Start at the (1) Western Market. This 1906 building in the Edwardian style used to house the neighborhood market but now is home to souvenir shops, fabric stores, and a handful of restaurants. Exit on the eastern side, onto On Tai Street and proceed along the street until reaching New Market Street.
Turn right here and walk down what is otherwise known as Bird's Nest and Ginseng Street, or (2) Wing Lok Street. Merchants have occupied the area since the mid-1800s and dry-goods sellers of all kinds are concentrated in the vicinity. At the end of New Market Street, turn left and go straight until you see Ko Shing Street, known for its vendors of traditional Chinese medicines. Follow Ko Shing around the bend until reaching Li Shing Street. Make a left here and at Queen's Road West, cross to the other side. Turning left on Queen's Road West, walk until you see the (3) shops selling incense and paper funeral offerings. These shops sell miniature paper representations of everything that an ancestor might need in the afterlife: three-story villas complete with swimming pool and household help designer handbags with matching shoes, motorboats, electric fans, and fine cognac.
After the shops, follow the sidewalk as it slopes upward and make a right on Hollywood Road. On the left will be a (4) public park, which is bordered on one side by Possession Street, the once-seaside-spot where the British first planted their flag when they claimed sovereignty over Hong Kong.
At Po Yan Street, take a right and then a left onto Tai Ping Shan Street. Turn right on Kui In Fong and proceed up to the (5) Museum of Medical Science (No. 2 Caine Lane) to learn about a horrible plague that struck the city. Come back down Kui In Fong, which turns into Square Street. Follow Square Street around until you reach (6) Man Mo Temple (Hollywood Road and Ladder Street), a famous landmark.
Cross Hollywood Road away from the temple, go down the steps until you reach (7) Upper Lascar Row. Turn left onto one of the most colorful collections of vendors in Hong Kong, selling memorabilia and bric-a-brac. At the end of the lane, turn left up the steps and left again to reach Hollywood Road.
This is the heart of the (8) antiquing district. Shop fronts display pottery, jade carvings, and other chinoiserie. Proceed down Hollywood to (9) Shing Wong Street. Follow this around as it turns into Gough, a street of low-rise tenements where the printing shops are quickly giving way to trendy shops and restaurants. For now, it's a charming mix of old and new, an oasis of quiet amid Central's towers, and the perfect place to end the walk.
Nat Geo Traveler All Access
Available in print and for iPad®! See destinations come alive with 360-degree photos, videos, and more!