A Savvy Guide to the Best Markets in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s lively markets are famous for their tempting street food, bargain clothing and counterfeit luxury goods
Hong Kong’s lively markets are famous for their tempting street food, bargain clothing and counterfeit luxury goods | © Tuomas Lehtinen / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sally Gao
20 June 2019

Hong Kong’s lively markets are famous for their tempting street food, bargain clothing and counterfeit luxury goods. Whether you’re ready to sharpen your haggling skills or just want to people watch, these bustling markets are must-sees. Here’s our handy guide to navigating the best markets in Hong Kong, from flowers and sneakers to colourful night markets.

Chop Alley

Need a new business card? Look no further. Located in Sheung Wan, the name of this street is officially Man Wa Lane, but it’s also known as Business Card Market. The lane is filled with small printing shops who will print custom business cards for you, either designed by the vendor or based on your own design. The cards are usually ready within a day or two.

If you’re looking for a souvenir rather than a business necessity, this street is also known for its chop-makers. A chop is a personalised stamp carved in jade or stone bearing the owner’s signature, used in ancient times by Chinese scholars. The vendors will be happy to carve English names, although the calligraphic effect looks most impressive with Chinese characters.

China, Hong Kong Island, marble chops traditionally used to imprint calligraphers seal | © Dk Images / REX / Shutterstock

Ladies’ Market

The Ladies’ Market is Hong Kong’s most famous open market, selling clothes (for both women and men), toys, souvenirs, electronics, shoes, wallets, bags, cheap jewellery and more. Shopping is hungry work, so this is also a great place to sample local street food such as curry fish balls, meat skewers, dumplings or stinky tofu.

Designer fakes are readily available here. However, as the selling of counterfeit goods is officially illegal in Hong Kong, many vendors won’t openly display their wares. Instead, many put out catalogues and simply fetch what you’re interested in – you may even be asked to go to a back room to check out the goods.

Be sure to haggle! Unfortunately, foreigners are often quoted outrageous prices. Don’t be afraid to ask for 25% or even 50% off the original asking price and haggle up from there.

The market runs along Tung Choi Street, located in the middle of the densely packed Mong Kok neighbourhood. It’s a short distance from MTR Exit D, and is open for business between 12.30pm and 11pm.

The Ladies' Market is Hong Kong’s most famous open market | © Paul Brown / Alamy Stock Photo

Flower Market

Hong Kong’s famous Flower Market is by far one of the prettiest – and most fragrant – areas of the city. To get there, take the MTR to Prince Edward station and get out at Exit B1. From there, walk east along Prince Edward Road. The florists will already be in sight by the time you turn into Sai Yee Street. Turn into Flower Market Road to enter the heart of flower market territory.

You’ll find flowers and potted plants of every kind, from carnations, roses and sunflowers to shrubs and bonsai trees. Those with green fingers can also buy seeds, fertilisers and gardening supplies here.

The market is most crowded on Valentine’s Day (for obvious reasons) and also during Chinese New Year, when locals flock here for orchids, plum blossoms, peonies and potted orange trees, which promise to bring good luck for the new year. The Flower Market is open from 7am to 7pm daily.

Hong Kong's famous Flower Market is by far one of the prettiest and most fragrant areas of the city | © Allan Symon Gerry / Alamy Stock Photo

Cat Street

Located on Lascar Row in Sheung Wan, Cat Street is sometimes called an antiques market. However, it’s best to think of it as a flea market for cheap curiosities, trinkets and quirky souvenirs. We don’t recommend coming here to hunt for real antiques; if you’re looking for the real deal, it’s best to go to a reputed dealer.

Instead, expect to find Mao statues, terracotta figurines, kitsch posters from the Cultural Revolution, old Hong Kong movie posters, imitation Ming-style vases and Chinese scrolls. This is a great place to pick up a cheap gift or trinket to take back home. As always, don’t be afraid to haggle! The Cat Street market is open from 11am to 7pm and is closed on Sundays.

Cat Street is not a market for genuine antiques | © Paul Rushton / Alamy Stock Photo
Antique Shop Display of Chairman Mao Badges, Cat Street, Hong Kong | © Steve Vidler / Alamy Stock Photo

Sneaker Street

Also known as Sneaker Street, Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok is a one-stop shop for athletic footwear. All the big brand names like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Skechers and Converse can be found here. It’s best if you know your size in the brand you want, as most vendors won’t let you try them on. For rarer kicks, there’s a mini-mall a short distance away called Trendy Zone, on the corner of Dundas Street and Nathan Road. Sneaker aficionados will find high-end brands like Supreme and YEEZY, though prices tend to be high.

Fa Yuen Street known as Sneakers street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong | © Jayne Russell / Alamy Stock Photo

Jade Street

As its name suggests, Jade Street is a marketplace for jade figurines and jewellery. Jade signifies good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture, and many people wear jade it to ward off bad luck.

This market is found in Kowloon’s Yau Ma Tei district. You can find bangles, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and pendants, as well as animal figurines. The jade won’t necessarily be of high quality, but that doesn’t take away from the charm of the market. As a general rule, a decent piece of jade should feel cool to the touch and have an intense hue – usually green, but sometimes lavender or even orange. The Jade Market is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Close-up of statues and souvenirs at the Jade Market, Hong Kong | © Francesco Bonino / Alamy Stock Photo

Stanley Market

A visit to Stanley and its eponymous market should definitely be on your list of things to do in Hong Kong. Unlike the other markets on this list, this one is almost entirely geared towards tourists, selling souvenirs, paintings, ornamental chopsticks, fans, fridge magnets, toys and silk. While this isn’t an all-out local experience, meaning that most vendors won’t be willing to haggle much, it’s definitely worth a quick browse to pick up some cute memorabilia or gifts.

Stanley Market is almost entirely geared towards tourists | © Kate Hockenhull / Alamy Stock Photo
It's worth a quick browse to pick up some cute memorabilia or gifts | © Kate Hockenhull / Alamy Stock Photo

Temple Street Night Market

The Temple Street Night Market, situated in Yau Ma Tei, is the biggest and liveliest flea market in the city. Spanning eight blocks, it runs from Man Ming Lane in the north to Nanking Street in the south, and right in the middle is Tin Hau Temple. The market is active from 2pm until midnight, and is liveliest from 7pm onwards. In addition to the market wares, it’s known for its food stalls, fortune tellers, live portrait painters and Cantonese opera performances. Don’t be surprised to see an impromptu opera performance by local amateur troupes.

The clothing here is skewed towards men’s fashion and accessories (it’s sometimes called Men’s Market, as a counterpart to the Ladies’ Market), but there’s also apparel for women. You can also find plenty of accessories, counterfeit watches, pirated DVDs, trinkets, tea paraphernalia and antiques. Just as at the Ladies’ Market, feel free to bargain.

The market is close to Yau Ma Tei station Exit C and Jordan Station Exit A. If you’re coming from the latter, enter through the temple gateway on Jordan Road.

Temple Street Night Market is the liveliest flea market in the city | © Dennis Fischer / Alamy Stock Photo