Mar 28

Hong Kong Markets: Top Tips for Bargaining

Hong Kong markets are justifiably famous for retail bargains. From Ladies market, Temple Street night market, Stanley market, Jade market to Cat Street market, these street markets are a mecca for those seeking a deal. Here are some tips for getting the best price!

hong kong markets night

Do your homework

It’s a good idea to know roughly what an item might be worth before you start to haggle at one of our Hong Kong markets. Before setting out, visit fixed price stores and check online. You’ll be able to see the range of prices set for the items you have your sights on. Once you’ve got a ballpark figure to play with, head to your favourite Hong Kong markets and browse. You’ll soon get a feel of the going rate for that item you just can’t do without!

Give yourself time to settle in before visiting any Hong Kong markets

If it’s your first time in Hong Kong, then you’re going to be unfamiliar with the currency. You might also be unsure about the exchange rate. Give yourself time to get used to what the banknotes look like and what they’re worth in your own currency. If you really can’t wait to shop, then take a calculator with you. That way, you can be absolutely sure of what the price translates to back home. Always pay in the local currency, so that you don’t risk getting a poor exchange rate from the vendors!

Bear in mind what the item is worth

It’s tempting to think that the lower the price, the better the deal. In reality, you’ll want to take something home that isn’t going to fall apart straightaway. Think carefully about what you’re prepared to pay for that precious souvenir. Compare that to what it’s actually worth. Don’t expect to get huge discounts on authentic jewellery items and real gemstones at Hong Kong markets. If it’s cheap, it’s likely to be a fake. Don’t be fooled into thinking something’s valuable or an antique – it’s probably not.

Think about guarantees and warranties

It seems like a good idea to buy the latest electronic offerings in a big trendy city like Hong Kong. Remember, bargaining for such items in the city’s markets means that you’re not only leaving yourself vulnerable to poor quality, you’re also very likely to forgo any international warranty. Test your goods and ensure they function perfectly before buying. If the shops offer a guarantee, find out the conditions as well as the validity period. In such cases, don’t forget to ask for a copy for the original sales invoice as a proof of purchase.

Go in low at the Hong Kong Markets

Ask a merchant what an item’s worth. At Hong Kong markets, bargaining is the norm. You will be quoted a figure way in excess of what the seller actually expects to get. So, how low should you go? As a rule, try somewhere between a third and a half of the asking price. Offer with a smile and prepare to counter-offer until you reach a price that is mutually acceptable.

Be nice, but not over-friendly

There’s a trick to this. If you’re abrupt or rude, the seller isn’t going to like you enough to do a deal. If you offer a price that is unreasonably low, it may be regarded as an insult to the vendor and you risk getting yelled at in public. It helps to learn a few Cantonese phrases, such as “Hello (neih hou)?” or “Thank you (mh goi)” to show your interest in Hong Kong’s culture. But if you’re too matey-matey, drinking tea and sharing life histories, then it’s going to be harder for you to refuse a price that you know is too high. Balance is key at the Hong Kong markets.

Never promise to buy something you don’t want

It’s easy to get sucked into agreeing to buy something for a price that’s really too high. Never, ever make a promise that you don’t intend to keep. If you offer to pay a certain price at one of Hong Kong markets, think of that as a verbal contract. If the seller’s price is too high, buy some time by saying you’ll think about it or come back later. It’s also alright to walk away. If you can give the impression that you’ll give up completely, you may convince the seller that your final offer is better than nothing. But once you do that, you’re committed: if the vendor doesn’t call you back, that sale is dead in the water.

Don’t flash the cash

Looking like you’re worth a million dollars, dripping with jewellery and clad in designer gear, is only going to achieve one thing – the vendor is going to think you’re loaded. Keep it simple and don’t let on how much of a budget you’ve got. Pay with good old fashioned Hong Kong dollars too. Even if you do find someone who’ll accept credit cards (read: transaction costs which will be ultimately borne by you), you’re not going to get a great deal.

Choose the right time to shop

Early in the morning, vendors are likely to accept your offer as they consider it bad luck to refuse the first few businesses. The locals believe that quick sales in the morning implies a smooth and prosperous day thereafter. Hence you can always get a great discount at this time! As the day progresses, these vendors know that they have a steady stream of customers, so they’re not going to sell stuff for a steal. However, by the end of the day, they’ll be rushing to pack up. This means that they will be trying to close any deals in the shortest time possible. If you’re thinking of making a cheeky offer, this may be a good time to try your luck!

Where to find the best Hong Kong Markets

Here’s a list of some of the must-see Hong Kong markets and their nearest MTR station:

Cat Street Market 

hong kong markets antique-market-cat-street

Market Highlight: For treasure hunters seeking curios and antiques

Address: Hollywood Road and Upper Lascar Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island

Nearest MTR Station: Sheung Wan Station, Exit A2


Dried Seafood Street and Tonic Street

hong kong markets dried-seafood-street-market

Market Highlight: For traditional tonics such as abalone and ginseng

Address: Wing Lok Street,  Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island

Nearest MTR Station: Sheung Wan Station, Exit A2


Jade Market

hong kong markets best-shopping-market

Market Highlight: For lucky charms and jade accessories, including rings, bangles, pendants and earrings

Address: Junction of Kansu Street and Battery Street. Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

Nearest MTR Station: Yau Ma Tei Station, Exit C


Temple Street Night Market

temple-street-night-market hong kong markets

Market Highlight: Fascinating street night bazaar, from opera singers to fortune tellers to trinkets and Claypot Rice

Address: Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

Nearest MTR Station: Yau Ma Tei Station, Exit C


Bird Garden Market

hong kong markets yuen-po-street-bird-market

Market Highlight: For songbird enthusiasts or simply to witness the age-old Chinese hobby in action

Address: Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon

Nearest MTR Station: Prince Edward Station, Exit B1


Stanley Market

Market Highlight: Historic lanes packed with Chinese arts and crafts, furniture and souvenirs

Address: Stanley New Street and Stanley Market Road, Stanley, Hong Kong Island

Directions: Take Bus 260 from Central Bus Terminus, alighting at Stanley Village, Stanley Village Road.

Stanley Bus 260 Central Bus Terminus Big Foot Tour


Article by Big Foot Tour. For more tips and tricks to maximize your time in Hong Kong, join us on our top-rated Hong Kong Private Tour today. We highlight local cultures, introduce you to food that locals adore (read: no tourist traps) and share with you interesting stories of Hong Kong!

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  1. […] in Kowloon is perfect if you are looking to wander around our vibrant street markets and soaking up the local atmosphere. Many street markets are located within walking distances […]

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