My Hong Kong Travel Diary: Night scenes at Temple Street (庙街)

By Christina Kim - July 18, 2015

Temple Street is a portrait of Hong Kong's culture from the yesteryear, mixed with a light touch of contemporary fashion.

Traditions are still visible here, yet effects of modernization have seeped into this once glorious night market; well-reputed as one of the busiest and most visited flea markets in the city and still is, though crowds are slowly dissipating in the present-day's race towards rapid development.

The flea market, famed for its rich street culture and bargain buys with plenty of eccentric finds nestled within the paralleled streets, blasts with life at night and is an eye-candy for tourists who want a glimpse of the retro days of Hong Kong mixed with modern touches of progress of the city today. Like most Asian night markets, or flea markets in general, the market is lined with stalls run by eager locals bent on making a living from peddling their merchandises.
Bargaining and price haggling are common sights here, and are usually expected since this is after all, a market and one's negotiation skills would ultimately determine the best deals one could walk away with (and the winning party of course, though the seller would rarely lose either for it is just a matter of a higher or lower profit margin).

Temple Street is located nearer to the Yau Ma Tei and Jordan areas rather than Mong Kok; where it is usually mistaken for by tourists. 
Get off at either the Yau Ma Tei or Jordan MRT station and take a short walk, and you will find the famous Temple Street within a short distance.



It is not as bustling as before, as I remembered it, and this time round, I noticed that the street has seemed to decline in its crowds and even the number of stalls in general.

Perhaps it is the buzz of the shopping malls and the progressive commercial development which led to the waning trend of the night markets; now taking a back seat amidst the waves of industrialization.


It is a sad reality but one that is evident of the rapid and successful growth of Hong Kong; which is already one of the strong icons in Asia for its economic status.
I guess it is a inevitable; when development takes over, something will just slowly phase into the past; just like the ocean's waves, where they will always be making way for the next to come into place; one after another.

There are plenty of things to do on Temple Street (read my previous post here).

For one, do some shopping (but bargain), or just walk through the streets to take in the local culture, and of course eat.
(Well, I can't say much about both right now, since the street used to be bustling with seafood restaurants/stalls and this time round, they seem to have declined in numbers).

The stalls in Temple Street



A glimpse of some of the items on sale in Temple Street


Eating by the streets is common in Temple Street







My last few experiences dining on Temple Street with fresh seafood was a far more memorable one, and I was a little disappointed that I could not locate the place I used to go to on my previous visits.
I hope it was only me searching in the wrong area, and that they are still out there, somewhere.

Temple Street is sometimes also known as Men's Street, in contrary to its famous alter ego Ladies' Street (女人街) on Tung Choi Street; often crowded due to the popularity and demand for women's clothes and well, the fact that the fairer sex is often the one inclined towards the shopping part.
Temple Street sports mostly men's fashion and accessories, and also the street singing/performances which is also slowly fading into the background, though there are still a few heard in the air, mainly put on by and for the avid older generation and the art enthusiasts.
It is great to see this spirit to keep the performing art going on and I am sure they will not let it just disappear with the past just like that.

For all it's worth, Temple Street is still basking in its glorious past with it still being the background of choice in the entertainment industry to depict the realistic scenes of Hong Kong in its heydays and today, based on the list of its appearances in Hong Kong's filmography.

That itself, is proof enough that Temple Street is always and will continue to be the legendary icon of Hong Kong.

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