Our visit to the Temple Street fortune tellers—plus what you can expect during your visit.
Temple Street Night Market is truly one of the top ten attractions of Hong Kong, with a lively vibe, lots of energy, and entertainment on every corner. It’s touristy, but don’t let that turn you off—it’s worth going even if just for the awesome atmosphere and photo ops.
Stretching from Jordan north into Yau Ma Tei, Temple Street Night Market is a long strip with hundreds of stalls, which come to life every evening when the sun goes down. Temple Street is a great place to walk around and buy souvenirs such as Chinese-style bags and purses, chopstick sets, teapots, t-shirts, magnets and wall hangings, but always negotiate the prices. There are also many ‘dai pai dongs’ or outdoor food stalls specialising in fresh seafood, especially crab, so pull up a plastic stool and enjoy a hot meal like the locals.
Around the Tin Hau Temple area you’ll find palm readers and fortune tellers, some of whom offer their services in English, but for something different you could leave your fate to a tiny bird in a wooden cage who will choose a piece of paper revealing your future.
As you walk, no doubt your ears will pick up the high-pitched whine of Cantonese opera being performed on a small stage. There are very few places left in Hong Kong where you can see traditional Cantonese opera without buying a ticket to a show, so be sure to catch this glimpse of the past. Drunken karaoke is also a fairly common sight later in the night.
A bit further north into Yau Ma Tei, but still walking distance, is the Jade Market, with hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of grades of jade—some in cheap trinket form, and some worth thousands. Unless you know about jade, best to err on the side of caution when shopping here. Be aware that the Jade Market is not a night market, and closes at 4pm.
The cooked food stalls that are on almost every corner of Temple Street serve up delicious local cuisine and have English menus for the tourists. They are all pretty similar, though Temple Street Spicy Crab, an iconic corner restaurant with a huge red crab on its sign, is very well known. The waiters can recommend dishes popular with tourists (think stir-fried noodles), but if you want to eat like a local, point to what you want from the big fish tanks, and try out crabs, crayfish, lobsters, and scallops.
Another popular dish of this area is Clay Pot Rice—a dish of rice, meat such as chicken or Chinese sausage, and a vegetable-like mushroom, all baked in a clay pot and served piping hot. Hing Kee Claypot Rice at 15 Temple Street is always crowded but worth the wait. Four Seasons Pot Rice—not to be confused with the Four Seasons Hotel—has been serving this heartwarming dish for decades.
In the heat of the summer, you may want to find some air conditioning, so cool down at Osama Tony which has a strange name but amazing dumplings.
Jordan and Yau Ma Tei are home to a sizable Nepalese population, so you can find some delicious curries around Temple Street if you’re not feeling for local Hong Kong food. Manakamana is very popular and has vegetarian and gluten-free dishes on their menu.
For a cocktail with a view, head to the stylish Horizonte Lounge with an awesome 270-degree panoramic rooftop bar at the Madera Hotel.
Staying in Jordan is not for people who want a little piece and quiet because this is one of the busiest areas of Kowloon. But if you like the hustle and bustle at your doorstep, then Jordan and Yau Ma Tei have some good options.
Shamrock Hotel is newly renovated and has larger than average rooms, with a fantastic location right on Nathan Road.
At the Nathan Hotel you not only get a Starbucks in the lobby but also a fitness center to help you burn off the calories eaten at Temple Street.
Noble Park Hotel is well situated, with easy access to public transportation and the main attractions, though the rooms are a bit of a squeeze.
At the higher end of the range is the beautiful Eaten Hotel which was recently renovated and has a fabulous outdoor swimming pool.
If you’re on a tight budget, try the funky Tempo Inn @ David Mansion which has small but brightly decorated rooms.
Don’t mind bunking it? The Yesinn @ YMT is a popular hostel with dormitory rooms as well as single rooms, and is right on Temple Street.