Start: Flower Market, Mong Kok.
Finish: Ladies' Market, Mong Kok.
Time: About 3 hours, including the markets.
Best Times: Afternoon, when all the markets are in full swing.
Worst Time: There is no worst time for this walk.
On Kowloon Peninsula north of Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok is a residential and industrial area, home to thousands of family businesses and a string of local markets catering largely to Chinese, making it a fascinating place for a stroll. If you start this stroll in early afternoon and you love markets, you can easily add the Temple Street Night Market , just a 10-minute walk from Ladies' Market. Alternatively, you could walk this recommended stroll in reverse as a continuation of Walking Tour 3 (that's how I usually walk it), but note that combining both walks makes for a very full day.
From Prince Edward MTR Station, take exit B1 and walk east on Prince Edward Road West to Sai Yee Street, where you should turn left and then take the next right for:
1. Flower Market Road
Open-fronted shops at Hong Kong's major wholesale and retail floral hub sell potted plants, orchids, roses, and other wonderfully aromatic flowers, at prices so inexpensive you'll wish you could take some home (a nice bouquet for your hotel room will set you back about HK$10). More transportable but not nearly as appealing are the fake flowers. Shops are open daily from around 7am to 7pm.
At the end of Flower Market Road is the equally famous:
2. Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
This is an attractive series of Chinese-style open courtyards lined with shops selling songbirds, intricately fashioned bird cages, live crickets, and tiny porcelain water bowls. Note, too, the men who bring their pet birds here for an outing. This place is very Chinese and makes for some great photographs, but visitors are reminded to avoid direct contact with the birds. It's open daily from 7am until 8pm.
After walking through the bird market, exit onto Yuen Po Street (which translates as "Vegetable Patch Street," indicative of how much this area has changed) and turn right onto Prince Edward Street West, where you will pass more flower, plant, and garden shops. Just past Sai Yee Street, cross Prince Edward Street West at the crosswalk, where straight ahead of you is:
3. Fa Yuen Street
This is a local market with stalls selling more T-shirts, cheap toys, bags, bras, underwear, jeans, and children's clothing. There aren't as many tourists here as there are at the Ladies' and Temple Street markets, and you may pick up some bargains to boot. It's open daily from 9am to 9pm; don't neglect the inexpensive stores behind the stalls.
Turn right at Bute Street and then the next left onto Tung Choi, the heart of the:
4. Goldfish Market
You'll recognize the Goldfish Market from the shop after shop selling exotic fish as well as other pets; most are open daily from about 10:30am to 10pm. Aquariums are considered to bring good luck and are excellent for feng shui.
Cross Mong Kok Rd. and turn left, where on your right will be the:
5. Fa Yuen Street Market
This lively, covered wet market is where surrounding restaurants and families shop for seafood, poultry, and vegetables. On the third floor is the Cooked Food Centre selling cheap Chinese fare.
Exit the market onto Fa Yuen Street and continue south, taking a right at Argyle to until you come to its crosswalk, cross it, and turn left onto Tung Choi, home of the:
6. Ladies' Market
This is where street vendors sell women's clothing and accessories, including handbags, Chinese jackets, sunglasses, watches, jewelry, and shoes, as well as men's and children's clothing and toys at low prices, from about 1 to 11pm daily. Although this market used to be geared to local tastes (with smaller sizes), an increasing number of tourists have turned it into a thriving market rivaling Temple Street Night Market. The Ladies' Market, in the heart of Mong Kok, extends from Argyle Street south to Dundas Street. From Dundas Street you can either walk south on Nathan Road to Yau Ma Tei MTR station in about 5 minutes, or keep walking another 5 minutes to the Temple Street Night Market.
Winding Down -- At the end of Ladies' Market, across Dundas Street to the right, is a branch of California Pizza Kitchen, 56 Dundas St. (tel. 852/2374 0032), with soups, salads, and pastas in addition to pizza.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.