Mongkok markets sell just about everything; from albino terrapins to knockoff Shenzhen Chanel perfume. There are markets all over Hong Kong but no area has more than Mongkok. Many of Mongkok’s markets have been established for decades and despite almost constant criticism that they’ve become tourist traps they continue to attract both locals and maintain low, low prices.
If this is your first time to Mongkok, brace yourself. This place is packed. Mongkok was once the most populated part of the planet, it’s still number two, and while it’s the people, the noise and the unrelenting street life that make Mongkok it can be a little overwhelming.
1. Ladies MarketMongkok’s flagship market, the Ladies Market is one of the biggest markets in Hong Kong – possibly pipped to the post by the Temple Street Night market next door. The Ladies Market is filled with just about everything; cheap clothing is the markets bread and butter but you’ll also find tourist tat – think chopsticks – thousands of them – and knock off handbags, leather goods and perfumes shipped in from
Shenzhen. Just about everything is cheap and just about everything is of the absolute lowest quality. It’s a great place to pick up cheap souvenirs, such as imitation carved chess boxes, Chinese letter engraved tea sets and chopsticks, yes, lots of chopsticks.
Where: Tung Choi Street
2. Goldfish MarketCertainly the best titled market in Hong Kong – maybe anywhere –the Goldfish market does exactly what it says on tin – sells goldfish. But it’s not just fish. Set along Tung Choi Street dozens of stores are packed with a zoo like collection or dogs, cats, reptiles, insects and everything in between. It’s an impressive sight, especially at night, as the displays spill out onto the street and are illuminated by the neon glow of the advertising hoardings. As a tourist you’re unlikely to make a purchase but the thousands of goldfish bags hung above the street, coral aquariums and exotic species make it well worth a visit.
Where: Tung Choi Street
3. Bird MarketWhile this market is primarily where enthusiasts come to pluck a Nightingale from inside their elegant hand carved teak cages more enjoyable for visitors is watching the obsessive old men proudly parading their song birds around the park. Set amidst landscaped gardens you can see exotic birds being hand fed or listen to beautiful bird songs. While you’re unlikely to pick up a bird from one of the 70 or so stalls the bird cages made from teak or bamboo can make nice decorative pieces.
Where: Yuen Po Street
4. Flower MarketLike the Goldfish Market, the Flower Market is actually a street of shops where the displays spill out onto the street. Set on Flower Market Road the market has a 100 year old history and many of the florists have been in business for decades and remain family run. Towering stacks of bouquets mean the street is bursting with colour and fragrances- it’s particularly atmospheric during Chinese New Year and other Chinese festivals.
Where: Flower Market Road
5. Mongkok Computer CentreA little different to the traditional markets on this list the Mongkok computer centre is a three floor, indoor market filled with hundreds of independent retailers. If it’s got a microchip, you’ll find it here. Brand new and second hand laptops, tablets and mobile phones are just part of the story with shelves piled high with cables, computer parts and just about everything else a geek could dream of. Electronics in Hong Kong are already cheap but the ferocious competition at these centres makes prices cut throat. The Mongkok computer centre is the biggest of several similar centres in Hong Kong.
Where: 8 Nelson Street