The Ladies Market in Mongkok is the most well known street market in Hong Kong. Independent vendors set up stalls from mid morning along several blocks of Tung Choi Street between Argyle and Dundas Streets. The thing you will notice most is while there are hundreds of stalls, there is not a lot of variety to them, so you will see the same handbag, wallet, iphone case, scarf, shoes, chinese pyjamas etc at any number of stalls.
Which brings me to the subject of bartering. This is expected at the Ladies Market and pretty much all markets in Hong Kong. If you cannot agree on the price after many minutes of lighthearted bartering and furious tapping on oversized calculators... then just say you dont want the item and walk away. Chances are you will see exactly the same thing you walked away from at a stall 20 metres away. Be mindful though that there will be little difference in the price of items between stalls (as owners often have a number of sites) so you may need to start bartering all over again for a similar result.
Many items wont have prices on them. This allows the price to be chosen by the stall owner according to what they hope you MIGHT be persuaded to pay. If the vendor thinks you look like you can afford to pay more, then of course you will be asked to pay more. This is essentially what bartering is all about. Historically the market specialised in ladies clothing but I have always found that the majority of clothing stalls dont stock the latest fashions. In fact over the last five years, the style of clothing has not really changed at all so its certainly not the place to seek out the latest trends.
Some stalls are set up by noon but I suggest arriving from mid afternoon when all are set up. From experience try to go during fine weather. The stalls are covered but many of the wares will be covered by thick plastic or tarpaulins if it is raining. Trying to shop with an umbrella is a nuisance.
What to buy: Childrens clothes and toys, lingerie, chinese souvenirs, costume jewellery, iphone accessories, mens underwear, sunglasses, knick-knacks, possibly DVD's (sometimes they are available, sometimes not)
FAKE DESIGNER HANDBAGS AND WALLETS:
These are what they are!! Speaking from experience the zips will break and the stitching will come apart on many of these items so compensate for this by paying the cheapest price possible.
What to pay: Its up to you. Overall the quality of items is not that great with a few exceptions. If you really want the item pay according to its value for money, not how long it will last/work for.
If you like to bargain then this is the place. You can bargain down to 50% of their asking price.
- be prepared to walk away if you don't get the price you asked. They will very probably "grab" you back.
- if you find it offensive to be slapped, touched or grabbed, don't show any interest unless you really want to buy
What to buy: Wide range of women's clothes and underwear, also tourist souvenirs.
Id say these are the best markets we went to while in HK and we went there a few times! They are very easy to find and have a huge selection of the usual market products. Also very easy to get to using the MTR, just get off at Mong Kok Station, take D3 exit, then walk along Argyle Street until you come across the markets, which are one street along. They open from about 11am I think, but it can get quite hot there in the midday sun!
I bought the usual market stuff here, like clothing, sunglasses, keyrings, bracelets, lots of mens t-shirts, luggage tags, paintings etc and all at very very cheap prices. I would definitely recommend at least one day at the Ladies Markets, if not several!!!
Be very aware of aggressive saleswomen at Ladies Market. I made a mistake by allowing my daughters to roam on their own on 12/29/2010. The night market was crowded with people, mostly tourists. They went to a shop for a men's belt. After a couple of minutes browsing at the shop, the saleswoman offered to show more details to my three teen daughters, while they kept saying no. My daughters could only spoke little broken Chinese, while the saleslady spoke mostly Cantonese and little Chinese. She kept telling them to buy something, kept trying to show them some stuff.
When they tried to leave without buying, the saleswoman got mad and strangled one of my daughters and left a long visible scratch (see picture). My daughter screamed for help, and the crazy saleswoman got even worse, started to pull her hair, grabbed her wrist and would not let her leave. No one in the crowd offered help, a very indifferent crowd. The saleswoman gestured to call her mafia support with threatening language that my daughters did not understand by using and pointing to her cell phone. Many people would come to see what was going on, yet no one offer any help or intervention, not to mention there was no police anywhere in sight. A couple of saleswomen from nearby shops even came to show support for the crazy woman. After a long struggle, my daughters managed to get away, while chasing by the crazy saleswoman. They eventually got away and hid at a nearby shoe stores for 30 minutes before they emerged to meet with me. They were totally traumatized. We left the area immediately.
The sad thing is, no one came to help while they would come to see what the commotion was when hearing the loud screaming for help. Most were apparently Chinese tourists, with a few Europeans or Americans. They were all the same, nonetheless.
Overall, don't buy anything from Ladies Market. It is a pure tourist trap. Most are of very poor quality, not to mention those low quality knock-offs or look-alike. If you buy something, treat it as a toy. I don't see anything worth buying, other than to embarrass yourself. But mostly, I am appalled by the crazy, aggressive saleswoman.
If you were to buy something, go to Causeway Bay or typical tourist shops. Stay away from Ladies Market. If you go, try to do the following:
1. Walk thru it first. Don't stop at the first few shops and spend much time there. Once you walk thru it, you would get a better idea what you are getting from there.
2. Don't talk to salespeople. Don't ask questions. Do your own browsing.
3. Don't go too deep inside (though those shops are quite shallow). Stay close to the front.
4. Use only English or fingers if you need to negotiate. But keep in mind, there is nothing to haggle for. Do it for fun, not for the goods.
If shopping is what you really want to do, my advice is, go to Taiwan, especially Central or Southern Taiwan. Most products in Hong Kong are more expensive these days. Many Hong Kong residents now go to Taiwan to shop and to eat. So why do you shop in Hong Kong?
This market reminded me of Fashion Street in Mumbai where you can get good stuff for amazing discounts. You can reach the Ladies Market by MTR. This is at the Mong Kok station on the Tsuen Wan line. When you get off at the Mong Kok station then the Ladies Market is 2 blocks away. This market is also a stop on the Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour of Hong Kong.
Things you can get at good bargains in the market are souvenir T-Shirts and other cheap apparel, necklaces, bracelets, trinkets, purses and bags. All the items in the shops have a price tag on them however you can negotiate to 50% of that price and to even lower if you are buying in bulk. However, I would sincerely advise that you just take a look at every shop and start talking to the shopkeeper only if you have a genuine interest to buy, else things can get very ugly.
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The makeshift stalls lining the long street has some fantastic bargains. HOWEVER, bargaining is a must since the shopkeepers quote an exhorbitant price. If something is sold at HKD 150 you can get it down to HKD 80, and in some cases even less! As a rule, walk away if you feel that you're being conned. Sometimes, the hawkers will come running after you, agreeing to your price!
What to pay: The starting price is generally twice the price they are actually willing to sell at-- particularly so if they see you are a westerner. If you look Asian, they usually quote a price that's closer to the actual selling price.
Ladies Market or Ladies Street is located at Tung Choi Street between Boundary Street and Dundas Street, off the popular Nathan Road in Mongkok, Kowloon. Southern section of Tung Choi Street has wide range of items that suit foreign tourists. The market deals in items ranging from shoes, women's clothings, toys, handbags, leather belts to even men's and children's clothings. The marketr itself is a tourist attraction and is brightly-lit at night.
What to buy: Clothings, textiles, watches and toys.
What to pay: Reasonable price - don't forget to bargain with the stall owners to polish your bargaining power!.
Most popular items seem to be knock-off bags and watches. Diesel bag for 70 HKD, offer price for a knockoff Tag Heuer 220 HKD (1st offer). Other than that, clothes, souvenirs, DVDs, etc.
I did not know going prices before coming - felt at a disadvantage....
The stallowners were generally quite friendly.
The "Ladies Market" can be found on Tung Choy Street in Mongkok and is where you can find many bootleg and counterfeit items of clothing from bags to jeans and from watches to shirts. Some of the items are fairly basic looking and not branded and so are cheap to buy. Even if you're not intending on buying anything, it's a good place to come in the evening and take a walk around, despite it being murderously busy. Oh, and haggle the prices down. The northern section of this street is home to a fish market - pets not food.
You can buy almost everything here except for the food. I went here to shop for things that I could bring home as gifts. I was able to buy those "I Love HK" T-shirts. Shopping is exhilirating and will give you most satisfaction coz you can haggle everything! hehehe. We were able to get 5 shirts for a hundred hong kong dollars instead of 4 shirts.
One useful tip: Ask for the price, and then act like it's too much and walk away. The vendor will run after you and will give you the price you want. One time I asked for this bag, the seller says its $180hkd, I haggled for a hundred, but she said only $150, so I walked away, then she followed me and was giving the bag for 120! and when I said no, she was giving it for a hundred! But am no longer interested with the item, but the seller gave it at $80!
What to buy: "I Love HK" shirts, pyjamas, cute tops, no Beijing Olympic shirts here though. Amazingly the government was able to control imitation merchandise for the Beijing Olympics. I bought my olympic merchandise at the official outlet in the Cultural Center near the harbour.
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