Mong Kok, also named Mongkok, is known as the most densely populated area in the world. Located on the Kowloon peninsula, it is one of Hong Kong’s oldest and most storied neighborhoods.
Made famous in the Hong Kong hit movie, “One Night in Mongkok”, Mong Kok in the media has garnered a reputation for having a seedy underbelly, with gang activity, triads, gambling dens, and hourly hotels. But for the tourist, the unsavory side of Mong Kok is pretty much invisible, and aside from pickpockets and petty crime, it is just as safe to venture into as the rest of Hong Kong.
Mong Kok is particularly famous for its many street markets which are such a quintessential part of Hong Kong culture. Ladies’ Street Market is the best known among tourists for its cheap clothing, Chinese souvenirs, and other curios. It’s a great place to pick up a tourist-grade Chinese dress or a few silk ties. However, the clothing market on the adjacent Fa Yuen Street is far more popular among locals as it offers dozens of trendy shops and stalls selling “street” fashions, shoes, and accessories, as well as overstock brand name items, often at better prices than Ladies’ Street. The clothing market starts on Fa Yuen Street by the Prince Edward subway station and continues down past the Mong Kok station. Nearby, be sure to pet a few parrots at the Bird Market during the day, and purchase a giant bouquet of flowers for a great price at the wholesale Flower Market.
During the evening, Mong Kok offers excellent photo opportunities along Nathan Road, its main thoroughfare. The neon signs and crowded streets are classic Hong Kong, and as one of the older neighborhoods in Hong Kong, it still has many small local food stalls lining the streets (unlike in more posh neighborhoods where the local government has been “cleaning up” the streets). Grab a glass of iced milk tea and a skewer of curry fish balls, and you’re truly starting to experience the culture of Mong Kok.