Everybody knows Hong Kong is a shopping paradise, and even a hyperbolic overview would be hard-pressed to exaggerate what a local shopping spree has to offer. It’s also sinfully cheap to stock up on gifts at the markets (but let’s get real, you’ll end up keeping most of the purchases for yourself). From knock-offs to goldfish, shoppers can find everything they didn’t know they wanted, and in the process, sharpen their haggling skills. And don’t worry about buying too much, since there will probably be a stall nearby selling suitcases.
[Also see our travel article “Top Ten Reasons to Visit Hong Kong“]
While you’re shopping, don’t miss the opportunity to sample some of Hong Kong’s renowned street food. Each neighborhood will have their own street food gems to discover, while the area around the Mong Kok markets has an especially plentiful number of street food stalls.
[Also see our travel article “The Best Street Food in Hong Kong“]
10. Temple Street Night Market, Jordan
When other markets start to wind down, head over to Hong Kong’s largest night market, where the fun’s just beginning. Arrive after 7 p.m. to browse through the several blocks of pirated CDs and DVDs, knock-off bags, electronics, kitchen supplies and souvenirs. The market stays open till about midnight, but break up the shopping with dinner at a seafood restaurant behind the stalls, a visit to an English-speaking fortune teller or a viewing of an impromptu street performance.
9. Stanley Market, Stanley
[Also see our “Hong Kong: South Island Travel Guide“]
More upscale and mostly covered, Stanley Market can easily eat up the rest of the day after sunbathing at the adjacent beach. Established shops sell paintings by local artists, knick-knacks, silk clothing, toys, mahjong sets and more. Many shops offer a range of larger sizes (a rarity elsewhere). Although the prices aren’t the cheapest, many proprietors will offer discounts without being aggressive, making it a nice starting point for visitors unfamiliar with Hong Kong’s more in-your-face style of haggling.
8. Costume Market, Central
Smack in the middle of Central along Pottinger Street, this market is the mother lode for those who love to play dress up. Specific costumes make their appearance in the run-up to Halloween, when this area’s packed, but it’s full of wigs, feather boas and sequined and spangled masquerade masks all year long.
7. Sai Kung Seafood Market, Sai Kung
[Also see our “Travel Guide to Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung“]
In the afternoon, local fishermen pull up to the Sai Kung pier to sell their fresh catches. Rather than a floating market, this is more of an elevated one, as customers lean over the rails, make their requests, and the fishermen send up the seafood to street level via bucket.
6. Goldfish Market, Mong Kok
While not technically a market, these shops filled with sea creatures are an excellent example of the local market culture. Tiny goldfish in plastic bags sell from HK$12 and large fish in correspondingly large bags go for upwards of HK$2,000. Crowds tend to hover around aquariums filled with adorable turtles. Aquariums, underwater plants and all kinds of plastic, neon-hued marine flair are stacked precariously on the sidewalks. A cuddly intermission in the form of a pet store filled with puppies and kittens simply adds to the cute overload.