Feb 14, 2011

Mong Kok Night Markets, Hong Kong

Mong Kok (or Mongkok, 旺角 lit. "Wong Gok") is probably one of the busiest parts of Kowloon and all of Hong Kong. This was the first district I ever seen in Hong Kong and also the last. After 2 nights in a hotel, we moved to a cheaper rented room somewhere near Mong Kok Station, which was recommended by a friend of my ex-girlfriend. We were lucky. A room was available and we saved about 20%. If I remember well, we paid about 350 HKD for two nights (which is about 17 eur per night, pretty cheap for Hong Kong). But that place was very hard to find, because Mong Kok is so densely populated, that every building has tons of small staircases leading up to some apartments. You need to be very lucky to find the right one. I still remember it was close to one of the Mong Kok MTR Station exits, I think I would still be able to find it, if I was there again.

Our small room in this hostel, that rents rooms to people. It was very small, but new.

This is Mong Kok the way I know it: People, people, people! I've read somewhere that Mong Kok is the most densely populated area in the world! And seriously, I would sign that immediately. I've never seen so many people in one place like here, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings. Funny thing is, when you walk on the street, you can't stop. If you stop, the people behind you will bump into you. Everybody just walks, it's like a river. You can't be the rock in the middle, the water will hit you. So when I had to stop, I would usually go on the side and lean to the wall of a building. And the biggest masses are found in and around the Mong Kok Station and in the various night markets.

An intersection in Mong Kok, from left to right is the famous Nathan Road.

This was taken at the Mong Kok subway station.

Mong Kok is famous for various night markets. But unlike in Taiwan, where night markets focus on the culinary delights, in Mong Kok you'll mostly see cheap clothes, counterfeit goods (such as Swiss watches or brands like LV, Chanel...), computers, cameras and souvenirs. And keep in mind: You will need to haggle. Of course there is also food, but not as much and not as affordable (and not as yummy) as in Taiwan. If your goal is to try a lot of food, go to Taipei, if your goal is to buy cheap stuff, go to Kowloon. There are of course many famous night markets in Mong Kok, I have visited these:

1 Fa Yuan Street (花園街): This one is famous for shoes and sports clothing, but there are also some stalls that sell finger food. I wasn't really food, that would knock me off my socks, but I'm sure you can find a decent snack here.

2 Ladies' Street (女人街): This market is found on the Tung Choi Street (通菜街). I didn't take any photos of this market, but as far as I remember it was very long and full of clothes and bags and fake Rolex watches, which were only shown to you, if you showed some interest. I remember bargaining here and getting 70% discount for a bag for my ex-girlfriend. She was impressed, but for me that's normal. I won't buy anything, unless I get at least 60% discount, but usually I go for 70. I've seen some stupid Westerners, who got 10% and bought something. I could see the smirk on the retailer's face, probably thinking: "Jackpot!"

3 Sai Yeung Choi Street South (西洋菜南街): This is not really a night market, but a famous street full of shops and shopping malls selling computers, cameras and all kinds of gadgets, as well as clothes, which may not be the hight end brands, but still of very good quality. I bought some shirts and pants here and I still wear some. And I got them on a big discount. This street was 5 minutes away from our apartment.

4 Temple Street (廟街): I only passed by here. This is located near Jordan, a station before Mong Kong Station. A big flea market with many food stalls can be found here.

5 Portland Street (砵蘭街): This street is a famous red light district in Hong Kong with many massage parlors, KTV bars and of course prostitutes. I haven't seen any, as we were only going to the Langham Place Shopping Mall, which is also located in the area (famous for having a huge escalator). The mall was nothing special, no cheap stuff to find, very fancy. We went to have pizza in that famous Hut and I tell you, it was so thin, but so expensive, I was shocked, when we got the bill (2 drinks, curry rice and a small pizza was 15 euro and we were still hungry).

Let me share some photos of the night markets in Mong Kok:

A lot of people come here, local and foreign.

Finger food.

These are the crowds on a Friday night. Most are young people.

The area is famous for computer and camera retailers.

This is the same street in the morning.

The traffic is restricted here.

This is where I shopped that morning. The prices were really great.

Mong Kok is definitely the place to be. You can't miss it, when you visit Hong Kong. If you wanna get the atmosphere of Hong Kong's urban life, go there on Friday night, you'll see lots of fab young people... and some very lovely girls.

My Hong Kong 2009 tour - NEXT: Wong Tai Sin Temple>>

[My HONG KONG page][My PR China page][Info: Source][All photos by MKL, 2009]

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