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Walking and Surviving an Evening in Mong Kok, the Busiest Place on Earth, Hong Kong, China

8th of November 2014

Who would have thought the world's busiest district would be so busy. An overwhelming walk to say the least.

  • Location: Mong Kok, Hong Kong, China
  • Start or End: Loop walk. Many public transport options. I started and finished at my hotel in Yau Ma Tei. My suggestion ... just get in amongst it and see where the crowd takes you.
  • Length: 5.1km (3.2mi)
  • Grade: “Easy”. Flat and fully paved but amazingly crowded.

This morning's walk around Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong Park and then a visit to the Umbrella Revolution in Admiralty) was a rather leisurely affair. Not quite the hustle and bustle I expected of Hong Kong. It's time to jump into the deep end and try my hand at an evening in Mong Kok. According to the Guinness Book of Records Mong Kok is the busiest place on earth with a population density of 130,000 people per square kilometre or 340,000 per square mile. That sure is a lot of people. And I don't like people.

On my Mong Kok to-do list are a few places of interest, namely the Ladies Market, the Flower Market, the Goldfish Market and the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. No, I'm not in the mood for some ladies clothing. Nor am I in the market for a goldfish. But supposedly these are the places to visit in Mong Kok.

I start this evening's walk from my hotel on the corner of Shanghai Street and Wing Sing Lane, Yau Ma Tei and head in a northerly direction on Shanghai Street towards Mong Kok. Not many crowds along here, busy, a few prostitutes selling their wares, but not overwhelming (the crowds that is, I make no judgement on the quality of the prostitutes). Population density soon changed when I hit Dundas Street, headed east and then turned back in a northerly direction along Tung Choi Street, the so called Ladies Market.

I knew that Mong Kok was going to be busy, but I didn't expect what I found. It was insane! People were everywhere and you could hardly get away for a moments peace. I was like a leaf in a stream, I couldn't stop, so I just went with the flow. The inability to stop for a second meant I hardly took any pictures at all. I did manage to snap one in the Ladies Market when I wasn't surrounded by hordes of shoppers.

For me the Ladies Market (despite the name it sells all sorts of wares) was horrible. Probably because I hate shopping and because the place was packed with shoppers who are unconscious to the fact that others are around. The vendors sold the same crap and were especially keen to sell me a fake watch. I wasn't interested. I was only interested in getting the hell out of there.

I finally did escape the canyon of poor quality knock-offs and was greeted by this ...

Oh my God, more crowds. It is impossible to escape!

Ok, keep calm, I survived the Ladies Market. That's one off the list. Can I make it to the Flower Market, the Goldfish Market and the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in once piece?

Somehow I manage to make it to the Flower Market, but I entirely missed the Goldfish Market located at the northern end of Tung Choi Street. How could I? Unbeknownst to me, I one way or another diverted off Tung Choi Street and onto Fa Yuen Street, completely missing the Goldfish Market.

I probably ended up this way due to a reduction in the crowds. The path of least resistance seems to determine my fate. Anyway, at least I found the Flower Market, located on the aptly named Flower Market Road (there are also flower stalls on the same block along Prince Edward Road West and Yuen Po Street).

Unfortunately the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, which adjoins the Flower Market, was closed. I can't believe I came this far and dodged thousands upon thousands of others just to see a few flowers. The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden was the one item on my to-do list that I was most excited about. Oh well, looks like I will have to try again later (between the hours of 10 am to 6 pm when it is actually open).

After all the crowds, missing out on the Bird Garden and getting lost, the Flower Market didn't really do it for me. I don't blame you Flower Market, I am sure you are awesome, but it's been a rough walk and it's time for me to get back to the solitude of my hotel room.

To get back to my hotel I could take the subway from Mong Kok to Yau Ma Tei, but the thought of squeezing into a train with thousands of others sounds like a nightmare. At least with walking there is some personal space ... if you can call this personal space.

I finally make it back to my hotel in one piece. The solitude of my room was definitely a relief.

Mong Kok was definitely an experience. It was exciting but completely overwhelming. I have cut my teeth, but it's going to take time to adapt to the busiest place on earth.

Gallery

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