11 July 2014

Some of the weird and wonderful markets of Hong Kong

It seems that there are dozens of markets in Hong Kong to keep a travellers' purses and wallets well attended to. Hong Kong seems to have some of the more 'out there' markets, some of which are just roads and some whose sprawling stalls will make you dizzy.

The Goldfish Market

Just a street full of goldfish. Hang on, goldfish?... There's so many species, sizes and colour of fish on sale in little bags. Simply calling it a goldfish market is like calling a liquor shop a wine shop.

Strangely the street is broken up by shops selling the cutest, most picture-pretty little puppies ever bred. In small cages they sleep peacefully or jump up for the pleasure of customers and the curious. Yes, it's cruel to keep them in these small hard cages and it's probably good that I only managed to sneak two photos (photography is banned), or else it may have made me sad to look back at.

The Flower Market

I'm certain there are larger and more spectacular flower markets across the globe, but this market is on the way from the goldfish to the bird market. I love orchids, something I no doubt got from my mother, so the sea of them brought a small wave of homesickness.

There were some more interesting and more unusual flowers than I've seen elsewhere. If walking around is getting too much, a dash in the air-con flower shops will bring some relief to Hong Kong's oppressive humidity.

The Bird Market

If you travel, you go to markets. I don't know anyone who avoids them completely. You may like the food, the atmosphere, the knock offs, the jewellery or the souvenirs, but after a while it takes something different to stick in your memory.

Hong Kong's Bird market is tucked away and having a map will help you to head away from the crowds with confidence. In Asia many houses will have a little caged bird who is there simply for its bird song. I get it. Just like stroking a cat lowers blood pressure, it's lovely to hear birdsong.

...So they need somewhere to buy these caged bird - hence the bird market. There is quite the variety, most in cages that are way too small and the occasional one that is only held prisoner by a chain around their foot. It's wonderful to see all these birds, but bittersweet to see the tiny space they reside in.

Temple Street

My local friend, Gloria took me to Temple Street but warned me not to get excited as really it was just another market. She was right. It sells the normal souvenirs, clothing, accessories, art work and small electrical items. I was rather indifferent to the market itself, but it was good to tick off the list and having Gloria there made the night interesting in itself.

One thing Gloria pointed out was the newly refirbished gates to Temple Street, which she though were rather shiny and not very authentic. This is something I would never have picked up on with my tourist goggles on.

If you walk further along temple street you will come across a wide street flanked either side by fortune tellers. Some have tarot cards and some work only with the palm of the hand. I really fancied it, but there was so much I wanted to do with Gloria, so we moved on.

The Hong Kong Tourism website is pretty good for additional information and ideas of other markets and attractions to explore, as are many of the hostels which are more European in nature than those found in SE Asia. I stayed at Check Inn and Urban Pack and I'd recommend both for their cleanliness, great friendly staff and the activities they put on for hostel guests.


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