Feeling slightly jet-lagged and weary after the 12-hour flight from London to Hong Kong, entering the streets of Mong Kok was an assault on the senses. It was Saturday night and the densely populated area on the western side of Kowloon peninsula in Hong Kong was in full swing. Bright neon lights with Chinese characters shone from street after street. Market stalls selling everything from fake bags to selfie sticks had taken over the roads and shoppers jostled each other out the way as they haggled for the best price.

The night markets of Mong Kok, Hong Kong We weaved in and out of the stalls and people. Our four-year-old and ten-month-old daughters drinking in the experience. Mong Kok is known for its shopping with markets galore and a mix of traditional and modern shops and buildings. It is huge and hectic. Some of its streets specialise in specific products. There is one road dedicated solely to trainers with Nike and Adidas opening stores there on the back of its popularity. There’s also a ladies market, bird market and flower stalls. We inadvertently found ourselves on pet street (Tung Choi Street) where large goldfishes floated in tiny bags hung outside shops. Inside the numerous pet shops were rabbits, tortoises, cats and dogs. We hurried past, not daring to look.

One street was full of karaoke stalls, each one just yards away from the other, loud speakers blaring. The contestants (of varying talents) took their turn at the microphone. Forget reality TV shows. This is the real X Factor, happening before our eyes – and ears – as we weaved through the gathered audiences.

As we reached the end of the road, the scent of food drifted along the humid air to our noses. Crowds of people gathered around corner shops devouring meat from skewers.

Street food in Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Going on my husband’s recommendation we headed into an austere noodle restaurant, Sun Sin, which had been written about in the Michelin guide. Feeling brave, Paul tackled the chicken feet while we sucked on beef brisket noodle soup. The never-ending noodles were causing a bit of trouble for our two girls so our no-nonsense, stout waitress briskly came back brandishing a pair of rusty kitchen scissors to cut them. Which she did. My husband’s gawping mouth said it all.

Mong Kok is one of the most densely populated places in the world – and it felt like it as we navigated its crammed streets. There was no doubt we had arrived in Asia with a bang and it was as though we been flung onto the set of Blade Runner. It felt like a safe place though. Despite the busy, crowded streets, it felt OK to navigate with the children although we kept them close at all times.

Wander Mum in Mong Kok, Hong Kong
As we wandered the night streets, passers-by cooed at the two girls, Mrs T’s blonde curly hair stood out among the dark-haired Hong Kong inhabitants. Jostling past the crowded streets we grabbed a taxi and headed back to our hotel, smiling with travel satisfaction as we took in the sights from the road: the neon signs with Chinese characters, the busy people and tatty high rise buildings. The colourful public buses, the noise and musty smell. All new. All waiting to be absorbed by us. This is the reason I travel. This.

Public bus in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Looking at my two daughters, staring out of the windows, their eyes wide with wonder, taking it all in, I felt very content. It would be hard to find a place so vastly different from our own back home. Travel helps initiate the senses and on this particular Saturday night our senses had gone into overdrive. Feeling exhilarated but exhausted we retired to bed, excited to wake up the next morning and explore the city.

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Exploring the hectic streets and night markets of Mong Kok, Hong Kong

54 Comments on The Hectic Night Markets Of Mong Kok, Hong Kong

  1. Jenny (The Little Adventurer)
    April 10, 2017 at 6:01 pm (6 months ago)

    I love this side of Hong Kong – but you are definitely brave going there with small children in the evening – it is noisy chaos! So great to see your pictures and hear of your little ones excitement – it reminds me of how I felt when we first moved there and why I miss this vibrant city.

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 11, 2017 at 10:08 am (6 months ago)

      Hehe, it is rather…I wouldn’t do it every night! I can imagine living there would be an incredible experience!

      Reply
  2. Baby Loves Travel
    April 11, 2017 at 8:32 am (6 months ago)

    Wow, this market looks huge. I can’t believe there is a whole street selling pets! It sounds completely different to any Western market. #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 11, 2017 at 10:12 am (6 months ago)

      Completely different! Was fascinating to see.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 9:57 am (6 months ago)

      Oh wow, lucky Emma. It would have been good to spend a bit more time in the city although it was quite full on with two kids as well.

      Reply
  3. Marta
    April 11, 2017 at 11:55 am (6 months ago)

    I haven’t been to these markets, but I remember very well the first impact with the Hing Kong evening after a flight from London! It was our first time in Asia (ages ago, pre-kids) and it was real culture shock at the start but we would love to go back and bring the kids – I can just imagine their reaction! #citytrippin

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 9:58 am (6 months ago)

      It’s a big cultural different…I loved that too. It’s certainly an eye-opening city for the whole family.

      Reply
  4. tots2travel
    April 11, 2017 at 3:05 pm (6 months ago)

    Those blonde curls on the tots must have been so cute, no wonder they got attention. The food at Chinese street markets is so delicious, and a great way to very quickly get immersed in the vibe and culture.
    #citytripping
    tots2travel recently posted…Findhorn on the Moray Coast – a Favourite StopMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 9:59 am (6 months ago)

      Yes, they loved the two girls!

      Reply
  5. Christine Keane
    April 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm (6 months ago)

    I love a good market and this one looks amazing! All the great food and I would love to hear the dueling karaoke stalls go at it lol.
    Christine Keane recently posted…My 4 Day London ItineraryMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 9:59 am (6 months ago)

      Hehe – it was really funny. Wish I’d taken a video now!

      Reply
  6. Kat
    April 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm (6 months ago)

    Oh gosh, what an assault on the senses. And the rusty scissors! I’d probably be unashamedly gawping at everything around me, how can you take all of that in at once? It’s amazing. Really great blog, I felt like I was there! #CityTripping
    Kat recently posted…Hidden Gems of San Francisco: Hiking Marin Headlands Rodeo BeachMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 23, 2017 at 11:45 am (6 months ago)

      Thank you Kat!! That’s lovely to hear. Yes, I was pretty much gawping my way around the streets!

      Reply
  7. Anonymous
    April 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm (6 months ago)

    I so want to go to Hong Kong, and more so after seeing this!! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 10:00 am (6 months ago)

      Highly recommend!

      Reply
  8. Karabi Mitra
    April 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm (6 months ago)

    I so want to go to Hong Kong, and even more after seeing this!!

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 10:00 am (6 months ago)

      It’s a great city!

      Reply
  9. Wherejogoes
    April 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm (6 months ago)

    You arrive, you head straight out to a night market for some chicken feet. RESPECT to you and your family. The start to an awesome holiday. Let’s hope for not so much rusty scissors and plenty of good times. Thanks for hosting #citytripping
    Wherejogoes recently posted…TYNTESFIELD, SPRING COLOUR AND VICTORIAN SPLENDOURMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 2:02 pm (6 months ago)

      Hehe! It was pretty brave of us…The chicken were the hubby’s idea. Not sure he was hugely impressed!

      Reply
  10. Tracy
    April 11, 2017 at 8:10 pm (6 months ago)

    I was last in Hong Kong for my 27th birthday and now nearly 23 years later I really would love to return. We are trying to choose where to go on our way to Australia and my husband who hasn’t been is really championing HK – looking at your pictures reminds me why I loved it so much!! #citytripping
    Tracy recently posted…Visiting Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 23, 2017 at 11:47 am (6 months ago)

      I think it would be a great stop off to Oz (very exciting by the way!) and be interesting to get your take on how it has changed.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 10:02 am (6 months ago)

      It’s worth a visit, great experience!

      Reply
  11. Wilbur
    April 11, 2017 at 11:48 pm (6 months ago)

    Ah wonderful chaotic Hong Kong. I remember the bird market well. Not so much the birds as much as the tanks full of live locusts that were scooped into plastic bags for bird food! I loved the madness of HK, loads of magic memories that you have brought back. I admire your tenacity in taking your kids to such a lively place. Wilbur #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm (6 months ago)

      Thank you! Wow, the locusts would have fascinated me too.

      Reply
  12. Ruth
    April 12, 2017 at 1:30 am (6 months ago)

    You know I much I love markets! Therefore, I would love to visit this one. I have been to some in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. For sure, you get the Asia feeling when you are walking around these! #citytripping
    Ruth recently posted…Cheap Eats in Vienna: Festivals and MarketsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 10:03 am (6 months ago)

      Oh, love some of the ones in Bangkok and Chiang Mai! There’s no mistaking you’re in Asia!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 10:05 am (6 months ago)

      Thank you very much. So glad I brought back memories for you!

      Reply
  13. Kat
    April 12, 2017 at 9:42 am (6 months ago)

    I love HK, in fact more love for this cosmopolitan city than my neighbour south of Malaysia (the island nation that starts with letter ‘S’, lol). HK has character, it’s lively and vibrant though I sometimes feel that the dense population and fast-paced lifestyle is a bit much after a while. I’m glad that your family enjoyed Mong Kok – the area is amazing, isn’t it? 🙂 That’s the real HK, not the glitzy and glamorous financial district area. Glad that you had a great time! #Citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 12, 2017 at 10:02 am (6 months ago)

      Hehe…we are off to the S country soon. I do agree, it feels more cultural and real…especially Mong Kok!

      Reply
  14. Jo Addison
    April 12, 2017 at 11:51 am (6 months ago)

    Your daughters will have gained so much from this experience, and it will be something they will remember for a long time. I got engaged in Hong Kong so this brings back lots of memories!
    Jo Addison recently posted…A Weekend With Sir James (A Quirky Camper!)My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 13, 2017 at 6:11 am (6 months ago)

      Oh wow! How fabulous. Whereabouts? It is certainly going to be a memorable trip for us too!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 13, 2017 at 6:12 am (6 months ago)

      Hehe – true. Night markets are great to explore although can be tricky with children and sleep time. The jet lag definitely helped here.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm (6 months ago)

      Glad to give some inspiration Dave. You’re right, markets are always a great way to see the locals in action !

      Reply
  15. Hilary
    April 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm (6 months ago)

    I love this! Your descriptions made me feel like i was there with you! I must admit I would have loved to see a photo of all the fish hanging from the stalls, but I also completely get why you’d want to rush by as well! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm (6 months ago)

      Thank you Hilary. Looking back I wish I had taken a pic of them!

      Reply
  16. Alex
    April 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm (6 months ago)

    This does sound absolutely fantastic! A complete culture shock. Having not travelled Far East yet, the closest I can match this too was Marrakech, and I know what you mean – smells, humidity, sights. And, how amazing you got to share it with the kids. I take my hat off to you for booking this kind of trip with little ones and you are an inspiration for those daring to do it. #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 15, 2017 at 1:06 am (6 months ago)

      Aww thank you so much Alex. That means a lot. It’s not always easy with kids but it is rewarding.

      Reply
  17. Ahila
    April 15, 2017 at 11:02 am (6 months ago)

    Good to hear that you enjoyed your foray into Hong Kong’s night market and the photo with your little one, distracted by all the excitement and noise around her, is really sweet.
    Ahila recently posted…Photo tour of a morning walk around OxfordMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 1:56 pm (6 months ago)

      Aw thank you Ahila! She certainly enjoyed looking at the bright lights and action going on.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm (6 months ago)

      We certainly were! They loved the noodles!

      Reply
  18. Bumble Bee Mum
    April 18, 2017 at 1:18 am (6 months ago)

    I love Mong Kok… I usually stay there when I visit Hong Kong.. So much good food!! Though I can imagine why you would feel overwhelmed to be thrown inside Mong Kok after such a long flight. Chicken feet is one of my must-order dim sum, and I laughed like mad when it appeared on Fear Factor. I’m curious to know what your husband thought of it! And the scissors part was funny. That’s why most of us carried around our own scissors for cutting noodles when our kids were younger. #CityTripping
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted…Manabe Garden @ Obihiro, Hokkaido, JapanMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 9:27 pm (6 months ago)

      Good idea on taking your own scissors around. Mong Kok was certainly overwhelming. Not sure my husband loved the chicken feet but he did eat most of them!

      Reply
  19. Wandermust Mummy
    April 25, 2017 at 6:12 am (6 months ago)

    We do Singpore in June but Hong Kong and Bali next year so I am eagerly anticipating more posts from your trip! 🙂

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 30, 2017 at 6:27 pm (6 months ago)

      Working my way through them!

      Reply

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