We had four nights in Hong Kong on our way to Manila and having ‘done’ the major tourist attractions, decided to ‘walk the markets’.
Setting of early in the morning, our first stop, was Yuen Po Street Bird Garden where over 70 stalls sold caged birds of all shapes, colours and sizes and the accoutrements for keeping them caged and fed i.e. plastic bags of worms and insects and beautiful blue and white porcelain water and feed dishes. We sat for a while and watched the smattering of tourists and men strolling along with birds in cages: we couldn’t decide whether they had just bought them or were taking them for a walk. Regardless of whether you agree with the keeping of caged birds, when you see how many people live in high rise flats, it’s easy to see why they’re kept as ‘pets’. It was fascinating, and surprisingly they didn’t mind photography.
From the upstairs walkway, we saw Flower Market Road, a long street lined with shops selling a wide variety of exotic and colourful plants, flowers and bulbs all with fabulous scents. One shop, Brighten, had several outlets each concentrating on a specific theme like cut flowers, orchids or flori art and signs saying they were happy for you to take photographs.
We then hit Fa Yuen Street (Ladies’ Market) where various stalls were selling cheap clothing etc. with some hanging up their offerings in an orderly way, with others resembling jumble sales.
The nearby Goldfish Market not surprisingly sold various types of goldfish plus more exotic fish in plastic bags with turtles and terrapins being contained in washing up bowls. Apparently, fish are highly regarded as pets as they’re said to bring good luck and contribute to a room’s feng shui..
We walked down Tung Choi, the southerly pedestrianised part of Ladies’ Market, where stalls were just starting to be set up, so the street was lined with red, white and blue striped tarpaulins which we had to edge around.
In Reclamation Street we couldn’t find the ‘repulsive market’ mentioned in our guidebook where, inside a wet-market building, livestock were said to be freshly slaughtered and expertly eviscerated on the spot. But we did find the fruit and vegetable market down a side street where a huge variety of familiar and more unusual (e.g. cream coloured strawberries) foodstuffs were on sale.
There were two parts to the Yau Ma Tei Jade Hawker Bazar, across the road from each other. They sold trinkets, jewellery, good luck charms and a host of other items made from the distinctive green material. Unfortunately, the traders were a little zealous for us and would have fared better if they’d let us look without constantly hassling.
We then diverted from markets into the Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of Seafarers. But before we went into the incense filled interior, we stopped in the courtyard and rested our weary feet under huge shady trees.
The famous Temple Street Night Market had bunting up, painted electricity boxes, marked out areas on the pavement and lock-up booths. Although this is a night market, a few stalls had already set out their offerings and having seen a sample of the ‘tat’ on offer, we decided it wasn’t worth returning in the evening.
There is a good “website”:http://www.discoverhongkong.com/uk/shop/where-to-shop/street-markets-and-shopping-streets/index.jsp which contains lots of information about these markets and more.