Hong Kong is indeed a shopper’s paradise. Its mega malls, incredible branded stores and neon glowing sign boards offer an amazing shopping experience to the travelers. But the fact remains is that, by the Asian Standard, Hong Kong is really an expensive destination. If you enjoy those malls and stores without thinking about your money, you will surely end up by too much expenses. This post is not about the mega malls and grand stores. This is about the most famous street market in Hong Kong, where you can spend your money on an enjoyable shopping experience. The items are of course not the branded one because its merely a local market, but still the product range available here is amazingly good to make this market a hot favorite among the locals as well as the foreign backpackers.
The Temple Street Night Market is located in Kowloon Island near Nathan Road.The market is located in the districts of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei. In the day time it is a busy road like other roads in Hong Kong packed with cars and other shops.But at 4 PM, the street starts taking a new shape, then cars disappear off the road and local vendors move in, erecting their steel, canvas and plastic tent-like stalls. They mainly used plastic tents to protect the stalls and items from any sudden downpour. By 7 PM, this market becomes alive with lots of people from different countries, different cultures and different backgrounds to prove Hong Kong as Asia’s World City.
While coming from the Nathan Road or Jordan MRT Station, You first come across a series of food stalls,jam packed with locals mainly. This a great place to try some inexpensive local food before bargaining hard with vendors in the street market. The menu is mostly written in Cantonese, so please make sure whatever you are ordering. Do not expect a vegetarian item, even vegetarian item can be a non-vegetarian. You may find many unrecognizable sea creatures and insect in the order menu. If you find them delicious, you can move ahead with your order.
The market is also known as “Men’s Market” as it targets male customers and offers a huge range of products for them.It is a place for clothes, watches,leather goods, DVDs, toys,footwear, artworks, mobiles, goggles etc. Be prepared to bargain and always bargain hard. In my case, for a leather valet, the vendor quoted a price of 500 HK Dollars, but I bargained it to 100 HK Dollars with an additional fancy watch for my wife.
The market is illuminated by many blazing incandescent bulbs and music coming out from CDs shops making whole atmosphere very colorful.
Accessories: Lot of accessories like purse, valet, bags, ear rings, sunglasses etc are available in this market.They might have bearing the branded name like GUCCI or Ray Ban,but those products are certainly not the genuine one. They looks good and also work good for a considerable period of time, but do not expect more from these products, even if you spend some HK Dollars to buy them.
Clothes: You can buy lot of clothes at street market and any kind of-be it for kid’s, men’s or women’s. Plenty of stalls with cheap T-shirts, jackets, jeans, skirts, tops are available here. Again, bargain hardly before buying anything. Mostly, T-shirts prices are fixed, so don’t expect much bargain on them. Do not expect changing rooms to try the clothes, unless it is a proper shop. Street Vendors do not offer changing rooms.
Mobiles,Notepads and other Electronic Items: These items are also available in plenty at this market. But again there is no warranty and guarantee. The i-pads and i-phone like mobiles are very cheap in the street market. I am not sure about the quality, but when I asked my hotel receptionist about those items, he informed that in HK, those items are very popular and local people like them more than branded name like Nokia. You can also find plenty of pirated DVDs of software, movies etc in the market.
Fortune Teller Shops: There are also many shops in this street to tell you about your fortune based on the Chinese zodiac, Feng-shui and taro cards. They can also tell you some interesting idea to turn your fortune, of-course for the money. For fun, you can always enjoy their services, but don’t take them seriously.
and at last, this market is also famous for the prostitutes. You will find them in parking areas and at street corners, trying to look casual in their short clothes. They are priced according to ethnicity..least expensive from Thailand and Phillipines, while the most expensive from Russia. While you walk along the market, chances may come (especially if you are an Indian), when you will be approached by an Indian and that great guy ask you whether you want to buy a watch or something else. If you deny, then his next question would be related to hiring a prostitute for the night. Just laugh and move further.Just for your information, prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, but public solicitation is against the law.So, except some police deployment also in the area.
After all these hustle and bustle if you start feeling hungry, then you can again turn to those inexpensive food stalls at the beginning of the market.
Next day morning, don’t be surprise by the changed behaviour of Temple Street. You will find no stalls, no vendors and no prostitutes till the evening.It will look like any other market in Hong Kong. This happens daily at temple street. It only comes alive after 7 PM.
Opening Hours: Market starts from 4 PM, but come alive only after 7 PM daily. Most stalls close between about 11-30pm and midnight.
How to Reach Temple Street: This is conveniently located in the heart of Kowloon, just 2-3 minutes on foot from the Jordan MTR station. Take the MTR and get to the Jordan station. Get out of the station through Exit A and turn right. Walk 150 meters along the Jordan Road and then turn right to the market.
MTR Yau Ma Tei Station, Exit C, turn onto Temple Street at Man Ming Lane.
By Bus: From Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui, catch any of these buses no. 1,1A,2,6,6A ,7 or 9 and leave the bus at bus stand next to Jordan MTR Station or at MTR station itself and then 5-10 minutes walk to temple street.From Star Ferry Pier, these buses move along Salisbury Road, Nathan Road, from in front of Chung King Mansion towards the Jordan MTR Station. Travel time is about 20-25 Minutes. Alternatively, you can also walk along the Nathan Road to Temple Street.