One of my favourite experiences in Hong Kong was walking through all the street markets. The city is so vibrant but these hustling, bustling streets are even more full on and brimming with life: dense crowds, colourful signs, haggling sellers, bright lights and strong smells, filled with cheap bargains, unusual delicacies, blatant fakes, wonderfully weird Asian products we rarely see in Europe, local specialties and tourist crap (I couldn't resist a gleaming gold plastic maneki-neko waving cat) alongside traditional souvenirs. Your eyes get tired from scanning the thousands of products jostling for your attention.
We wandered through the Flower Market by Prince Edward: a vivid jungle of exotic blooms from dozens of retailers and wholesalers, selling the largest orchids I've ever seen in every variation (boy do they love those humid, greenhouse conditions), potted plants, huge lilies and bunches of other cut flowers.
The nearby Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is a stunning little oasis in the middle of all the busy streets. Designed like a traditional Chinese garden and filled with dozens of chirping, singing and talking exotic birds, old bamboo birdcages, bags of insects and live food, groups of elderly men care for their birds, sell their wares and quietly sit listening to birdsong. It's rather special.
We stumbled across countless little food stalls, it seems around every corner there's a place selling dried seafood, fresh fruit and veg, peking duck, unidentifiable ointments and bags of weird dried things for medicinal food and ancient health tonics.
Feng shui followers see goldfish aquariums as a symbol of good luck, so there's quite a large pet trade in Honkers so we visited the Goldfish Market on Tung Choi Street North to check out all the massive cold water fish and colourful tropical species for sale.
The extreme haggling at the Jade Market was a memorable experience - as soon as we arrived we were grabbed and pulled in all directions with calculators thrust in our hands. You can barter and negotiate to your heart's content, play the stallholders against each other and basically name your price. The bright green stone is not only beautiful, it's also associated with long life and good health in Chinese culture and this is the perfect place to take a piece home: there are hundreds of stalls selling jade and jadeite in every form: bracelets, amulets, coasters, pendants, beads and traditional good luck charms. I bought plenty.