Along the main thoroughfare in Kowloon stretches Hong Kong’s must-see shopping lane – Nathan Road. Bounded by Boundary Street in the north and Salisbury Road to the south, this hundred fifty year-old section is framed above by neon lights in true Hong Kong style.
Named after the former British governor, Sir Matthew Nathan, in 1909, the area was the northern limit of the colony prior to the signing of the 100-year New Territories lease in 1898. Even before being returned to the administration of the PRC government, there remained few reminders of the colonial past. The hustle of a typical Hong Kong market had long before replaced any stately British influence.
Today, Nathan Road is one of Hong Kong’s busiest commercial areas. At the lower end is the Golden Mile section, a name no longer much in use. Here are the shops topped by neon signs prominent in so many photos of the district.
Naturally, the bartering is intense and tourists should be cautious not to get ‘a deal’ that turns out to be slightly less than was explained. But bargaining with the native shopkeepers is all part of the fun of shopping in Hong Kong.
Crowded with visitors, you’ll find a huge variety of goods for sale. Some of the cheapest cameras, camcorders, and watches anywhere in Asia line the shelves. But sometimes cheap means inexpensive and other times it simply means, well, cheap. Buyer beware.
Besides consumer electronics goods are boutiques, perfume shops, restaurants, and street vendors of every shape and color. If you just have to buy a pair of shoes at midnight, Nathan Road is your destination. If you want that hand bag that is available nowhere else at a price you can’t believe, this is the spot.
Jade, of course, is a staple of the area. The Jade Market is up Nathan Road to Kansu Street in the Yau Ma Tei area. There are ornaments, jewelry, and even raw jade for sale.
There’s even a Dutch South African camera shop for those who want to bargain with a native who is a native of another country. Formerly called Van Der Merwe, it now goes by the name P.C. Cheng (Koos). Located at No. 2 Humphreys, just look for the South African flag hanging outside.
Take a break from the frenetic shopping experience and visit nearby Kowloon Park. Take in the minarets outside the Jamia Masjid India Mosque, a local Chinese Muslim gathering place. Have some lunch at one of the many tiny shops selling beef noodles. Or, if you prefer, try one of the Nepalese or Pakistani restaurants that dot the streets.
Even if it’s only for the pleasure of people watching and delighting in the dancing lights on the harbor at night, Nathan Road is an excellent attraction to add to your Hong Kong vacation.