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Kowloon Markets & Hong Kong History

Discover Hong Kong's Chinese side with a walk through its famous bird, fish, food and jade markets
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 6 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Hong Kong is often described as the quintessential East meets West location, but the eastern element is easily lost amid the glass and... more »

Tips:  The trail deliberately avoids some over-hyped Kowloon shopping areas including:

* The so-called Golden Mile of electronic and jewelry... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Star Ferry Pier 7

The trail starts with a ferry ride across Victoria Harbour, which is a worthwhile activity in its own right.

Look back as well as forward. It might not have the same drama and natural beauty as Sydney Harbour, but for $HK3, it's a great way to appreciate the scale of what has been created on Hong Kong Island. Impressive city views by day or... More

Don't stop here at the start of the trail (you'll be tempted to settle in); save it for a special dinner later.

This stylish place in the One Peking building offers stunning views back across the harbor, but the food is the real spectacle. It specializes in northern Chinese fare, which is spicier than the local Cantonese cuisine. There's no... More

This market can be fun if you treat it as a source of trinkets rather than investments. Some of the 400+ stall holders have been trading here in jade for decades so they are probably better at spotting a bargain than you are.

The general rule seems to be look for cheaper items that you like and haggle for what they are worth to you. High-quality ... More

4. Shanghai Street

The area around the Jade Market is Yau Ma Tei and above it you walk into Mong Kok. The shops in different streets or blocks have traditionally specialized in particular products, creating a patchwork of themed shopping areas.

Shanghai Street provides good examples of this as you move north through blocks of herbalists, funeral parlors and bridal ... More

5. Nelson Street Wet Market

Prepare for some culture shock if your food normally comes from a supermarket. It's "wet" because the fish and other forms of (sometimes unidentifiable) seafood are kept in bowls or tanks of water until you buy. Hong Kong residents are passionate about the freshness of fish. The price will include the killing, cleaning or any other... More

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You've got to admire the courage of entrepreneurs who would build a five-star hotel in the middle of a working-class district, but the beauty is that you can get a room here for three-star prices (by Hong Kong standards anyway).

This is a great accommodation option if you want all the attractions of this trail at your doorstep. The rooftop pool... More

Shop after shop on both sides of this section of Tung Choi Street will sell you anything from a simple goldfish to rare exotic tropical species costing thousands of dollars.

Trade can be brisk so store entries are lined with racks of bagged fish ready to go. They are the perfect pets for high-density living.

Shops are generally open from 10:30am... More

Unless you are serious about plants, this is not going to match the excitement of the wet market but it's a colorful way to reach the bird market. The street throbs with activity on Sundays and during Chinese New Year.

Open daily from 7am to 8pm.

This is where you come if you're in the market for a parrot or something less exotic in an elegant bamboo cage. Other visitors include past customers taking their birds for a "walk," while picking up a bag of live grasshoppers for the daily feeding.

It's all slightly bizarre, especially when you see owners hang their cages within... More

10. Mong Kok East MTR Station

The next attraction on this trail is the Hong Kong Museum of History. You'll be doing a fair bit of walking around its exhibits, so save your feet and take the Mass Transit Railway to get there.

The MTR is the highly efficient, modern and clean train subway system that carries 3 million people a day on eight lines stretching from Hong Kong Island... More

Hung Hom MTR is just one stop from Mong Kok East (the closest MTR to the bird market) on the East Rail line. Take the D1 exit and head east on Cheong Wan Road. The museum entrance is via the courtyard plaza off Chatham Road South.

There are eight galleries recreating the city's past from prehistoric to post-colonialism. It covers everything from natural to social history, so you may wish to skip to the periods of greatest interest unless you have a whole day to spare.

You walk through replicas of villages and city streets from different eras, and there are excellent audio... More