Hong Kong: Goldfish, Songbird, and Flower Markets
Hong Kong is a world class city and one of the top travel destinations in Asia. Visiting Hong Kong you may have a long “must see/do” list like The Peak, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Kowloon Harbor & Waterfront, Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong Disneyland and so on. You may find yourself rushing from one sightseeing stop to the next, and may soon become weary of the chaotic traffic, the surrounding skyscrapers, the glittering mega-malls, and the frenzy shop-until-you-drop crowds that you run into everywhere you go! To take a break from all that craziness, you may opt for a leisurely stroll through the Goldfish Market, the Songbird Market, or the Flower Market of Hong Kong. Located in quaint neighborhoods filled with quiet alley streets and parks, these lesser known attractions - but no less fascinating - offer you a different view of Hong Kong that you will never forget
Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
Shop after shop lined along both sides of the street selling goldfish of all size, shape and color. It’s like visiting an aquarium! You will see goldfish everywhere: swimming in glass tanks or hanging in rows of small plastic bags marked with species name and price. Plenty of the ordinary varieties, but there are also many rare and bizarre-looking types of goldfish that make you wonder (is THAT really a goldfish?!!). Goldfish are perhaps the most popular house pet in Hong Kong. It is also very significant in Chinese culture and tradition – they bring good luck and good fortune according to Feng Shui beliefs. Homes, restaurants and businesses in Hong Kong often have an aquarium filled with goldfish. Feng Shui experts recommend a total of nine goldfish (9 is the most auspicious number in Feng Shui) per aquarium - often with eight red and one black fish - symbolizing prosperity, positive energy and protection.
Besides goldfish, you will see a plethora of other tropical fish for sale, as well as turtles, reptiles, and even giant saltwater tanks filled with corals and exotic reef fish!
How to get here: Take the public Mass Transit Railway system and get off at MTR Mong Kok Station. Walk 2 blocks east along Argyle Street, turn left onto Tung Choi Street.
Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon
This market is located inside a lovely tranquil city park. Designed in the style of a traditional Chinese garden, it’s filled with willow trees, moon gates, stone courtyards, beautiful flower beds and a small lotus pond. There’s also a large marble wall/mural carved with the hundred species of birds! Songbird owners/hobbyists used the park as a place to give their beloved feathered pets some fresh air (it’s the equivalent of dog owners taking their dogs out for a walk) by hanging the cages on tree branches under the cool shade. The birds - in their ornate bamboo cages - sing their hearts out when they see other birds in nearby cages, to the delight of their proud owners and admiring visitors.
You will see old men relaxing on park benches, sipping tea and enjoying the cheerful symphony of singing birds. Others are engaging in talks of bird rearing/breeding techniques. Here and there are groups of people playing cards or mahjong.
About a dozen or so stalls selling different varieties of birds including finches, parakeets, pigeons and doves - as well as bird foods (live worms, crickets, grasshoppers), hand-crafted cages and other pet bird supplies.
How to get here: Take the public Mass Transit Railway system and get off at MTR Prince Edward Station. Walk about 10 minutes west toward the park entrance on Yuen Po Street.
Flower Market Road, Prince Edward, Kowloon
Located near the Songbird Market (within walking distance) is the Flower Market. You will see several dozen shops selling fresh cut flowers, houseplants and garden supplies. It’s a very colorful and certainly the most wonderfully scented place in all of Hong Kong! It’s also a paradise for photographers (avoid blocking the shop entrance or getting in the way of customers while taking photo!) and garden enthusiasts. The sidewalk is packed with buckets of roses, orchids, lilies, chrysanthemums, carnations, tulips, and many other exotic blooms - most shipped directly here from Thailand and Holland. The competition is fierce and vendors are quick (can be a little pushy!) to help you select a dozen of your favorite roses to bring back to your hotel room.
Fresh flowers are considered to be highly auspicious (attract good luck and happiness) in Feng Shui beliefs, so it’s a common practice for Hong Kong residents to decorate their homes and offices with bouquets of flower and greenery. Other houseplants like lucky bamboo and bonsai are also very popular. Lotus blooms are often used as an offering at Buddhist temples.
How to get here: Take the public Mass Transit Railway system and get off at MTR Prince Edward Station. Walk east along Prince Edward Street until your see (or smell!) the market.
WHICH MARKET IS YOUR FAVORITE?
ABOUT THIS HUB
The Goldfish Market is the author’s most favorite place in Hong Kong. He wished he could bring back a few fancy lionhead goldfish! All photos were taken by the author with a SamsungPL120 DualView 14.2MP Digital Camera.
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Copyright © 2013 Viet Doan (punacoast)