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Exploring the streets of Sham Shui Po: A photo essay

By Gabriella Lynn 7 July 2022 | Last Updated 13 July 2023

Header image courtesy of Leo Cheng 

Recognised as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po is full of treasures. It’s the unofficial creative heart of the city, where local artists, artisans, and craft lovers hunt for materials and inspiration. Studios, Instagrammable cafés, and community art spaces dot the sidewalks, pumping new and stylish energy into the area.

That being said, the history of Sham Shui Po and its cultural heritage is not to be forgotten. Sitting on reclaimed land that’s over 100 years old, the district is densely populated with immigrants from mainland China and working-class families, many of whom seized the opportunity to open their own businesses, especially during Hong Kong’s textile industry boom in the mid-1900s. The craft stores and Michelin-recommended eateries you see in Sham Shui Po guides are decades-old, and historic sites like Mei Ho House and Lei Cheung Uk Han Tomb are landmarks worth visiting in the area, too.

Full of knick-knacks and everyday items, the streets of Sham Shui Po—many of which are lovingly nicknamed after the particular category of merchandise being sold there—are constantly bustling with life. For tourists (and some locals), it may be difficult to navigate through the maze of shops and crowds. Come with us as we dive into the vibrant community and explore Sham Shui Po’s nooks and crannies through images.

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Apliu Street

Packed with phone accessories, vintage cameras, audio equipment, watches, and SIM cards, Apliu Street is basically Taobao in real life. Whether you are just buying a new phone charging cable or digging for camera parts, the endless amount of merchandise is bound to keep you distracted. Beware of certain items with too-good-to-be-true prices, as they may be counterfeit or of lower quality. If you are looking for other electronics like gaming equipment and PC parts, check out Golden Computer Centre on Fuk Wa Street.


Ki Lung Street (Button Street/Fabric Street)

Local designers and sewing enthusiasts roam through the stores of Ki Lung Street on the regular. These street stands and brick-and-mortar shops specialise in fabric and textiles with various prints and textures, but others stock an array of knick-knacks from buttons and zippers to hooks and clasps. Even the most uncommon garment accessory can be found in a small cabinet somewhere here, and if you can’t, try Yu Chau Street or Nam Cheong Street. Most shops are closed over the weekends, but some stalls might still be open.

Here, there is no such thing as too many choices. Photo: Leo Cheng

Yu Chau Street (Bead Street)

Looking for arts and crafts supplies? Step into any one of the craft stores on Yu Chau Street and you will find bins filled with wooden, glass, or plastic beads; cabinets full of cute pendants and jewellery parts; as well as rolls of strings, chains, and ribbons. If you are ever feeling nostalgic, grab a friend to come here and make friendship bracelets together!

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When there are no customers, the uncles get to take a break. Photo: Leo Cheng

Nam Cheong Street (Ribbon Street)

Hit up Nam Cheong Street when you can’t find sewing tools and accessories anywhere else. Although affectionately known as “Ribbon Street,” Nam Cheong Street has a plethora of other fashion-related miscellaneous items besides colourful strips of fabric—think elastics, lace trims, handbag parts, embroidery threads, and belt buckles.


Tai Nan Street (Leather Street)

A fusion of new and old, Tai Nan Street is home to both indie stores and vendors that withstood the test of time. Out of the handful of leather shops and workshops on this street, the most iconic is definitely Luen Cheong Leather, a business established in 1948 that spans over three floors. When there, stop by a hipster café or check out an arts space.

A much-needed sugary refreshment on a hot summer’s day. Photo: Leo Cheng

Fuk Wing Street (Toy Street)

Whether you are throwing a party or buying gifts for children, Fuk Wing Street is a great option for shoppers who want to save some cash and fill up on affordable toys and collectables. Beach toys, plushies, figurines, puzzles, decorations, knock-off Lego sets, and more are either hung on poles above your head or displayed in cubbies or glass cabinets.

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Fuk Wa Street

Fuk Wa Street is the Ladies’ Market of Sham Shui Po. Once you make your way through the crowd of ladies, you can see racks full of baby clothes and lingerie and tables piled high with homeware, jade, and things for everyday living. Weekends are packed especially, and most shops close after dark, so plan ahead when you want to visit.

Five-dollar shirts. Photo: Leo Cheng

Cheung Sha Wan Road (Fashion Street)

Nicknamed Fashion Street, Cheung Sha Wan Road is not your conventional destination for “fashion.” Boutiques are usually frequented by aunties and grandmothers, who almost always have a natural attraction towards the “Super sale!” or “Super cheap!” (超平; ciu1 peng4) signs above the clothing racks. To all the avid thrifters and upcyclers out there, challenge yourself to uncover hidden gems on Cheung Sha Wan Road. Although most shops are wholesale businesses, some may also welcome retail customers.

Getting there

If you want to spend an afternoon in Sham Shui Po, travelling on the MTR is the most convenient. Exit C2 and A2 will take you straight to Apliu Street, and outside Exit B2 and D2 is Fuk Wa Street. Other exits (A1 to D1) run along Cheung Sha Wan Road.

Fuk Wa Street and Fuk Wing Street are on the north of Cheung Sha Wan Road, while Apliu Street, Ki Lung Street, Yu Chau Street, and Tai Nan Street are on the south. The wider Nam Cheong Street is more towards the east of Cheung Sha Wan Road and lies vertically down all the other streets (take Exit A or B to get there).

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A laidback grandma at heart, Gabriella loves to crochet, bake bread, and play Solitaire while listening to her 78-hour-long Spotify playlist. She enjoys all the simple things in life, but is also down to go crazy once or twice (or thrice) in a while.