5 Top-Rated Street Markets in Hong Kong

For serious shopping, most visitors head to the mall, but for bargaining, sightseeing, people watching, and fun, wandering through Hong Kong's street markets is the best option. Many of these are not just tourist markets, they're where locals shop and daily life plays out. You can find everything from trinkets and souvenirs to produce, clothing, and even exotic birds and fish. And although it's highly unlikely you are looking to purchase a live bird on your vacation, you may find some good bargains and pick up a few items at some of these markets. Either way, they're all interesting places to see.

Most of the best markets are located in Kowloon, but they're easy to reach from anywhere in Hong Kong via the metro (MTR).

1 Temple Street Night Market

Temple Street Night Market
Temple Street Night Market | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

As dusk falls on Hong Kong, the vendors of the Temple Street Night Market begin setting up for the long evening ahead. This unassuming street transforms into a tightly packed market of three-sided tents and fold-up tables, draped in everything from purses, dresses, and trinkets to electronics and housewares. If you have time to visit only one market while you're in Hong Kong, the Temple Street Night Market is the place to go and by far the most popular. The market opens at around 6pm, and crowds start arriving shortly thereafter.

At the intersections along Temple Street, and in the establishments tucked in behind the street-side stalls, you can also find some good food. While the dining experience may be limited to plastic tables and chairs, some of the restaurants here are worthy of a repeat visit.

Temple Street Night Market is located in Kowloon. If you are staying in the areas of TST or Mong Kok and you are up for a long stroll, you can walk to Temple Street, or you can take the metro (MTR). If you are looking to stay near the market, the Novotel and the Eaton Hotel are good-value hotels, just a couple of blocks away.

2 Bird, Fish, and Flower Markets

Yuen Po Bird Garden
Yuen Po Bird Garden | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, the Fish Market, and the Flower Market are all within easy walking distance of one another, and while you are in the area, you might as well see all three. The fish and bird markets are both live markets, where you can purchase a bird in a cage or a live fish in a baggie. The flower market, as you might expect, sells fresh cut flowers and plants. Most of the vendors have permanent shops along the streets with goods set up on the sidewalks in front of the stores. All three of these markets are interesting, visually stimulating, and fun places for photography.

The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, also called the Bird Market, is more of bird park, not unlike a dog park, rather than just a market. On one side of the market, live birds in cages or on perches line the walkway and are available for purchase. On the opposite side, bird owners come to let their birds hang out with other caged birds, while the owners sit around socializing. Cages are hung up on hooks or placed on fence posts, where the birds can chirp and sing at each other.

Fish Market

The Fish Market is more like a fish store sidewalk sale. The street here is lined with fish stores that display their fish inside and on the sidewalk. In the stores are traditional aquariums and tanks, but on the street, the colorful, live fish hang from pegboards in individual baggies, bound for home aquariums. Crowds gather in front of the displays as shoppers examine the selection and make their purchases.

For a colorful display of floral arrangements, with the wafting scent of fresh-cut flowers, take a walk through the Flower Market. This market will lighten anyone's mood.

All three of these markets are in the Mong Kok area of Kowloon, north of the Ladies Market. If you are taking the metro, get off at Prince Edward station. The Flower Market and the Bird Garden are right next to each other, just a few blocks east of the station. The Fish Market is just south of these, on Tung Choi Street. You can walk through the first two, then head south, through the Fish Market, and then hop aboard the metro at Mong Kok station on Argyle Street.

The Cordis, Hong Kong at Langham Place is a wonderful luxury hotel in this area, just a couple of blocks from the Mong Kok MTR station. Even if you aren't interested in staying here, the hotel's The Place restaurant offers a tasty buffet lunch.

3 Reclamation Street Market

Reclamation Street Market
Reclamation Street Market | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

Unlike many of the other markets, which are active at night, the Reclamation Street Market is a day market and lively in the morning. This is a locals' market, where people come to buy fresh produce, fish, cured meats, clothing, and a variety of everyday items. As a traveler, it's a good place to pick up some fresh fruit, but mostly it's just a pleasant place to people watch and go for a stroll. The street is wide enough that you don't have to squeeze by other shoppers, you can simply wander around and take in the sights. This is a great place for a morning walk, before the heat of the day sets in. You'll find few tourists and no sales pressure.

Reclamation Street in Kowloon runs parallel to Nathan Road and is very close to the Temple Street Night Market.

4 Ladies Market

Ladies Market

The Ladies Market is similar in nature to the Temple Street Market. In fact, you may find yourself wondering if there is any difference at all, apart from the location. Purses, jewelry, scarves, toys, and fashion accessories dominate the market. It's called the Ladies Market, but men can find items of interest here as well.

The Ladies Market is located along Tung Choi Street, just a couple of blocks east of Nathan Road, in the Mong Kok district of Kowloon. The market does not technically have any set hours but it is a night market. Some vendors set up in the early afternoon, but most of the action here begins after 4pm, when the road is closed to traffic. It runs until about 10 or 11pm.

5 Cat Street

Cat Street

If you are on Hong Kong Island and are looking to pick up a souvenir or just kill a little time, wander through Cat Street Market, located along Upper Lascar Row. Unlike some of the other markets mentioned here, this is a tourist market, not a locals' market. It is touted as the place to go for antiques and art galleries, but you can find all kinds of tourist trinkets, souvenirs, jewelry, and other inexpensive treasures.

Vendors set up tables and stalls in the street, but this is not the tightly packed scene you find at the Temple Street Night Market or the Ladies Market. Cat Street Market operates during the day, but don't arrive before noon, or you will only find a small selection of vendors set up.

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