I did not know it first but this little expedition of mine to see the Flower Market on Prince Edward Road and the subsequent Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street gave me both joy and sorrow in a single trip. Both of these are in the same place, well, almost. To get there, just hop on to an MTR train, get down at Prince Edward Station and leave the station from Exit B1. Turn left, walk just a few steps and turn left again on Prince Edward Road. A 15 minute straight walk on this road will bring you to flower shops first, then a left turn into the main flower market, and if you keep walking straight without turning left you will reach the corner of Yuen Po Street from where you can climb a few steps up to enter the Bird Garden. The Flower Market is pure joy but the Bird Garden, at least to me personally, was a disappointment even to extent that I wished I had not gone there. Keep reading...
|Flower Market Prince Edward Road Hong Kong|
Flower Market in Prince Edward Hong Kong
|Colorful Cactus Plants in Flower Market Prince Edward Road Hong Kong|
The name "Flower Market" does not convey it all. The pavement and regular shops here sell pots with live herbal plants for the kitchen garden, bonsai trees, cacti (cactus plants), decorative plants of several varieties, seeds and bulbs, fertilisers, flowers both cut and live, and then some more. The word "amazing" does not even begin to accurately describe this place. Tourists come here just to see and take pictures but the locals come here to shop. And it is the enthusiasm of the shoppers here that makes this market tick. Life in Hong Kong is lived at a very fast pace but those Hong Kong residents who know better to slow down at times and to keep in touch with the things that matter, must be the regulars in this market.
|Herbs For The Kitchen Garden at Flower Market Prince Edward Road Hong Kong|
|Guamania Plant At 15 Hong Kong Dollars A Piece|
Prices of most of the merchandise on sale are marked. I cannot tell if bargaining happens because I did not try. Language barrier will be there. However, picking up a small plant from the display and paying the marked price will be easy unless one starts trying to get more information about the plant from the shopkeeper. Forget about buying something, window shopping here is great fun too. But I did feel jealous of those who were able to buy those beautiful plants to take home. I wished I lived in Hong Kong. Afternoon will be the best time to visit here because the market gets a bit too crowded towards the evening.
Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street
|Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street Hong Kong|
|Bird Merchants Waiting For Customers - Birds in Cages Hanging Above|
Now to the sorrow. I read in a tourist guide some good things about the Bird Garden, mainly something about 'bird enthusiasts' coming to the garden to proudly display the birds they keep. That is all an eyewash. The Bird Garden here is nothing but a marketplace where hapless birds are kept either in cages or outside with their feet chained to wooden or metal rods. Many have their wings already clipped so that they cannot fly away.
|Chained Parrot For Sale at Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street Hong Kong|
|Captive Birds For Sale at Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street Hong Kong|
The big & beautiful birds who get photographed more by the tourists are those unlucky ones who have to sit here for hours at a stretch with their feet chained down. I thought the owner of the bird will not even let the bird move a bit because that might disturb the overall display. It is pathetic and I could not believe how such a place can exist right next to the Flower Market. Why someone there is not protesting. After the first few displays of single big birds, I came to the inner market where caged birds were screaming to be freed, perhaps thirst and hungry too.
|Insects Sold As Bird Feed at Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street Hong Kong|
There were a few other shops where the live food for the birds had been caged - small insects and worms, sold by weight to the keepers of the birds. Those who run the pathetic show in this garden might as well call it a bird and insect garden and perhaps attract more visitors. I doubt whether too many local people visit this place. For a tourist, it is avoidable because visiting the garden will only make the suffering of the poor creatures last longer. It is not much of a garden anyway and has the feel of a full fledged market. Perhaps some customers looking for bird meat also buy their birds here. It was a mistake and I should have turned back after seeing the Flower Market. I did not know then.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|