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Hong Kong is packed full of fascinating markets, and you’ll discover the best of them on this Kowloon market tour, as you get up close and personal with where Hong Kong locals have shopped for over 100 years, and continue to do so, despite the development rising up around them.
You kick this Hong Kong markets tour off on a fragrant note at the Flower Market, a vibrant and colorful street market consisting of more than 50 shops. A jungle of exotic blossoms, luck-bringing houseplants, and sweet scents, it’s the perfect introduction to the markets in Kowloon. Next, it’s onto the nearby Bird Garden, a charming Chinese-style garden with songbird-selling stalls, traditional Chinese courtyards, and a "bird park", where the city’s elderly gentlemen like to bring their birds to socialize with one another. Soak up the peaceful surroundings and listen to the charming sound of thousands of birds — it’s easy to forget about the crazy city streets that lie just outside the moon gates.
As you travel along this Hong Kong city tour, your orientation and awareness of the city will improve: you will know where Kowloon ends and the New Territories begin, and how we get to mainland China from here. Your guides will also point out a mountain that is a true Hong Kong landmark and local symbol, to ensure you’re thinking just like a local. You will see the largest remaining cluster of Tong Lau buildings in the city; Cantonese tenement architecture imbued with Western design features, designed for both commercial and residential use. It’s clever design makes it nice and easy for citizens to navigate the city, come rain or shine. Unfortunately, nearly all of the city’s Tong Laus have been torn down. Your guide will share with you why this one got to stay, and where its future lies.
Your next stop will be at the famed Goldfish Street, where you will learn why fish are the most popular pets in the city. Admire exotic fish and tortoises, and appreciate the beauty of some very impressive works of aqua-scaping, the latest big thing among local hobbyists. At the city’s most popular market, it’s time to practice your bargaining skills with vendors who sell bargain-priced clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, and smart phone cases. If you’re not up for bargaining, it’s still loads of fun to experience the atmosphere of the market. It’s set deep within the neighborhood of Mong Kok, one of the world’s most densely populated neighborhoods (130,000 people per square kilometre). Take a minute to digest that before we head over to an impressive commercial development that comprises a 15 story-high shopping mall, a gigantic skyscraper of an office tower, and a posh hotel. It was what inner Kowloon needed, and since it opened its doors over a decade ago, the city’s center of gravity has been pulled much closer to ‘Kowloon-side,’ away from the Skyscraper chic of Hong Kong Island.
Last but certainly not least, you will be heading to street markets that specialize in one category of products. Whether it’s sneakers, cameras, jewelry, or computers, you will learn from your guide how to avoid the tourist traps and find the originals at an affordable price. And by this point, if you are feeling a bit "shopped out", a street full of bars selling anything from European wine to local craft beer is just a stone’s throw away, waiting for you.
This is a market tour that shows you the real local culture of Hong Kong and the fascinatingly diverse markets of Kowloon, and you’ll surely leave with a head full of excitement and perhaps even a few unique souvenirs and treasures of your own.