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-do list like The Peak, Victoria Harbor & Waterfront Promenade, Hong Kong Disneyland and so on. You may find yourself rushing from one sightseeing spot to the next, and may soon become weary of the chaotic traffic, the looming fortress of skyscrapers, and the frenzy shop-until-you-drop crowds that you run into everywhere you go!
To take a break from all that, you may opt for a leisurely visit to the Goldfish Market, the Songbird Market, or the Flower Market located on the Kowloon Peninsula of Hong Kong. Situated in quaint neighborhoods filled with quiet alleys 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 aquarium fish of all sizes, shapes, and colors, including many rare and bizarre-looking types of goldfish (is THAT a goldfish!?!). Goldfish are perhaps the most popular house pet in Hong Kong. It is also very significant in Chinese culture – they bring good luck and good fortune according to Feng Shui belief. Restaurants and businesses in Hong Kong often have an aquarium filled with goldfish (often with eight red and one black fish) symbolizing wealth and prosperity.
Besides goldfish, you will also see an abundance of other tropical fish for sale, as well as turtles, reptiles, and large saltwater tanks filled with corals and exotic marine 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 in a tranquil city park designed as an old-style Chinese garden. It’s filled with moon gates, stone courtyards, flower beds and a lovely lotus pond. There’s also a massive marble wall carved with the exquisite life-like shapes of many songbird species!
Songbird owners 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! They hang the birdcages under the cool shade of tree branches. The birds sing their hearts out when they see other birds in nearby cages, to the delight of their proud owners!
You will see mostly old men relaxing on park benches, sipping tea and enjoying the cheerful symphony of singing birds. Here and there are groups of people playing cards or the traditional mahjong game. About a dozen or so stalls are selling finches, parakeets, and doves, as well as hand-crafted bamboo 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
Within walking distance of the Songbird Market is the Flower Market. It’s a colorful and indeed the most pleasantly smelled place in all of Hong Kong! The sidewalk along this road is packed with buckets of roses, orchids, lilies, chrysanthemums, carnations, tulips, and many other exotic blooms - many are shipped daily here from Thailand or Holland. The competition is fierce, and vendors are quick (perhaps a little pushy?) to help customers select bouquets of their choice.
Fresh flowers are highly auspicious (i.e. attract good luck and positive energy) in Feng Shui belief, so it’s a good practice for Hong Kong residents to decorate homes and offices with flowers. Other houseplants like lucky bamboo and bonsai are also 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 Article
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.
© 2013 Viet Doan