Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Walking Tour: Mongkok

Last week we explored the green trees and pretty birds of the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. This week's walking tour will take us through the crowds and commerce of busy Mongkok. If you've missed some of the other Hong Kong walking tours, take a look at the tab above.

Start out by riding the MTR to Mongkok station in the center of Kowloon. Take the exit for Argyle Street.

Walk along Argyle Street until you see the Apple Shop, then turn right.

You'll find yourself on a busy thoroughfare that is too crowded for cars.

As you walk down the street, I hope you won't be overwhelmed by the advertisements coming at you from every direction.

You'll see people selling electronics and cell phone service on the street.

You will also see well-established Western businesses.

I took this picture around 6 pm on a weekday, so we are right in the middle of pedestrian rush hour traffic. It will be even more crowded on the weekend.

To your left, cross the street and look through the ads and you'll be able to see a signpost that will help you get your bearings.

Continue down the road, but keep your eyes open for still moments of everyday life

You might see a shoe store or two, but this is nothing compared to the sneaker street elsewhere in Mongkok. That deserves a walking tour of its own.

Hong Kong is safe and carefully monitored, even here.

Pick up some street food if you're hungry. The waffle things on the right are excellent.

You can get some sugarcane juice to go with it.

Salute the Colonel as you continue down the street.

There will be people everywhere, and you should try not to bump into them, but...

...every once in a while you should look up, too.

To your right you can buy Italian handbags, made in China especially for you...

... and to your left you can find Turkish delights.

You'll pass the entrances to several shopping malls, but there is more than enough to see on the street.

Hong Kong is always growing, so you'll see signs of building and renovations everywhere.

When you see this sign in the sky, you've finally reached the end of the road.

Take a quick look up the street to your right...

...then turn left and dive into the crowds again.

Just a block away you'll reach the edge of the Ladies Market.

Look for moments of quiet before you press on.

Make a left turn down the center of the Ladies Market. In case you lost track, you're now walking back in the direction of Argyle Street.

And now, it is time to shop.

You can find cheap fake cheongsams.

You can find lingerie.

You can find jewelry and knick-knacks of every kind as you walk through the crowded stalls.

The handbags are cheap, and so are the paintings, and you can try your hand at bargaining if you like.

Some people are good at arguing over price, but I'm definitely not.

You might see the folks working at the stalls sitting down for a quick break, usually reading the paper or playing on their phones.

Every once in a while you'll cross a street, where you'll have a break from the narrow passage.

But then you'll dive right back in.

The hawkers usually won't yell at you to buy their stuff as you walk by.

Try not to get hit by a car when you reach another intersection.

And then continue into the crowded solitude of the market.

Don't forget to look up here too.

Take a detour to see the bookstore when you reach the next crossing.

And the Ladies Market goes on and on.

At some point you may feel like this walk will never end.

But there are plenty of choices if you are looking for the perfect bag, so take your time.

And suddenly, you've reached the end.

Turn left again and walk back toward the MTR.

But take a quick detour for some refreshing bubble tea to end your trip.

Make your way through one final crowd of people, and you're back at the Mongkok MTR. I hope you've enjoyed this walking tour of one of the liveliest areas of Hong Kong. There's a lot more to Mongkok, so expect to see another walking tour or two featuring this fascinating area. Come back next week for more Hong Kong walking tours!


  1. Very nice! Brings back amazing memories from my short holidays in Hong Kong a few months ago. I love how you captured all the details and the atmosphere of the area. Looking forward to more amazing city updates :)

  2. Next time I recommend you go back to Ladies Market but don't walk down the center of the street, walk down the sides of the streets behind the market stalls. You'll find hundreds of restaurants as well as even more shops.

  3. Thank you so much Selina! I hope you make it back to Hong Kong some time.

    Spike, I agree that there are some real gems behind the more obvious stalls. There's always another layer to what you see in HK. I could probably do a whole year of walking tours just set in Mongkok. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. Very true about Mong Kok - it's a huge district and many other markets there, including the flower market, jade market, fish market ....

    I like your step-by-step approach to things, a "novel" approach to blogging here.


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