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Yau Ma Tei / Jordan: Top 10 Attractions & Things to do (apart from Temple Street Night Market)

Yau Ma Tei, or Jordan as some people call it, is a historic neighbourhood in Kowloon with popular attractions like Temple Street Night Market. It's one of my personal favourite areas to photograph as it has a very nostalgic old Hong Kong vibe, especially at night. Here are my picks of the best things to do in Yau Ma Tei!

   Top Things to Do in Yau Ma Tei

1. Absorb the lively atmosphere of Temple Street Night Market

Temple Street Night Market becomes alive every night around 6pm, when all the souvenirs stalls are well set up. You'll probably recognize this place by the photogenic Chinese-style entrance gates, which, by the way, were not added until 2010. If you ask me, it's one of the least "local" markets you'll come across in Hong Kong, but it's just something you have to do as a first-timer to the city.

The area around Temple Street is filled with buildings from the 60s, shop signs and "street workers", and just like what's in the crime movies, this area is pretty seedy (but safe nowadays), but believe me, you would not want to miss this place if you are a photographer or Hong Kong movie lover.

2. Look for iconic neon signs before they are gone

Yau Ma Tei used to be characterized by having a lot of neon signs. Before the 90s, it was quite common for restaurants and businesses like sauna and night clubs to put up giant neon signs to attract customers. Since the regulations on shop signs were changed in the 2000s, most of these huge signs have been taken down, and it's your last chance to capture these iconic signs before they are completely gone.

3. Visit the century-old Tin Hau Temple Complex

Of course, there has to be a temple that Temple Street is named after. The main temple of the Tin Hau Temple complex was constructed in 1876. It was the place where local fishermen in Kowloon worshiped the goddess of the sea and prayed for safe voyage. The complex also includes three other temples, and an exhibition centre with an insightful introduction to the Chinese worship culture.

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4. Try out Claypot Rice

The northern part of Temple Street has a few stores specializing in claypot rice, including Hing Kee, Four Seasons and Wang Hing. Even though they are not the best in town, it's a very convenient location for you to sample the popular Cantonese dish at a reasonable price. The rice is cooked in claypot over charcoal, and it's topped with your choice of ingredients like Chinese sausage and Cantonese cured meat. The best part of this dish is the layer of crispy rice at the bottom. Yum!!

5. Stroll along the local market on Reclamation Street

Yau Ma Tei might be best known for Temple Street Night Market, but there are actually a lot more markets for you to explore. The outdoor wet market along Reclamation Street is one of my personal favourites. The whole setting greatly remind you of what the old Hong Kong is like. It's been operating for over half a century, and it's still a popular place for local residents to shop for fresh produces.

6. Shop for Jades at the Jade Market & Jade Street

Yau Ma Tei was once a major centre of jade trade from the 70s to 00s. In traditional Chinese culture, jade is believed to promote good health and wealth. There are still numerous jade shops along the a section of Canton Road known as Jade Street and over 400 stalls at the Jade Market. The market is a great place for you to get some affordable accessories and decorations.

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7. Take pictures with the century-old Yau Ma Tei Police Station

The old Yau Ma Tei Police Station was constructed in 1922. It's one of the last surviving European-style buildings in Yau Ma Tei. Having a beautifully-designed corner main entrance, it's been featured in countless local movies. Make sure to stop by and take picture with this handsome old building!

8. Fruit shopping at Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market

This place is Hong Kong's major wholesale market for fruits, and it was founded in 1913. Apart from wholesale business, they do have different retail shops. It's always packed with people in search of high-quality fruits at a much cheaper price (those from Japan are definitely locals' favourite!) Even if you are not interested in fruit shopping, it's worth it come here just to have a look at the historic warehouses.

9. Learn about the history of the Yau Ma Tei Theatre

Yau Ma Tei Theatre was built in the 1920s and it's the only pre-war cinema buildings in the urban centre of Hong Kong. Cinema buildings like this were once very common, and there used to be around 5 of them in Yau Ma Tei alone! In its declining days, it mostly screened pornographic films before it was closed down in 1998. It's now been revitalized as a performing and training venue for Cantonese opera performers, and there is a free exhibition for those who are interested in its history.

10. Browse for cooking utensils at Kitchenware Street

There is a small section of Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei known as “Kitchenware Street”. It's where you can find a number of stores selling all sorts of kitchen goods. It's an interesting place to walk by and you'll see a lot of cooking utensils commonly used in local restaurants, like huge chopping boards and Dim Sum steamers.

   Tips for Visiting Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

1. How to get to Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon?

There are many buses and minibuses passing through the Yau Ma Tei, but the easiest way would be going there by metro. All attractions are walkable from Jordan station (closest to Temple Street Market), Yau Ma Tei station (closest to the Fruit Market) and Austin station (closest to Temple Street Market).

2. Is Temple Street Night Market and Yau Ma Tei safe to visit?

Yes, even though Yau Ma Tei is formerly known as a hotbed of crime, it's generally a safe place. Just take usual precautions and avoid walking alone at night.

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