Drifting though residential alleyways topped with laundry canopies, birds tickle your ears with song as you near one of Hong Kong’s greatest marketplaces. The Bird Market is a unique cultural hobby where birds are bought and sold not for their appearance, but for their voice. Typically popular with older men, they gather early in the morning to share their songsters with fellow friends. Much like westerners taking their dogs out for walks, men will promenade with their prized bird around the plaza stopping to exchange stories along the way.
Stretched among 70 stalls, feathered beauties from Australia to East Africa display their rainbow coats and choir-like voices. As you stroll throughout the stalls, ornate bamboo cages hang over your head as porcelain feeding dishes call to your fingertips and live crickets await their destiny.
Located along Yuen Po Street, the garden was built to replace the old, maze-like Bird Market, which was closed down during the worst Bird Flu outbreaks. Despite the remnants of warning signs at a few market stalls, the government reopened the market when the flu was no longer a threat.
To hear Hong Kong’s songbirds, get off at Prince Edward MTR Station and take exit B1. Walk East along Prince Edwards Road and turn left onto Sai Yee Street. Make a right onto Flower Market Road and walk to the end of the street. The market is typically active from 10am to 6pm.