To Stanley Market from Mongkok
Mongkok gained fame when it was listed as the most densely populated place on Earth, but really it is not different to much of the rest of the city of Hong Kong in that there is commercial and retail near street level, with residential blocks above.
This is really an extension of the old concept of the "shop house", or "tong lau", which is itself no different from "living above the shop". While the in modern Hong Kong there may be 30 or more storey of flats above the shops below, and it is unlikely that the owner of the shop should be living actually above it, the mix of residential and commercial makes for very compact living.
But even with the large population of Mongkok there are more shops, restaurants, malls, Karaoke and cinemas than the residents need and the district actually caters to shoppers from all over Hong Kong, if not beyond.
Attractions such as Ladies' Market, The Fa Yuen Street market (pictured), the Goldfish Market and Apliu Street or "mens street" all within a few minutes walk of each other make Mongkok a must visit district for any visitor to Hong Kong.
Fitting a visit to Ladies' Market and Stanley Market in the same days is challenging, as they both are most interesting around the same time in the afternoon. But it is certainly doable if you want to have a the total Hong Kong market shopping experience.
As Mongkok is in the northern part of Kowloon, while Stanley Market is on the southern side of Hong Kong Island the trip is one of the longer ones within the city, and of course involves crossing Victoria Harbour. There are a number of ways the trip can be done but here are some recommended ones.
Option 1 - Taxi - Star Ferry - Taxi
The iconic Red Taxi of Hong Kong is fast, efficient and good value. But one quirk of the HK Taxi is that those from Kowloon side prefer to stay on Kowloon side, and the same goes for the ones on Hong Kong Island. Its mostly due to their familiarity with the roads in their "home" area, and if pushed they will go across the harbour, but why not break up what would be a long car ride with the equally iconic Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour? It's a deal made in sightseeing heaven.
- Find a taxi rank, there are many in Mongkok but if you have been at Ladies' Market try walking to the southern end, turn left and find one right outside the Medical Centre, a dull pink building
- Ask the driver for Star Ferry Kowloon Pier, every driver knows this.
- When dropped outside the Star Ferry pier enter and pay HK$2.50 to cross to Central
- At Central find the nearby taxi rank by walking up the short slope and stay right past the tourist bus kiosk
- Ask the driver for "Stanley Market", and say to go via Aberdeen Tunnel
- The taxi can take you right to the entrance of the market.
The first taxi fare will be about HK$50, the ferry $2.50, and the second taxi about $120 including the tunnel toll. The big advantage of this route is of course the Star Ferry trip which, while only less than 10 minutes in duration, allows you an unrivaled view of the Victoria Harbour.
Option 2 - Bus - Star Ferry - Bus
The bus services around Kowloon are frequently and routes going via Mongkok, often along Nathan Road, are frequent. As a cheap means of transport they are great, and allow the visitor to have a taste of a real local experience. Except at the morning rush hour they are not over-crowded and getting a window seat, particularly on the upper deck, is a great way to see the sights of the city.
- Find your way to Nathan Road by following signs to the MTR station, as the entrances are all next to Nathan Road
- Take any of these southbound bus: 1, 1A or 2 directly to Star Ferry
- Board the ferry on the Upper Deck, paying HK$2.50 for the ride
- Cross Victoria Harbour - take lots of photographs!
- Alight at Central Pier 8
- Walk inland, away from the pier on the blue overhead walkway.
- Turn right off the walkway at the third right hand junction, outside the Stock Exchange
- Take the escalator down to street level
- Find the stop for bus 260, 6, 6X or 6A.
- Take any of these buses, but 260 for preference
- Select bus 6 for interesting views as you go over the hill, or 260, 6A and 6X if you want the faster tunnel route
- Sit at the upper front for the best views, but not if you are scared of heights
- Watch the electronic sign inside the name of the stop, after the tunnel it is about 10 more stops
- Alight at "Stanley Village Road", don't get off at Stanley Plaza which comes first but is not next to the market
- Cross the road and walk down the slope. The market is right in front of you.
This route combines the nice harbour cruising experience of taking the Star Ferry, with the budget benefits of the public bus. It's best for single travelers for who the Taxi routes are quite expensive on a per-head basis.
Option 3 - MTR - Bus
As there is a Mong Kok MTR station, yes they spell it as two words instead of one, it is possible to make part of the trip on the underground railway. Fast, cheap and safe it is comfortable except at rush hour. And while you don't see as much of the city as above ground on a bus or a taxi it is faster and more reliable, there are no traffic jams underground. Unfortunately there is no MTR all the way to Stanley though, and in fact the closest MTR station at Kennedy Town doesn't have good transport links to Stanley. There is a way however, by changing to a bus at Admiralty that works just fine.
- Walk to the Mong Kok MTR station, it is well signposted everywhere in Mongkok
- Enter the station and pay with Octopus or single ticket for a trip to Admiralty
- Take the Tuen Wan towards Central
- Alight at Admiralty, the platform walls are blue
- Exit the station, using the Exit marked "C" and when it branches "C1"
- Turn immediately right as you exit onto the main road of Queensway, oposit the Pacific Place Mall
- There is a bus stop immediately there, wait for bus 260, 6, 6A or 6X.
- Follow instructions for the bus as above
If you like trains, or don't like boats, then selecting this route is a no brainer. But if you are just avoiding the boat but don't like trains, then there is another way below.
Option 4 -Bus all the way
Unfortunately you can't take a bus the entire way, as the two different bus companies who cover Kowloon and Hong Kong island do not have combined routes. But you can change from one bus to another to accomplish the same thing, though with a little waiting.
- Catch bus 104 from Nathan Road, near Argyle Centre
- Take it as far as Chiu Kwong Street, in Queen's Road West, just outside the police station
- Walk up the hill beside the police station past First, Second and Third Streets
- On the road up see the traditional shops such as the bamboo steamer shop
- Where the road bends outside the school find the bus stop
- Take the 973 bus from here to Stanley Market
- Alight at Stanley Village road, as described above.