The picture was taken at 11:47pm in front of Sogo, which is a 5-minute walk away from Jardine's Crescent. In about 13 minutes, all the hawkers will be out on the street selling all different kinds of gadgets with great prices.
A Hong Kong market usually consists of a ladies market and wet market.
The trip back to Hong Kong in Oct 2012, I learned one new thing. You MUST be very selective when it comes to shopping in any these markets. And I mean it.
You can definitely find some awesome steals. You may also come across some copy-cat items which cost as much as the authentic ones for the same price in your own country.
With the improvements of the environment, it is much, much cleaner. But the set up is pretty much the same. Of course, there are some new stores going in.
What Can You Buy?
When you step into a Hong Kong Market, what can you expect? A lot.....Here is a list of just a few items:
1) Vegetables and fruits from all around the world with great prices. A lot of the time, the quality and price is better than you get from the grocery stores here in the US.
2) Meats (fresh and frozen)
3) Bakery items, such as bread and cakes in western or Chinese style.
4) Snacks - There are stalls purely selling snacks in western and Chinese style, such as candies, nuts and cookies. I remember when I was a kid, I loved visiting these stalls 'cos my mom would spend quite a bit on buying our favorite snacks. Hehe....
Live seafood is definitely one of the items you will find in a Hong Kong Market
5) Clothes (Infant through
adult sizes) - When we were younger, we bought a lot of outlet clothes
from the North Point Market. They all look very nice. Friends and
relatives always thought that my parents spent a fortune on our clothes.
6) Shoes - Myself, I am not big on buying shoes in the market. The quality is not bad. But they are not the kind I like.
7) Sewing materials, such as buttons, threads, fabrics and so forth. If you are into sewing and knitting, this is the place to go. Unfortunately, this generation of Hong Kong people only buy their clothes in the store. When its lifespan is over, they just throw it away. They don't spend much time for making or knitting their own like my grandparents or parents generations. The number of stores and stalls is getting smaller and smaller.
8) Cosmetics - If you don't mind unknown brands, you may give it a try. But I have never bought any from the market before.
9) Jewlery - Oh yeah....I'm not kidding. Any kind of jewlery can be found, including jade. In my opinion, this is the great place to buy cheap, disposable costume jewelery. Other than that, don't spend too much on it.
Inside Jardine's Crescent. Some stalls open at 4/5pm. You can easily find clothes, accessories, sewing materials, shoes and etc.
Toys - There is a stall in the Wanchai market that my mother always
loves to go. They always have nice toys, especially stuffed animals,
it's where my mom buys them for Christmas gifts.
11) Aquarium fish - When we had an aquarium during our childhood, my parents always went to the market to search for new fish and equipment.
12) Gagets - You will be amazed at the variety of gadgets you can find in the Hong Kong Markets. Most of them are very reasonably priced. My theory is that if it costs HKD10-20a piece, I will give it a try. Otherwise, I will just be happy to take a look and amuse myself.
13) Movies and TV Dramas - You can find some popular foreign movies and TV series in the Hong Kong market. Of course, some of them are targeting towards Hong Kong people's market. In the past, most of them were illegal and illegitimate. However, the Hong Kong government has been very active on pressing charges to the sellers in the past 2 decades. The chances of getting the illegal copies are very low.
14) Copy-cat Items
- As mentioned earlier, you do find this kind of merchandize in the
Hong Kong market. Most of them are t-shirts and handbags. Some charges
crazy prices, especially ladies' handbags. I have never bought one,
except a couple t-shirts. You have to make your own judgement if it is
worth the try.
I do highly recommend you to shop around first before making your buying decision. What I learned was that the price gap between 2 sellers of the same item could be HUGE.
There are couple of things that you MUST be very careful while you are in the Hong Kong Market.
1) Hawkers - You definitely can find a lot of great steals from hawkers. Of course, there are some dishonest ones, too. What I really want you to pay attention to is the unlicensed hawkers.
How to identify them? They always have mobilized setup. They do NOT have a badge with their names or pictures in the front.
The most dangerous of all is that when they saw the Hawker Control Team (they are under the Hong Kong Government) coming, they will push their merchandize along and run. I mean, they RUN.......
I saw this many, many times throughout my life. If you don't look out, they can run you over and hurt you. So, BE CAREFUL.
A street hawker is waiting for the time to start her day
2) Illegal Items - You won't be surprised to find some illegal
items in the Hong Kong Market, such as cigarette that has not declared
the customs or paid the tax. I saw several people trying to sell items
like this in Wan Chai market many times.
I highly recommend you to stay as far away from them as possible. When the Hong Kong police comes after them, they do run for lives. Plus, I believe nobody wants to get caught just because they are buying illegal items.
3) Look after your belongings - Stepping into any Hong Kong market, you would realize that it is always packed with people. You literally rub everybody's shoulder throughout. Make sure to keep your eyes on your personal belongings, such as purses, wallets, jewelery, cameras and so forth.
I had an unfortunate experience when I was at my teen. I shopped with my family in the Causeway Bay market at night. I brought along a backpack. A Walkman (Hey! I know this is a dinosaur. But it was some kind of valuables back then.) was in the front pocket of the backpack. I never realized that somebody stole it while I was shopping until I got back home.
This was just an experience to share with you in order to let you know the importance of protecting your personal belongings.
If you follow these rules and pay attention people and things around you, there is a lot of fun shopping in the Hong Kong market.
Wahchai wet market connected to Tai Yuen Street
There is at least one Hong Kong market in each district. Their size varies, so as the merchandizes sold. Several of them are definitely worth your time to check out. Click here to check out the list of Hong Kong ladies markets.
Going to Hong Kong Stanley market has a lot to offer. In fact, it is a great Hong Kong tour route. You do not only see the market itself, but also Hong Kong beaches, beautiful historic buildings and great dining places.
If you have a long shopping list, Hong Kong market is definitely a great place to check first.
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