Location: Hong Kong
Give me 30 seconds:
*I must preface, forgive me if I sound redundant with the "Hong Kong Island Side" and "Kowloon Side" wording. This was the toughest part of getting around for me because I was never sure if something was on one side or the other and even though the subways are efficient, I want you to make the most of your time and not get lost and frustrated like me!
- If you plan to go to any night markets, street markets, make sure to have cash on you. Its easier to negotiate with cash.
- Highly suggest breaking down WHAT you would like to purchase, and then map out WHERE it is. This way you won't find yourself trekking back and fourth between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
- Hong Kong loves their luxury and their malls. You can find malls off of almost every MTR stop. Obviously, you can not bargain here.
- HONG KONG ISLAND SIDE: SoHo is the South of Hollywood Road and has upscale restaurants, boutiques and swanky nightclubs. In Wanchai, off of Queens Road, a Okashi Galleria x Calbee Plus shop opened up with fresh made potato chips served with soft serve. Delicious! But I am saving that for a separate HK Food post.
- KOWLOON SIDE: If bespoke is where your mind is, go to Sam's Tailor. Popular with the men but also does ladies attire as well! Don't get drawn in by the other people on the street who try to lure you into their tailor shops. There are a ton in this area. They do require one fitting so if you plan to have something custom made, try to go at the beginning of your trip so that they can complete it by the time you leave.
- HONG KONG ISLAND SIDE: Stanley Market is in a small fishing town along the seaside and has great souvenir shopping. Its more low key and less stress than the Ladies Market or the Temple Street Market, but nothing will be like my souk shopping in Marrakech!
- KOWLOON SIDE: SIM city is a local spot for electronics, mostly camera and computer items. You can find great deals here, but do your research beforehand. Most of the camera items are previously owned. Beware of warranties and make sure, if you purchase one, that it has international coverage, not just Hong Kong.
- Watch your purse and personal items, especially at the outdoor markets; pickpocketing is a common problem.
- HONG KONG ISLAND SIDE: Island Beverly in Causeway Bay is a great shopping mix for Japanese and Korean designer finds to unique jewelry and handbag gems; all at a mid range price point. Right across from SOGO.
- KOWLOON SIDE: Ladies Market in Mongkok is tourist central where you can find counterfeit handbags and cheap ladies clothing, jewelry and random other kitschy items. I'd say its not really worth going to unless you want to pay 3 times as much for junk that will break in two seconds.
- KOWLOON SIDE: Temple Street Night Market in the Jordan area has a similar feel to the ladies market with bustling street vendors with plenty of pirated DVDs, toys, clothes and electronic gadgets. Again, for actual shopping purposes, I'd skip, unless you're in the area and want to check out the hustle and bustle of the area. The market is best between 7-10pm. I went around 5pm and they were just starting to set up.
- There is no tax, except on cigarettes or wine.
- The best 3 items to buy in Hong Kong are: Clothing, Cosmetics and Electronics.
SHOPPING OVERLOAD is the first thing that comes to mind when I think back on my shopping tendencies in Hong Kong. I asked all of my fashionable friends, Hong Kong local friends, and traveler friends for all of their suggestions on places to shop in Hong Kong and they each came up with completely different lists.
I must admit, I was really overwhelmed with all of the options and places to go but I knew I didn't want to shop for items and brands I could find in the US, like Adidas and Nike and Prada and Saint Laurent. And let me tell you, there so many Nike and Adidas shops! One after another! When I was at Mitsukoshi in Japan, they had a floor dedicated solely to emerging designers on the contemporary level from all across the world, at to me, that was gold. More from my Japan trip here. Since the weather in Hong Kong can be temperamental and rainy, (And we even use the umbrellas when its too sunny) they have a vending machine solely selling umbrellas!
Here, I broke down the shopping by area:
- Mong Kok, in Kowloon: a shopping area that preserves Hong Kong's traditional characteristics with an array of markets, small shops, and food stalls.
- Sham Shui Po, in Kowloon: a heaven for market lovers, famous for its vast amount of gadgets, electronic appliances, and computer products at competitive prices.
- Causeway Bay, on Hong Kong Island: a tiny portion of the entire Hong Kong shopping scene, (probably my favorite!) with high-end malls, mid-priced boutiques, affordable department stores, as well as bargain street markets. SOGO department store is a great mix between Japanese and European items; and there is a grocery store in here! I also love Island Beverly for its quirky Asian boutiques. Reminds me of my time shopping in Harajuku in Tokyo.
- Central, on Hong Kong Island: Hong Kong's business and financial center with luxury boutiques and large shopping malls.
- Tsim Sha Tsui, in Kowloon: a luxury shopping area with many high-end boutiques and swanky restaurants.
Specialty Markets in Hong Kong (listed in order of preference)
- Jade Market: Slightly difficult to find, but its a great market with a stall after stall selling jade items. Some of the vendors can be a little pushy so make sure to have your negotiating skills on point. Also do some research on jade before hand as there is plenty of fake jade being sold there as well.
- Goldfish Market, Kowloon: Pretty cool two block stretch of goldfish hanging in plastic bags up for sale. You can buy luck-bringing goldfish and other tropical pets.
- Flower Market, Kowloon: Since I wasn't buying any flowers, I went to see the array of types of florals that arrived here for sale. Its not wildly impressive, but still interesting to see.
- Yuen Po Bird Market, Kowloon: A block away from the Flower Market. You will see a variety of birds in beautiful old style cages as well as the elderly people who bring their birds to the market and mingle.
Shopping Malls in Hong Kong
- Landmark, on Hong Kong Island: Right off the Central MTR stop and connected to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, here you will find international luxury brands and fine restaurants.
- Times Square, on Hong Kong Island: One of the busiest malls in Hong Kong with shops from mid to luxury level with local and international brands.
After an entire day of walking, shopping and exploring (about 11 miles of walking!), I got the best foot massage and cozied up in my fuzzy robe and prepared for my next day adventures.
It will sound silly, but shopping can be a really overwhelming activity in a city like Hong Kong, but just try to narrow it down by area or experience. I promise you will come back with more haggling memories or lucky cats than you bargained for.
As aways, GO JETSETAWAY!