"Get out and about in Mongkok" Top 5 Page for this destination Hong Kong Travelogue by swissfondue
Hong Kong Travel Guide: 8,194 reviews and 19,580 photos
I love getting out and about in Mongkok.
Served by the Tsuen Wan (Red) line, Mongkok is just three stops north of the Harbour (TST) in Kowloon making it very easy to get to. For a birds eye view of just how busy Hong Kong can be take the MTR or ride a bus along Nathan Road, then step outside, take a deep breath and join the crowds in the most lively local area in Hong Kong. I will be honest and say that for me the fact that the streets are inundated with people day and night is a large part of its charm. According to Guinness (the world record compilers) Mongkok has the highest population density in the world and when you are out on the street it seems like everyone else is too.
Mongkok is largely residential but with so many people to cater for there are just so many shopping, eating and entertainment venues, and at times the choice seems to overwhelm you. But away from the frantic activity which takes place in the streets surrounding the Mongkok MTR station there are pockets of old Hong Kong. Many of these streets are quite run down and look unkept but take the time to wander through these very traditional streets as the streetscape is facinating, educational and gives you an idea of the history of the area. A walk along sections of Shanghai Street is like taking a step back in time and a walk through one of the remaining old style wet markets located behind the Langham Place Hotel along Nelson Street will make you instantly feel like a local.
Many of Hong Kong's most recognised markets are in Mongkok.
The most well known by far is the Ladies Market in Tung Choi Street (see my review under Shopping Tips). Although traditionally known for selling womens clothing this market sells a large variety of items and is well worth wandering through more than once. As with all markets you may not find what you want but the fun is in looking and bartering. After all nothing really costs a fortune!!
Fa Yuen Street (one street east of Tung Choi Street) is known as "Sports Sneaker" Street. All the famous brands are here at pretty reasonable prices. If you are looking for an unusual or less popular style you are more likely to find it here than anywhere else in Hong Kong. There are also a few decent camera shops. I purchased a camera some years ago with no issues but I was a little paranoid after becoming a victim of "bait and switch". This is where the shop shows you one item and then sells you another. Just make sure that the product you think you are purchasing is in your line of sight at all times. If the store cannot provide a receipt or warranty then alarm bells should ring.
At the northern end of Fa Yuen Street towards the junction with Prince Edward Road West you will find another market. The Fa Yuen Street Market is open during the day and attracts locals shopping for fresh food and other comsumables prior to dinner time. It is a nicely set out market and its appeal is that it is not quite as crowded as the Ladies Market and has a more local feel to it. There are some VERY reasonably priced ladies fashion boutiques on both sides of the street behind the market stalls. I did more shopping from these stores than from the street stalls as the fixed prices were excellent.
Flower Market Street and the Bird Market/Garden are close to each other and wont take up too much of your time. The Flower markets are very colourful and fragrant and its fun trying to remember the names of the exotic varieties. If you like orchids you will find them here. Open 7am to 7pm daily.
Adjacent to the Flower Market (in Yu Poen Street) is the Bird Market which is housed in a Chinese style "garden". There are over seventy stalls/shops selling everything a doting bird owner would desire including grasshoppers! The mostly elderly owners lavish attention on their birds to encourage them to sing, though not many were on the day I was there! The amazing array of beautifully crafted cages are worth looking at alone. The Bird Garden is open from 7am to 8pm daily. Mid afternoon is when most activity is happening.
Also close by is the Goldfish Market at the top end of Tung Choi Street (Prince Edward). Many homes have aquariums as goldfish signify prosperity. There are thousands of goldfish to admire, mostly in water filled bags. The shops are colourful and shop owners dont mind you taking a few photos. Shops are open from 10.30am to 10.30pm daily.
If you like model making (planes, military etc) then wander down Kwong Wa Street where there is a large selection of hobby shops. This street can be accessed by turning left from Dundas Street which is at the southern end of the Ladies Market. And if you fancy a coffee there is a Starbucks in Dundas Street as well as some street food stalls which are popular with the locals.
The Langham Place shopping and hotel complex occupies two blocks in Central Mongkok and is connected to the Mongkok MTR (Exit C3). Another probably quicker option, in my opinion, is to take Exit E1 and walk across to the Portland Street entrance.
Stepping off the busy streets into the Shopping Mall is quite surreal. There are still a lot of people inside but the mall seems to exude a more calming influence after the hectic pace outside.
There are 15 levels of shopping and entertainment so you need to set aside at least an hour or two to check out the shops. There are also dozens of small "hole in the wall" style boutiques selling original one off items on floors 8 to 12. There is also a Seibu department store which is the only one in Hong Kong. There is also a great H&M.
There is an Xpresscalator to help speed up the shopping process allowing you to travel 76 metres to the top levels quickly. At the top of the mega escalator is an alfresco dining area which is enhanced by a digital sky which is pretty "high tech". Compared to other shopping malls Langham Place has lots of quirky features which are worth seeing even if you are not really into shopping.
The mall is connected to my home away from home, the excellent Langham Place Hotel (see my review under Hotel tips)
This partly pedestrianed street is located between Nathan Road and Tung Choi Street. If you are a young person it's definitely the place to be seen and is a popular meeting place for young people to meet and shop due to the concentration of youth orientated shops. The peak time to do this is early evening when the street really comes alive and the neon lights flash and sparkle. Along the street are numerous mobile phone shops and electronic shops, trendy fashion labels, as well as SASA, Bossini, Giordano, Fortress and Broadway. The street also houses a number of book shops many of which are above other stores. Sai Yeung Choi Street is infamous for being the location of the acid attacks that occured in Mongkok between 2008 and 2010, but dont let that put you off.
GRAND CENTURY PLACE is a newish shopping centre is located on Prince Edward Road West (which confusingly is in Mongkok East). Currently there are over 200 shops but when I was last there in October 2012 there was a lot of renovation being done so this number may increase. The shops in the centre are mostly mid range (not designer). In comparison to other malls, Grand Century Place has a more local feel. It's an easy few minutes walk from the mall via an elevated walkway to the Fa Yuen Street Market or to Mongkok MTR Station (8mins)
There seemed to be a high concentration of well known Hong Kong cosmetic brands in this centre and these seemed quite well priced. As with the majority of shopping centres in Hong Kong, Grand Century Place can be assessed directly via Exit D from Mongkok East Station, although this station is part of the East rail line which links Hung Hom with the New Territories and is not as easily accessible to tourists as the Tsuen Wan line.
On the western edge of Mongkok is OLYMPIAN CITY. This mall services an area of Kowloon which is more affluent and this is reflected in the variety of shops. There are over 250 to choose from spread over three separate buildings connected by walkways. Most major brands are represented. There is direct access to the mall from Olympic Station. You can also walk (10 mins) from the eastern exit of Olympic City 3 to the heart of Mongkok via elevated walkways which will lead you to the western end of Nelson Street and the famous Mongkok Wet Market.
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