New Year, when busting crowds jostle for the chance to snap up auspicious blooms to deck their homes, ushering in a brand new year of good fortune.

Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Flower Market Road, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Jade Market

If you’re thinking of investing in some jade to commemorate your visit to Hong Kong, then this should be your first stop. An ornamental stone that is highly prized in Chinese cultures for its alleged healing and fortune-bearing properties, Jade ranges in colour from white all the way through to black, with green varieties being the most popular. Snap up a statue for your home, or adorn yourself with carved jewellery, thought to ward off evil spirits and confer a long and prosperous life – jade bangles are an ever-popular gift for a new baby. While the Jade Market can seem somewhat overwhelming due to the sheer volume of items on offer, stallholders here are friendly, and are always happy to offer advice on which piece best suits the buyers’ needs and budget.

Battery Street, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Cat Street

While Kowloon may take the crown for sheer number of markets; over on Hong Kong side Upper Lascar Row, otherwise known as Cat Street, more than holds its own when it comes to quirky cool. Situated just below Hollywood Road, a stroll along Cat Street is ideally combined with a visit to nearby Man Mo Temple for a full immersion into Hong Kong’s rich and varied culture. Packed with independent art galleries, antique shops, bric-a-brac stalls and the odd café or two, this tiny side street is the place to pick up the sorts of interesting knick-knacks that you never realised you needed until now. From reproduction 1960s Chinese propaganda posters to silver pocket-watches; antique coins to teak furniture; silk scarves to calligraphy scrolls – whatever your fascination, you’ll find it here.

Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong


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