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Hong Kong's Top 10 : Temple Street Night Market

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Beneath the bleaching glare of a thousand naked light bulbs, tourists and locals alike pick their way among the stalls crowding the narrow lanes of Yau Ma Tei’s Temple Street. The overwhelming array of cheap goods includes clothes, shoes, accessories, designer fakes, copy CDs, bric-a-brac and a generous helping of junk. Prices here may be a bit higher than in Shenzhen, just over the Chinese border or in some of Hong Kong’s less well-known markets, but Temple Street is unbeatable for atmosphere.

  • The market opens at 4pm but really gets going after 7pm and goes on until as late as midnight.


Haggling

Remember, prices given are mostly starting points and the mark-ups are significant. The merchandise here is far cheaper in China, so haggle hard (but do it with a smile), and remember the vendor is making a profit whatever price you both agree on. Begin below half the asking price and you should be able to knock 50% off many items, and often a good deal more.


Browsing shoppers

A good way to tackle the night market is to start at the top by taking the MTR to Yau Ma Tei and walk south from Portland Street. This way you’ll end up closer to the restaurants, hotels and bars of Tsim Sha Tsui when you’ve finished shopping.


Snack at the dai pai dongs (street stalls).



Top 10 Sights
  1. Fortune Tellers

    A dozen fortune tellers operate around the junction of Temple and Market streets. Most are face and palm readers. The caged white finches are trained to pick a fortune card from the pack in return for some seeds.

  2. Canto Opera Street Performers

    On some evenings musicians and singers perform popular Cantonese Opera numbers next door to the fortune tellers.

  3. Dai Pai Dong

    Tighter health regulations have made dai pai dong food stalls a rare sight, but they are alive and well at Temple Street, selling a variety of Chinese snacks, savoury pancakes, fishballs, seafood kebabs and unspecified meat offerings.

  4. Reclamation St Canteens

    If you haven’t had your fill from the dai pai dong, try the cheap noodles and rice-based food at the covered stalls on Reclamation Street. Don’t mind your neighbour’s table manners, it’s the done thing to drop or spit gristle and bone onto the table-tops here.

  5. Best Watches

    It’s likely to be a decent timekeeper but with no guarantees. The local makes and Western fakes are usually good value for money. One stall offers genuine, secondhand watches.

  6. Best Clothes

    Amid the naff and poly-fabric horrors (beware naked flames), good buys include cheap t-shirts, elaborate silks, beaded tops and cotton dresses. Have a look at the stall on the corner of Kansu St. Further down, tailored trousers can be ordered with a four-day turnaround.

    Silk jacket
  7. Best Leather Goods

    Leather is not really Temple Street’s strong point. But belts are cheap, and there are plenty of leather handbags and shoulder bags, including fake Gucci, Elle and Burberry items. Some are more convincing than others.

  8. Best Shoes

    From the very cheap flip flops to the reasonable suede or leather shoes, bargain footwear is available almost everywhere on Temple Street, although the variety is not huge and the styles not that elegant. Don’t forget to check the shops behind the stalls. A few stalls sell designer fakes.

  9. Best Accessories

    Cheap sunglasses are easy to find in the market. Embroidered and beaded handbags and shoulder bags are also worth looking out for.

  10. Best Knick-knacks

    Mao memorabilia, old posters, coins, opium pipes and jade are found on Public Square Street. Temple Street’s northern extremity is rich in kitsch plastic Japanese cartoon merchandise, including Hello Kitty clocks, Afro Ken and Pokémon.

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