Thursday, July 05, 2018

Hong Kong: Goldfish, Flower, and Bird Market

We spent a week in May exploring the urban jungle of a city that is Hong Kong. Suffice to say that we took so many photos and even more potential topics about our visit that it's almost too daunting to start this series. But if I get the ball rolling...

Perhaps if I begin by featuring our visit to three quirky markets that were adjacent to each other: The Goldfish, Flower, and Bird Market.

I first heard about the Goldfish market many years ago so when we pencilled in a trip to Hong Kong this was one the first ones I've jotted in as part of our itinerary. Despite the name 'Goldfish' they sell so much more than that but practically anything that is alive and can be kept in an aquarium. So it's an aquatics market, but there's something very quirky about this living pet fish market...

They sell practically everything in plastic bags!

Going around and asking locals, apparently turnover of fish pets sold are very high as keeping an aquarium in apartments are good feng shui, believed to bring wealth and balance of elements (water, and the colour of 'gold' fish helps). Plus with the very high population density of this small Chinese territory, there are plenty of customers demanding fish pets. 

Anyone who has kept tropical fish might squirm at the idea of putting exotic fish in a bag (putting goldfish in it as was seen on fairgrounds seems bad enough) as they are expensive at least in the west and sensitive but there are no exeptions here.

Perhaps mortality rate is high too? We didn't dare ask but thankfully we didn't see any belly up ones during our visit.

Now on to the flower market. Again it appeals to the feng shui culture with it symbolising earth. But feng shui or not, plants and flowers does appeal to practically everyone. In a city that nearly everyone lives in an apartment, houseplants are very popular and for those fortunate enough to have balconies, is a perfect place to spruce up with a plant or two. And of course, there's the constant demand for cut flowers.

Have to say there's nothing unusual in the flower market on a plantsman's point of view but it's great that they have this to give supply to the local people. This market won't exist if the locals don't like plants afterall.

Now on to the Bird Market. Again keeping birds are believed to bring good fortune to a home and good feng shui so it's not entirely a surprise they have this market too. Have to say I'm not a fan of seeing birds in cages but there are plenty who do especially in Hong Kong. We have seen groups of bird keepers intermittently during our stay in the city congregating and taking out their beloved feathery pets for a stroll and fresh air.

These three markets in one general area are fascinating to explore and well worth including in your itinerary if you visit Hong Kong.

If you noticed I mentioned the three elements, now I'm wondering if there was a 'fire' market. Aparently the colour gold symbolises fire, so keeping a goldfish ticks two elements. And so we go on a full circle.

Mark :-) 


  1. Fascinating but also a bit sad. I look forward to seeing the rest of the photos from your trip.

  2. I was prepared to see the birds being sold in plastic bags as well. Is that what's happening in the image of the man holding the bagged bird? You're probably right that the mortality rate for some of those fish must be pretty high.

    1. Almost Peter, the man after selecting his bird purchase bought it home in a net bag...

  3. Fish in bags and birds in cages, it is a bit crushing. Can’t see the plants or flowers having too rough a go of it though.

    1. Agree with you on all of that. It was all very eye opening, fish and birds anyway.


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