I know, I know, venturing to the dark side may seem like a scary, unnecessary feat (just the thought of the crowds can be overwhelming!). But hear me out! Mong Kok is by far one of the best places to go for bargain hunting and amazing food, offering up some steals and deals, local treats and a glimpse into a different side of Hong Kong culture. Feeling up for some exploration, but don’t know where to begin? To help you along, I’ve put together a little step-by-step day guide that will help you have the best day in Mong Kok! Time to try out something new, survive the crowds and I promise you’ll still feel happy at the end of the day. Just go with a sense of adventure, patience and curiosity to discover some new local hotspots you wouldn’t have known about otherwise…
*Start from the Yau Ma Tei station, near Gala Place*
12.30pm – Lunch hour
Sour and Spicy Noodles, 1/F, Dundas Square, 43 Dundas Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Days don’t really start until late afternoon in Mong Kok, so why not begin your day late and enjoy having the morning in bed? By the time you get out and about you’ll probably be in the mood for food, and if you’re craving something spicy, then check out Sour and Spicy Noodles. They have got the best Chinese spicy noodles and chicken, or if you can’t handle the heat then you can choose the non-spicy option. Best of all, it’s wallet friendly so you won’t be breaking the bank. Head on up the stairs from the street or take the lift after entering a business-looking building. There’ll be people haggling you to go to the various cafes upstairs too (food quality varies but they’re cheap and you could hang out there for hours with electric plugs to use). Gala Place’s basement also houses 18 Grams Café and a few sit-down Japanese restos that are worth checking out.
1.30pm – Sneakers, clothes and gifts
Trendy Zone, 580 Nathan Road, Mong Kok (entrance on Dundas Street), Kowloon, Hong Kong
After lunch, head over to Trendy Zone on the same street and enter a paradise of sneakers, stuffed toys and clothes. You’ll find all sorts of things in there, including zippo lighters, watches, gag gift items, puzzles and all kinds of cartoon merchandise and toys. These make great gifts and the prices there are usually lower than Central or flagship stores.
You’ll also find a huge amount of clothes and accessories for both ladies and gents, with varying price points and quality. There are also shops dedicated to limited edition sneakers and tees. Although the targeted audience is younger teens, it’s still a great place to get a sense of what’s popular in Hong Kong and buy a cute and kitschy thing or two.
3.30pm – Collectible toys for adults!
CTMA Centre/ToyMart, Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
After a taste of the trends, turn a corner into Sai Yeung Choi Street and you’ll see the huge CTMA Centre. It’s known for its shops selling collectible toys, figures and hobby items, which are far from toys for kids! They could sell up to thousands of dollars and some are even limited edition or pre-ordered items. You can also find Japanese gashapon (capsuled toys) and micro toys sold in a set, saving you the trouble of repeated items. If you’re into toys and figurines, give this place a visit! If not, just head on up for a quick look around and check out the rest of the shops selling random things from clothes to stationeries. There are many levels both above and below, so check them out and explore.
4:30pm – Tech & tea time
Sim City, 47-51 Shan Tung Street, Mong Kok (Adjacent to Nathan Road), Kowloon, Hong Kong
Teawood Taiwanese Café & Restaurant, 10/F, King Wah Centre, 628 Nathan Road (entrance on Shan Tung Street next to Sim City), Kowloon, Hong Kong
After shopping for the ladies, it’s time to find something for the gents. Sim City is perfect for all the geeks and tech lovers, because it’s home to countless shops selling all things digital and technological. From secondhand lens and cameras, to the largest array of headphones, this place has everything tech you could ever need. They even have smartphone and camera accessories available, all under one roof.
The three-level mall will have all your gadgets happily protected and pretty without damaging your wallet too badly. But make sure that after targeting your products you price check around, because prices do vary between shops!
If you’re feeling worn out from all this retail therapy, head next door to Teawood at King Wah Centre for some hearty ice-cream with toast that’s buried in a bread tower (tastes and looks so much better than it sounds!).
6.30pm – Shop and stroll
Sneakers Street – the stretch of Fa Yuen Street nearest to the Mong Kok MTR, not to be confused with the Prince Edward stretch!
Ladies Street – same stretch but Tung Choi Street, parallel to Sneakers Street
Continue walking towards Prince Edward, parallel to Nathan Road and away from Yau Ma Tei and you can take your pick from Sneakers Street or the Ladies Market. Sneakers Street is an endless stretch of sneakers and shoes, from limited edition parallel import to discounted items. The Ladies Market will dazzle you with countless offerings of imitation bags, shoes, jewellery and souvenirs! If you’re visiting the Ladies Market, then make sure you bargain for a good price, sometimes even 50% lower, and if you’re lusting for sneakers then don’t miss the Nike stores dedicated to different sports (skateboard, basketball & football). This is one of Hong Kong’s shopping havens so make sure you go with plenty of cash (although keep an eye on your purse) and get those presents in!
8.30pm –Back to civilization
Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Congratulations! You made it through a day in Mong Kok! Time to reward yourself with a trip back to civilisation in the form of the biggest and most commercialised mall in the area – Langham Place! Take a trip up the looooong escalator, chill out at Hui Lau Shan, or shop some more. This mall is the one-stop place for clothes, food, beauty products and even toys and CDs, just in case you’ve forgotten something. Plus, it has the only really hygienic toilets in the area, so enjoy!
Phew! Wasn’t that a busy day? Now that you’re armed with this handy step-by-step day guide, you can take on Mong Kok in all its glory. Just one more tip from me to you: try not to go on the weekends, especially Sunday, unless you want to really experience the crowds!
Get more handy tips from Karen on her amazing blog here! You’re sure to pick up some styling tips too…