Things to do in Mongkok, Kowloon

This article is on the things to do in Mongkok, Kowloon

It was Saturday.
I was dutifully dropped off in Kowloon by one of the airport shuttle bus. I've concluded that Kowloon has the most local elements that are worth seeing, considering my brief stay in Hong Kong. It was a decision well made.

Neon-bathed streets of Mongkok

Weekend congestion at Nathan Road

People Watching

The best way to get to know a new place is to people watch, and Mongkok offers a stirring experience when it comes to that. There are people on every street, alley, and corner, and since most of them are locals, you'd be able to get to know the people and their etiquette in no time.

Elderly men playing Chinese checkers on the side of a crowded street, because why not?


Street Performances

Street performances these days are hardly restricted to just singing and dancing. People are getting increasingly imaginative and bold, and so are the variations in their performances. Expect to see teenage boys juggling with footballs, older men preaching, smashing of wooden planks or glass bottles with unprotected body parts by citizens of any age and background, and many other unusual and eye-opening acts. It would have been enjoyable if the amount of tourists was cut down to half. Otherwise it's just an unbearable nuisance having to walk through the uncontrolled crowd.

Nevertheless, it would be a complete waste to not experience any of these when in Hong Kong. Head on to Sai Yeung Choi Street to have your mind blown.

Entertainers performing at the littlest space they could find

This basically took up two-thirds of entire street, causing a crazy and unnecessary obstruction


Ladies, good news! Mongkok is a haven for beauty-related products that are keenly priced and it would be wasteful to go home empty-handed. Regret walking past a shop without getting the mascara you really wanted? Fret not, because there are twenty more of the same shop 100 meters ahead of you.

The famous Ladies Market

Street Food

Unfortunately, the street food here aren't cheap, contradicting the way they ought to be (cheap, inexpensive, low-priced, and cheap). I would suggest heading over to the nearest Cha Chan Teng (tea-house/cafe) for a nice, hot bowl of Wonton noodles or duck rice instead (and a glass of HK milk tea, of course)

Hong Kong "street food"

This definitely looks more inviting

Sure, Hong Kong is a prominent and greatly-developed city. However, it is more of a destination for tourists than it is for travelers. Don't think I'll be heading back anytime soon!

Popular Shopping Malls in Dubai

This article is on the Popular Shopping Malls in Dubai

The lifestyle of those living in Dubai is ridiculously lavish. Teenage girls in Jumeirah drive around in their pink Audis and Ferrari convertibles. Meals at Dhs50 are considered as "budget food" and there is an entire carriage in the metro dedicated to Gold Class members only (comfortable, spacious seats with plenty of personal space - I know, because I unknowingly entered this section once. There are signs indicating an AED100 fine for non-Gold Nol card users here).

Thankfully, the areas outside of Jumeirah, Marina, and Emirates Hill are (unexpectedly) a lot more humble and liveable. If you do not earn in Euros or Dinars, or aren't looking to spend AED1500 a night for a palatial suite, chances are that you will be looking to live around Deira or Bur Dubai (I am currently staying in a decent 2-star AED200 hotel in Deira and I am gritting my teeth every night just thinking how overpriced things are)

Rants aside, Dubai is an awesome destination. Although I am supposed to be traveling on a shoestring, I experienced frequent breakdowns when window shopping in the malls. The self-conflict and constant battles aren't easy - I now find myself sitting helplessly among five pairs of branded footwear which I know would not be able to fit into my backpack.

It's Ramadan and sales are everywhere. Shopaholics would love it here as branded items (FCUK, DKNY, Coach, Massimo Dutti) are dirt cheap during sales. That said, the following are the best malls to shop at when in Dubai:

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is a must-go when in Dubai. Located right beside the almighty Burj Khalifa, tourists can feast their eyes on the fountain show on the 30-acre lake that takes place every half an hour after 7pm. The world's largest shopping mall is also the home to the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre as well as the Dubai Ice Rink.

Getting there:
Dubai Metro Red Line: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station

best shopping malls in dubai
Attractions in Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa

Mall of the Emirates

Another gigantic mall in Dubai, the Mall of the Emirates houses the first ever indoor ski resort and snow park in the Middle East and the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre.

Getting there:
Dubai Metro Red Line: Mall of the Emirates Station

popular dubai shopping malls
Mall of the Emirates

City Centre Malls

There are many branches of City Centre malls and I find the one in Deira pretty impressive. It has everything any shopper would need and there isn't a need to travel all the way to the city.

Getting there:
Dubai Metro Red Line: Deira City Centre Station

popular dubai shopping malls
Deira City Centre Mall

There are definitely many other malls worth going to given there is sufficient time (and if you will not get sick of shopping everyday). The Middle Easteners are particularly fond of the Dragon Mart situated along Al Awir Road which sells cheap Chinese products from machinery to building materials (you name it). Other malls worth mentioning are:
  • Wafi Mall
  • Al Ghurair Centre
  • Jumeirah Plaza
  • Ibn Battuta Mall
  • Dubai Festival Centre
  • Arabian Center

Happy shopping!

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