Markets are pretty much synonymous with Asia.
You think Asia, you most likely think of pushing your way through market streets crowded with throngs of people all bartering their way into the best fakes around. Whether this description is something you’ve witnessed in real life or just seen perpetuated in the movies, it’s TRUE!
The market culture is very strong on this continent and Hong Kong is no different. Stanley Market, Mong Kok Market, Temple Street Night Market – all major roads and crossways around the island that, come weekend mornings, find themselves packed to the brim with locals and tourists alike.
The Jade Market is one place I really regret missing. I’ve been before but really wanted to go back to experience it in all its green glory again. Unfortunately I couldn’t fit it in to my three weeks but there is always next time!
On Saturday, I headed south to visit the Stanley neighbourhood of HK and peruse Stanley Market. Stanley is one of the very oldest villages in Hong Kong. Official records date the village back as early as the Ming dynasty (1573-1620)! While it used to be a quaint fishing village, Stanley has grown into a beloved escape from the business of the city.
While I did get there a little on the late side (most shops close up by 6/6:30), I was able to hurry through the massive map of narrow alleys and hawkers selling their wares. Everything from clothing, jewelry, DVDs, leather goods, food, and Chinese antiques can be found on these streets. I even came away with a few great steals of my own!
The market was cool and definitely very large but I enjoyed my time exploring the tiny village of Stanley even more so.
First of all, have you seen anything more beautiful than these colourful fishing boats bobbing in the water at twilight?
I must have taken 50 pictures of them from different angles. I’ll spare you the repetition here.
After exiting Stanley Market, you arrive directly at the beach. If you stay on the sidewalk, you’ll walk down Stanley Promenade filled with al fresco restaurants and bars and patrons spilling into the streets, taking in the ocean air over a glass of wine.
Farther down, if you squint on your right, you’ll see a teensy tiny temple – Tai Wong Temple. It’s too small to go inside but if you bend down and peek in, you’ll see incense and offerings beautifully displayed. This temple is meant to be an ode to the days when Stanley was primarily a fishing village.
Keep walking and you’ll see Stanley Plaza, a large 5-story shopping mall with restaurants, souvenir shops, and beauty salons. If you hang a left, you’ll walk right past Murray House.
Constructed in 1844 and originally in the Central district, Murray house is one of Hong Kong’s oldest surviving buildings. It was named after Sir George Murray, a British soldier and politician. It used to be a former colonial barracks/officers quarters but now has been restored and hosts a few restaurants, bars, and shops overlooking the water. In 1982, it was decided that Murray House would be dismantled to open up land space in Central. The building was taken down brick by brick (over 3,000 blocks in total) and put into storage until 2001, when the Hong Kong government decided to restore the building and move it to Stanley, refitting the bricks together like a jigsaw puzzle!
Leading down to the water from Murray House is Blake Pier. Another originally-from-Central building, the Pier was established in 1909 as a ferry pier in Central and was originally named Pedder Wharf. It was renamed after the 12th governor of Hong Kong – Sir Henry Arthur Blake.
Finally at the end of the/my line is Tin Hau Temple which is a temple built in 1767 supposedly by a famous pirate! There are 70 different Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong but this one is the oldest. Tin Hau is the goddess of the sea so temples were erected in her honor to protect fishermen and villagers from storms and sea journeys.
Spinning this fan is supposed to bring good luck! I feel like my luck couldn’t really be any luckier, to be honest. I mean – here I am in Asia!