Markets for Leisure and Pleasure

Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok

Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok mapIndulge in some of the world's most fascinating street scenes, where markets of every kind fashion Hong Kong’s true living culture.

Markets for Leisure and Pleasure
To truly experience authentic local Chinese lifestyles, look no further than Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok. Walking through this unique section of Hong Kong is a colourful and memorable experience at any time of the day or night. And there’s plenty more than just sights and ambience to take away — you’ll also love the great deals you can find on souvenirs, clothing, electronic goods and much more.

Did you know?

Tung Choi means ‘water spinach’, which reflects this street’s rural origins. Imagine that a street this choked with life and activity was once farmland!

1. Lui Seng Chun

Once an old Chinese shophouse or tong lau, Lui Seng Chun is a heritage-listed pre-Second World War building featuring a verandah-type style of construction typical of the period. In 2008, Hong Kong Baptist University, with financial assistance from the government revitalised the building, transforming it into the Hong Kong Baptist University School of Chinese Medicine — Lui Seng Chun. It now includes an herbal tea shop on the ground floor as well as a display explaining the old Lui Seng Chun. The remainder of the building is dedicated to the practice of traditional Chinese medicine.

How to get there

MTR Prince Edward Station Exit C2. Walk along Prince Edward Road West to Lai Chi Kok Road. Proceed along Lai Chi Kok Road until you reach Lui Seng Chun.

2. Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, Flower Market and Goldfish Market
Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, Flower Market and Goldfish Market

The charming Chinese-style garden on Yuen Po Street includes some 70 songbird stalls as well as courtyards and moon gates. Look and listen, but please avoid physical contact with the birds. The colourful and aromatic Flower Market sells everything from Dutch tulips to exotic orchids, while the Goldfish Market on nearby Tung Choi Street is where you can find more than just those friendly little orange creatures: aquariums, corals and exotic fish also abound here.

How to get there

Walk along Lai Chi Kok Road to MTR Prince Edward Station Exit B1. Proceed along Prince Edward Road West to Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. Pass through the garden to the junction of Yuen Po Street and Flower Market Road. At the end of the road, get on Prince Edward Road West and walk along Tung Choi Street until you reach the Goldfish Market.

Did you Know

You can get a glimpse of some of Mong Kok’s history by checking out the local street signs, whose names are a colourful reminder of the bygone days of when this area was merely a rustic village. For example, around here there is Yuen Po Street (Vegetable Patch Street), Sai Yeung Choi Street (Watercress Street), Yuen Ngai Street (Horticulture Street), Fa Yuen Street (Flower Garden Street), Yim Po Fong Street (Bleaching Sheds Street), Pak Po Street (White Cloth Street), Hak Po Street (Black Cloth Street) and Yin Chong Street (Tobacco Factory Street).

3. Fa Yuen Street
Fa Yuen Street

Fa Yuen Street is the place to be if you want to find bargain-priced trendy fashion and casual wear for men, women and children.

How to get there

Walk along Tung Choi Street and turn left onto Bute Street. Then, turn right onto Fa Yuen Street.

4. Ladies’ Market
Ladies’ Market

Despite its misleading name that has stuck over the years, the Ladies’ Market has something for all ages and genders, with bargain-priced items, including men’s and women’s clothing, knick knacks, watches and beauty products. Lined beside its street stalls are plenty of Hong Kong-style cafes ready to dish out local favourites.

How to get there

Walk along Fa Yuen Street to Mong Kok Road and then turn right and cross the road to reach another section of Tung Choi Street. Walk to Argyle Street and cross the road to reach the starting point of the Ladies’ Market.

5. Yau Ma Tei Theatre

Built in 1930, the Yau Ma Tei Theatre is the only surviving pre-war cinema building in Hong Kong. The theatre closed down in 1998 and was listed as a historic building in the same year.

It has since reopened as a venue dedicated to Cantonese opera and features young up-and-coming performers. And, some of the shows come with English surtitles, so non-Cantonese speakers can also enjoy the action on stage.

After your visit to the theatre, don’t miss the attractive red brick building on the opposite side of Shanghai Street, which houses the theatre’s administration offices.

How to get there

Walk through the Ladies’ Market to its end at Dundas Street. Turn right and walk to the junction of Shanghai Street and Waterloo Road.

6. Shanghai Street (Yau Ma Tei section)
Shanghai Street (Yau Ma Tei section)

Shanghai Street (Yau Ma Tei section) is one of Hong Kong’s oldest thoroughfares and still has a number of preserved old Chinese shop-house buildings. It’s also where you should head if you’re looking to stock up your kitchen with that perfect accessory! Expect to find local staples, such as traditional thick chopping boards and bamboo steaming baskets used for dim sum.

How to get there

Continue along Shanghai Street.

Did you Know

In Chinese cooking, the humble chopping board is never far from the chef’s elbow as it plays an integral role in the preparation of any dish. No one knows chopping boards better than Man Kee, which makes a huge chunk of the ones used in Hong Kong. Fashioned from sturdy woods, these traditional cutting boards make a great souvenir or gift.

7. Jade Market and Jade Street
Jade Market and Jade Street

China’s most revered green stone is in abundance here, with around 400 registered stall owners ready to pitch jade amulets, ornaments, necklaces and trinkets. This is a fun place to browse and perhaps buy an inexpensive memento of your visit, but think twice about forking out for anything costly unless you are a jade expert. Nearby is ‘Jade Street’, located on Canton Road between Kansu Street and Jordan Road, and jade and gemstone testing is available at Jade Plaza. Take note of the huge jade stone at the junction of Canton Road and Jordan Road; this local landmark weighs three tons!

How to get there

Turn right at Kansu Street to the Jade Market.

Did you Know

Many Chinese people believe that jade can protect people from evil spirits and calm their emotions, which is why they often buy tiny jade bracelets for their babies.

8. Tin Hau Temple
Tin Hau Temple

Tin Hau temple is dedicated to the revered Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau. Its location in the middle of urban Yau Ma Tei might seem odd, but long ago, before massive land reclamation in the area, it was actually positioned on the waterfront! While the water may have receded, people continue to worship Tin Hau here.

How to get there

Go back to Shanghai Street, then walk north to the junction of Shanghai and Public Square streets. Turn right and walk to the Tin Hau Temple.

9. Temple Street Night Market
Temple Street Night Market

This is where Hong Kong’s famous night market begins to awake just as the surrounding city turns in for the night. You can find all manner of bargains here, including casual clothes and curios. You’ll also often run into fortune tellers, Cantonese opera singers and professional Chinese chess players. Two new Chinese pai laus (archways) have been erected at the market’s junctions with Jordan Road and Kansu Street.

How to get there

Walk up Temple Street, which is located across from the temple.