by Charlain Lim
updated by Lancy Huan
Taken from http://www.smarttravelasia.com/hkshop.htm
A dizzying guide to Hong Kong shopping, from bargain alleys, factory outlets and malls to designer brands. Watch for those big Hong Kong sales.
“YOU BUY now… show me your wallet.” This was the common refrain ringing in visitors’ ears for years. No longer. Hong Kong shopkeepers these days sport smiles that would shock the average Singaporean. This may be due to the buzz that keeps Hong Kong humming through recessions and flu scares, or just a new generation of wised-up shopkeepers turning on the charm. There’s no denying that the Hong Kong shopping experience is now one of the best and most varied in Asia. Yes, pottering about Tsim Sha Tsui’s fabled “Golden Mile” along Nathan Road, can still be fraught with peril – chiefly bait-and-switch, where the shopper puts money down for one model and is handed another. And your arm can still be twisted, literally, by the handbag sellers of infamous Ladies Market, Mong Kok.
Broadly, however, things are on the up and bargains can be had in this most extravagant of cities – if you know where to look (the Hongkong dollar is pegged at US$1 = HK$7.8). If you encounter any problems, simply call the Consumer Council hotline (tel:  2929-2222, e-mail: email@example.com or http://www.consumer.org.hk/). They take issue with strong-arm dealers and blacklist the worst offenders. Of course, with several outlets offering Internet shopping options you could just as easily opt for an afternoon of Hong Kong online shopping and bypass the touts and surly camera dealers. But where’s the fun in that? Grab a good map, print out this guide, don sturdy walking shoes and you’re ready to roll.
Shopping in Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay is eternally popular with local shoppers and tourists. Walk along the humongously wide zebra crossing outside Sogo, the Japanese department store (tel: 2833-8338, http://www.sogo.com.hk/) to find big names, small boutiques and bargain stalls, all in a tight cluster. Of course, it will still take you a whole day to walk through this shopping carnival. At the Level 9 “Event Hall”, special promotions and big sales are the fare with rotating sales on leather jackets, handbags, cosmetics, apparel and sports goods. Next to Sogo on Hennessy Road, the Sony Style HK flagship store on the 16th floor of East Point Centre (tel: 2882-0101, http://www.sonystyle.com.hk/) offers the latest state-of-the-art Sony products. (There’s another 6,000sq ft Sony Style in Mongkok’s Wai Fung Commercial Building, between Nathan Road and Sai Yeung Choi Street, easily accessed from the Mongkok MTR station Exit D1 or D3.) Pop into the World Trade Centre (http://www.wtcmore.com/), next to the Excelsior Hotel, for mid-range fashions. On the fourth floor you'll find a large Muji (http://www.muji.com.hk/), well stocked with clothes and also snacks and fast-heat TV dinners. On the fifth floor, right above (though you'll have to use the confusing elevators), is UniQlo (www.uniqlo.com/hk), with more attractively priced clothing, jeans, suits, blouses, and t-shirts. Coming down to the second floor, Pink Box is the place for that romantic gift (tel: 2506-3906, http://www.pinkbox.com.hk/).
Next to Sogo on Great George Street, the Island Beverley (tel: 2890-6823) and Causeway Place (http://www.causewayplace.hk/) shopping arcades are handy for trendy clothes and accessories. If you’re short on time, head straight to Island Beverley, featuring mainly local designers and imported Japanese and European clothing. You can get a pretty fashionable top or trousers for under HK$300 (US$38). Also, explore trendy shopping mall La Foret (http://www.laforet.hk/) behind Sogo for more fashionable items. From here, Fashion Island (Max Mara, Sisley, Benetton, Vivienne Tam and Gay Giano). Style House (Park Lane Hotel Shopping Arcade), Windsor House (tel: 2895-6796) and Hang Lung Centre (tel: 2890-5962) are good hunting grounds. Style House has the likes of agnes b, K-2 (tel: 2808-1407, http://www.kitterick.com.hk/), Ztampz (http://www.ztampz.com/), IKEA, HMV and more. Stop by for a break at the Park Lane's Cafe One.
Hang Lung Centre is a little thin on shops but you can still potter about and explore Sasa (a rip-roaringly successful discount chain for all things perfume and beauty related, with good testers too), Broadway and Sole Town (http://www.soletown.com.hk/) on the first floor, where you can find stylish, upmarket women’s wear and top shoe brands like Nine West, Enzo Angiolini, Lucky Brand Jeans, Steven by Steve Hadden, and Carolina Espinosa. Drop by Franc Franc (tel: 3427-3366, www.francfranc.com) on the second floor for some funky Japanese home accessories and stationery. Around the corner at 68 Yee Wo Street is the young and funky Delay No Mall by G.O.D (tel: 2577-6988, http://www.delaynomall.com/) where you can pick up obscure brands like Black Needle, CIRCLES, Dopie, Justin Davis, and L.A.M.B. Take a break at Canteen68 upstairs then continue your shopping extravaganza. Across the street, you can find youthful brand 2% (No. 4 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay, http://www.2percenthk.com/), where those yearly sales take up to 50 percent off. They have outlets in Tsim Sha Tsui and West Kowloon too.
Wander along to 51-57 Paterson Street to find the I.T. shopping buffet (http://www.ithk.com/). I.T. is a Hongkong trendsetter and has over 60 outlets around the city. Its brands include Comme de Garcons, Helmut Lang, Tsumori Chisato, Miu Miu, Paul Smith, Zucca and more. You’ll find I.T. (and i.t.) all over the place. Why the upper and lower casing? The lower-case i.t. has more brands for the younger set, like As Know As de base (tel: 2890-9636), b+ab, 5cm (tel: 2880-9336), Vivayou, Tsumori Chisato (tel: 2881-1348), Abahouse Devinette (tel: 2808-4698) and more. Check out big and little casings, as the youthful i.t. brands tend to be a tad cheaper. This company is not to be confused with Far IT that handles retail outlets for mid to top-end brands like D&G, and Versace jeans.
Aluminium Urban Living (tel: 2577-4766, http://www.hk-aluminium.com/) is a funky furniture design store at the Paterson Street and Great George Street intersection. For a foray into the digital world check out Artex Digital Equipment Co. (opposite Causeway Bay Station Exit E).
Causeway Bay’s big and teeming meeting ground is Times Square (tel: 2118-8900, http://www.timessquare.com.hk/). The place is a rendezvous spot for everyone from teenagers, to suits, to gawping tourists. It's tall, sleek and well stocked. Hang out below the giant video screen to watch the annual New Year countdown. As with New York’s Times Square (the inspiration for this festive tradition) the revelry is jolly, unrestrained and over-the-top. Small wonder then it’s called the Apple Countdown. At the Times Square mall you’ll find upmarket flavours at Lane Crawford (tel: 2118-3638, http://www.lanecrawford.com/) with its dizzying array of posh brands like Hugo Boss, Burberry and Alberta Ferretti. When it comes to 70-percent-off crazy sales here it can still cost around HK$500-900 for a pair of ladies shoes. Other popular stores in Times Square include the Spanish fashion chain Zara and CitySuper supermarket.
Fancy some crazy Japanese inventions? Check out the Times Square’s JC Shops (tel: 3102-2783, http://www.jcshop.com.hk/) and JC Ladies (http://www.jcladies.com.hk/) at Level Nine (Shop 919). They stock stuff like Surf Boy Indoor Surfing Machine (HK$4,680), Magic Wand Ultrasonic Massager (HK$1,980), Hello Kitty AV products (HK$1,680-$3,380) and plenty more to keep you and your wallet entertained.
Times Square also offers a good selection of jewellery. Trendies can head to J’s (tel: 2115-9035), Just Gold Just Diamond (tel: 2601-1822, http://www.justgold.cc/), Emphasis (http://www.emphasis.com.hk/) and fun, Greek watch shop Follie Follie (Shop 507, tel: 2506-1165).
If you’re a shoe buff called Imelda but without the unlimited war chest, there are lots of cut-price alternatives in Times Square. Check out Joy & Peace (tel: 2506-2872), Pedder Red, Mirabell, InNiu, Zara, Killah, agnés b, Anna Siu, Camper or the extremely comfy offerings at Aerosoles (www.aerosoles.com). It is also worth exploring the area behind Times Square, particularly Sharp Street (where the Holiday Inn Express is located) and Yiu Wah Street. You won’t be disappointed if you are looking for local designer fare and imported clothing, accessories and shoes. Try Olivia Couture (tel: 2838-6636, www.oliviacouture.com) for gorgeous evening dresses and Qi Pao.
At the corner of Sharp and Percival Streets is the Lee Theatre Plaza, featuring a huge Muji shop on the third floor, a three-storey Esprit with an Esprit Hair Salon on the second floor, and a handy offering of furniture shops and restaurants. Also, opposite the plaza, there is the newly opened Timeplus mall. Like the Island Beverley, it offers fashionable items at affordable prices. Visit King Silver (Shop F23, tel: 6386-3864) for silver necklaces and accessories. Look for young fashion at AnM (Shop S08), A@N (Shop F34) and Glamour & Girl (Shop S07). Not far is the crowded alley of Jardine’s Bazaar where you'll find all manner of bric-a-brac, cheap clothing and women’s wear accessories. Hole in your tights? Jardine’s Bazaar has your size.
And that’s not all.
If you have a pooch or feline in tow, pop by the Dog One Life (tel: 3105-5550) at 459 Lockhart Road near Sogo where every imaginable pampering and product is on display for your pet. Raining cats and dogs? Get a shampoo and blow-dry, and a taxi home. A couple of blocks away on Gloucester Road is the trendy and amazingly friendly My Check Box (G/F 228 Gloucester, tel: 2892-8842), where retailers rent small transparent plastic boxes mounted along all the walls of the shop, to display their wares. Find anything from shoes and handbags to dark glasses and t-shirts. Spot a second-hand pair of high-heels once worn by actress-singer Candy Lo.
At 56 King’s Road North Point, Mountain Services Outdoor Boutique (tel: 2541-8942) specialises in outdoor and travel gear, the shop sources new and high-end items from around the world. Products range from fleece and Gore-Tex garments and thermal underwear to headlamps and anti-shock poles for hiking.
Beatnik (using its old name again after a brief outing as FATTO AMANO, tel: 2881-7153), is on the ground floor at 32 Graham Street Central. It specialises in secondhand American '70s t-shirts and informal wear, priced anywhere from HK$80 to HK$1,000 depending on pattern, quality and stock. Starting prices for vintage leather jackets are from HK$980.
New Zealand Focus (439-445 Hennessy Road, MTR Causeway Bay Exit B, tel: 2151-0652) sells food products, drinks and natural health and skincare products from New Zealand. Open 11am-10pm daily. The charming The Gems has moved from Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wanchai to Causeway Bay (1 Lee Garden Road, tel: 2890-3068, http://www.thegems.com.hk/). The shop stocks a range of colourful and tasteful Tibetan woollen and cotton clothes for men and women. There are also some crystal accessories and embroidered Tibetan woollen boots. The sizes are often odd but there's always something that fits and the prices are very reasonable. A Chinese-style blouse might start at HK$130 up and a woollen jacket could be upwards of HK$450.
Shopping in Central, Admiralty, SOHO, and Wanchai
The upwardly mobile will rush to Central where, along with tossing their husbands’ lifetime pensions into a shopping black hole, they can see and be seen. The mother lode of top-drawer brands in Hongkong is the trio of Landmark, neighbouring Prince’s Building and the stylish Chater House (tel: 2500-0555, http://www.centralhk.com/) where you can have your unhurried fill of Armani, Prada, Dior, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Max & Co, Polo Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Celine, Ermenegildo Zegna, Escada, Gucci, Versace and so on. Several of these outlets have been dramatically reinvented, the latest being the newly opened Gucci flagship store next to the Landmark Mandarin Oriental on Queen’s Road Central. Louis Vuitton has pride of place at the corner of Landmark fronting Pedder Street. Chater House includes several Armani options including flower arrangements and some fabulously expensive home furnishings.
Apart from the shopping, the Landmark is a popular meeting point. Hungry? Visit ThreeSixty (3/F and 4/F, http://www.threesixtyhk.com/) for organic foods and wines, “earth-friendly” household products and other healthy and environmentally friendly options. ThreeSixty also offers an extensive range of take-home and ready-to-eat food meals. Their food hall is worth a visit, although watch out for the suit-wearing lunchtime squash.
Around the corner at 10 Queen’s Road Central is the giddy Bape Store (tel: 2868-9448, http://www.bape.com/), brainchild of Japanese fashion icon Nigo, complete with the big gorilla logo at the entrance. Walk in to a minimalist white store with a glass floor and conveyor belt underfoot carting bright walking and sports shoes priced at upwards of HK$1,000. Go ape here with jeans at HK$2,000 and up, and t-shirts at upwards of HK$400. That's a lot of cash for a splash of style jet-fresh from Japan. A men’s bag will set you back a hulking HK$1,300 up while a regular lady’s t-shirt is a wallet-popping HK$600. Or try on the jeans for size at HK$2,470 up. Close by, the retro Design Link (11 Duddell Street Central, tel: 2868-0991) is worth a look-see.
Also on Queen’s Road Central is Marks and Spencer’s flagship store (tel: 2921-8059) – a huge complex of food, men’s, and women’s fashion, including a comprehensive lingerie section. Come here for a fix of shortbread or bulk buy English breakfast tea bags. You’ll also find staple Indian curries, wines, and chocolates.
Across Pedder Street, facing Landmark, is the graciously ageing Pedder Building which stocks an array of clothing outlets and niche boutiques. Occupying the ground floor and basement, Shanghai Tang (tel: 2525-7333, http://www.shanghaitang.com/) offers brilliantly hued silks for all occasions, from gowns and figure-hugging cheongsams to jackets and pajamas. Launched in 1994, Shanghai Tang is a Hong Kong landmark and it’s hard to walk in without picking something up. Never mind the wallet. This flagship store occupies 12,000sq ft on two floors. Take your time, rummage about, grab an eye-catching gift. Check out the new Shanghai Tang store at Pacific Place Mall in Admiralty, or shop on the fly at its airport outlet.
One floor up in the Pedder Building, Blanc de Chine (tel: 2524-7875) offers a more refined, tempered translation of Chinese high fashions. Fronting the chic, new Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Queen's Road Central, a breezy Central addition is the 60,000sq ft Harvey Nichols (http://www.harveynichols.com/), spread over five floors. It offers a huge range of luxury brands, competing with the famous Joyce Boutique (tel. 2810-1120) across the road.
Nearby, Western bolt-hole for cheap, fast-fashion, H&M, at 68 Queen's Road Central (tel: 2110-9546, www.hm.com) created a stir when it opened in early 2007, with patrons camping out overnight to be the first to get in and grab the freebies on offer. It remains a favourite with the budget conscious.
Funky luxury brand Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream flagship store (tel: 2526-7166, www.bbcicecream.com) at 14 On Lan Street is the pet project of American singer Pharrell Williams. Currently just for men, Billionaire Boys Club is packed full of bright, idiosyncratic clothes and accessories.
Walk down Stanley Street, and you’ll come across Aberdeen Street and a few others like it that climb up in steps from Central to the fashionable Mid-Levels residential area. Party costumes and wigs abound. Check out the old lady selling famous “century-old” eggs at HK$10 for four. It must be pointed out this is an acquired taste. On Hollywood Road you’ll find antiques and art galleries galore. G.O.D (Goods of Desire, tel: 2805-1876, http://www.god.com.hk/) is the spot for original Hong Kong themed fashion and interior products, a heady blend of the trendy, the retro and the kitsch. Other outlets in Causeway Bay and TST's ferry-side Harbour City. In the SOHO area look out for Homeless (29 Gough Street Central, tel: 2581-1880, http://www.homelessconcept.com/) that has a wicked assortment of knick-knacks for all tastes. Lots of fun shopping options from solar-powered night lights and iPod accessories to funky home décor items. Homeless has several outlets around town. Amours Antiques (G/F, 45 Staunton Street Central, tel: 2803-7877) is small but packed with curios ranging from antique radios and crank-up telephones to jewellery and dresses. And ecols (8-10 Gough Street, tel: 3106-4918, http://www.ecols.biz/) displays elegant homeware using recycled materials.
If you’re ploughing through a full-blown mid-life crisis or just need respite from the relentless wallet bashing in Central, wander up Old Bailey Street to The New Age Shop above Hollywood Road (tel: 2810-8694, http://www.newageshop.com.hk/). It houses an interesting assortment of books (nirvana, auras, philosophy, anything really…), CDs, crystals and visiting psychics.
Stop off at pop bites for a humungous slice of cake before you trek onwards up this steep street. Olympia Graeco-Egyptian Coffee at the top sells some of the best make-at-home coffee in Hongkong. The shop owner mixes his own special blend (Java Mocha for just HK$60 per pound, tel: 2522-4653) and both man and shop are Hong Kong institutions, selling bags of beans, medium ground and fine ground since 1955.
For secondhand English language books and music (and more New Age stuff) try Flow Organic Bookshop (tel: 2964-9483) along Shelley Street and the Mid-levels escalator.
In Sheung Wan, the Protrek shop at 156-157 Connaught Road Central (tel: 2850-7900) has a range of outdoor equipment, including hiking poles. The store is one of a number of outlets around the city – others include the one at 46 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai (tel: 2529-6988) and another in Kowloon at 522 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei (tel: 2332-8699).
Apart from their fine restaurants and bars, nearby Elgin, Staunton and Gough Streets in the SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) area offer a variety of shopping options ranging from designer clothing to household products. Check out Meraviglioso (25 Staunton Street) for upmarket women’s fashion items imported from Europe. Prices here are 20 to 30 percent lower than for exactly the same thing in Harvey Nichols. For local designer fashions, check out Ranee K (47 Staunton Street) or SPY Henry Lau (21 Staunton Street). Lianca Central (27 Staunton Street, tel: 2139-2989, http://www.liancacentral.com/) does designer-style leather handbags at affordable prices. Tree at 22 Elgin Street offers nice and simple home furnishings and accessories, all made from reclaimed wood or eco-friendly sources (http://www.tree.com.hk/).
Amongst the packed bars of Lan Kwai Fong some good shopping material has squeezed in. Crocs (tel: 2810-0469, http://www.crocs.com.hk/) has a store here, along with a Calvin Klein Underwear outlet and a smattering of upmarket boutiques. Trek further along Wellington Street to source even more kooky shops selling unique, some handmade, creations that will have you wondering whether you are in capitalist Hong Kong or the bespoke backstreets of Florence.
Also in Central, for avid golfers, there’s Central Golf on the ground floor of the Bank of America Tower on Harcourt Road, Central (tel: 2140-6633, http://www.centralgolf.com.hk/), which offers a wide range of apparel and clubs and even has three practice bays. At Unit 2001 United Centre in Admiralty you'll find Golf Town (tel: 2527-8180, http://www.golftown.com.hk/) with a good range of golf equipment, clubs, balls and accessories. Golf Town also has outlets in Causeway Bay on the ground floor of Leighton Centre and in Hankow Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.
In the Admiralty area is one of Hongkong’s most popular malls, Pacific Place (http://www.pacificplace.com.hk/). It is accessible, busy and well stocked with more designer labels than you could shake a stick at. This is a safe and sober starting point if you're looking for the latest digital cameras and photo supplies. For the latest cameras, SLRs, video cameras, fun gadgets, TVs and mobile phones check out Universal Audio and Video Centre (they have a branch in IFC Two as well). Pacific Place mall includes top designer brands like Dior, Agnes b, Vivienne Tam, Max & Co, Celine, Chanel, Bally I.T, La Perla, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermes, and a few mid-market brands like Zara, Mango and French Connection FCUK. There is a large Lane Crawford store as well as a Seibu department store. Lane Crawford has an expensive and extensive furniture gallery here too. Military buffs and those looking for quality replica miniature hand-painted toy soldiers need only pop into King & Country (http://www.kingandcountry.com/) at Pacific Place for a peek back in time. Great renderings, and expensive. Pacific Place mall fashionistas can also expect Ermenegildo Zegna, AIX Armani Exchange, D&G Dolce & Gabbana, Daks, D'urban, Joyce, Just Cavalli, Prada, Anteprima, Kookai, Miu Miu, and Shanghai Tang. Jewellery and watch company options include BVLGARI, Cartier, Chopard, Frey Wille, Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Looking for a Hong Kong bookstore? Try the excellent Kelly & Walsh. Music at Hong Kong Records, and sound systems, if you have the money and moxie, at Bang & Olufsen.
Lane Crawford runs a chic new spacious outlet on the third floor of the gleaming IFC Two (tel: 2295-3308, http://www.ifc.com.hk/), which also features a range of luxury brands such as Lanvin, Prada, Georg Jensen, Bulgari and Loewe. Tech-buffs should breeze through Oregon Scientific (right above City Super, http://www.oregonscientific.com.hk/) where all manner of drool-worthy items are on offer including weather clocks that also plot the phases of the moon. A Philippe Starck designer clock will set you back just around HK$730 and a finger-pulse checker and calorie counter around HK$210. There are several jewellery stores on the IFC's second floor and a selection of trendy stores such as Zara, Agnes B, Mango and Patrizia Pepe on the first floor. This is where Agnes b La Loggia (Shop 3089, IFC Mall, tel: 2805-0678, www.agnesb.com) has set up a mammoth 15,000sq ft flagship store. Agnes b has a global travel store at Hong Kong International Airport as well. Try Teuscher chocolate from Switzerland (tel: 2462-6432) at Shop 2006 (don’t miss their famous Milk Champagne Truffles). Specialty jewellery shops include Jan Logan (Shop 2089A, tel: 2918-4212), Qeelin (Shop 2059, tel: 2389-8863), ARTE (Shop 2004A, tel: 2295-3980, www.arte.com.hk) and Thomas Sabo (Shop 1002B, tel: 2295-3585).
In Wanchai at the Convention Centre (near the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel) is the evergreen Hong Kong Trade Development Council Design Gallery (tel: 2584-4146, www.hkdesigngallery.com) with an intriguing collection of odds and ends from picture frames and fashion accessories to soft furnishings and laptop speakers. The gallery’s mission is to promote creativity and innovation and all products are locally designed.
Close by is the China Resources building which houses the multi-floor Chinese Arts & Crafts (tel: 2839-1888, http://www.crcretail.com/) a longtime Hongkong staple. The place showcases clothes, furnishings, jewellery, jade carvings and artefacts. The group has stores at Star House (Tsim Sha Tsui) as well as in Pacific Place (Admiralty), and on Queen’s Road Central.
Furniture and home interior buffs should wander along Queen's Road East for a range of fashionable, high and mid-range options. Check out the sleek Asian-inspired Ovo (G/F 16 Queen's Road East, tel: 2526-7226, also with an outlet G/F J Senses, 60 Johnston Road, http://www.ovo.com.hk/), Aluminium (Shop F, G/F Queen's Centre, 58-64 Queen's Rd East, tel: 2577-4066, http://www.hk-aluminium.com/), and the eclectic Flea + Cents (1/F, 36-40 Queen's Rd East, tel: 2528-0808, http://www.fleancents.com/) for secondhand western design curios at somewhat inflated prices. There’s a good run of rattan furniture shops along here too. If you’re searching for a good wool shop to finally knit those woollen sweaters for the kids, try the well stocked Cheer Wool Company Limited (G/F, 48-62 Hennessy Road, tel: 2527-3901, http://www.cheerwool.com/). And just across the street is medimart (G/F No. 2 Johnston Road, tel: 2866-8608, http://www.medimart.com.hk/) with a wide array of rehabilitation equipment and medical supplies. You'll find walkers, wheelchairs, bed pans, and aluminium walking sticks that double as foldout stools. There is another medimart at 1065 King's Road, Unit D, G/F Eastern Centre.
Wanchai is also home to a wide range of sports shoes, tennis shoes and funky casual wear for all occasions. For those interested in buying shoes in Hong Kong, or trendy sports shoes, from Reebok, Puma, Nike and Adidas to outlandish brands and designs, or good sturdy classics like Clarks, scout along Johnston Road and the side streets spiking away towards Queen's Road East. For mountaineering gear, snow apparel, backpacks, hiking shoes, sleeping bags and climbing gear, try Mammut (261 Queens Road East, tel: 2783-0788). They have a shop in Kowloon too, at 9/F, 610 Hollywood Plaza, Nathan Road, Mongkok.
The basement of Emperor Group Centre, 288 Hennessy Road, houses an entertaining, and cheap, Jusco $10 Shop, and a secondhand record shop – that’s right, real LPs at Time Traveller, though the name is displayed only in Chinese, 2pm-8pm, Basement 07. Another place for a great music selection is CD and DVD shop Rock Gallery Record Co. at Tai Yao Plaza (181 Johnston Road, tel: 2572-9630). Expect everything from Moody Blues, Cream, Taj Mahal and Traffic toYanni. Less known for its intellectual pursuits, Wanchai does have its very own hidden away The Book Attic (tel: 2259-3103, http://www.bookattic.info/) with a selection of secondhand books and a passionate, ever cheerful, owner willing to chat at length to any wandering soul.
Shopping on the Peak and in Stanley
While enjoying some spectacular postcard views of Hong Kong, drop some change at The Peak Galleria and The Peak (http://www.thepeak.com.hk/). In addition to the souvenir shops there’s casual wear at affordable prices at Baby Kingdom, a Dymocks bookshop and a Luk Fook jewellery shop. Farther south, head out for a stunning drive by taxi or bus (Numbers 6, 6A, 6X and 260 from Central) to Stanley. A former fishing village and now a full-fledged shopping and tourist area with bric-a-brac stalls, fancy restaurants and a beach, Stanley is a nice half-day outing. In the thrum of the t-shirt and handbag stalls look for electronic oddities at EXCLUSIVE (Shop B&C, Yau Wing House, No. 34-36 Stanley Main Street, tel: 2813-2730). It stocks Chinese-made massagers, mini radio-controlled helicopters, video cameras, spy pen cameras and laser show devices. Pick up a small whirly for the outdoors for HK$300 (though the asking price could be double that). Bargain hard. Also on Hong Kong’s south side, in Ap Lei Chau, is Horizon Plaza with several floors of antique and furniture warehouses like Shambala (2/F, tel: 2555-2997, http://www.shambala.com.hk/) and Tequila Kola (1/F, tel: 2877-3295, http://www.tequilakola.com/). You’ll need to take a taxi here. About HK$70 from Central. Another option in Horizon Plaza is Rimba Rhyme for furniture and home accessories (5/F, tel: 8330-8100).
Shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui and Kowloon
Tsimshatsui is well known for brand shopping, especially around the vicinity of five-star hotels like The Peninsula, The Langham, and the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel. Should you be Internet inclined, log on to the Peninsula Boutique (http://www.peninsulaboutique.com/) and browse their selection of gifts and goodies including chocolates, teas and gourmet coffee. Specially wrapped packages can be delivered to any point in Hong Kong.
The latest feather in the Tsim Sha Tsui cap is the stunning 1881 Heritage (http://www.1881heritage.com/) development at 2 Canton Road, on the site of the former Marine Police Headquarters. This colonial confection includes a grand central square with fountain and stretches from the road to the top of a hillock. A new Shanghai Tang store (G/F House 1, 2A Canton Road, tel: 2368-2932, http://www.shanghaitang.com/) occupies pride of place in a historic brick building near the entrance, facing the Rolex and Tudor watches showroom at 16-18, G/F, 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road (tel: 2723-3088). This area is a three-minute walk from the Star Ferry. Also find Dunhill, IWC watches, Cartier and other luxury brands. Elegant curved staircases rise up two levels to a white colonnaded building atop the rise. With the uplights on at dusk, it is a striking tableau.
Designed to reflect the five Chinese elements of fire, water, wood, earth and metal, the 825,000sq ft Elements shopping mall, above Kowloon Station in TST, offers an eclectic, designer brand mix of Zara, A/X, Armani, Coach, DAKS, DKNY, Cartier, H&M, Tiffany & Co and more. Tired of shopping? Head to the lively "Fire Zone" at Elements to take in movies, an ice skating rink and music concerts. Get your bearings first. The mall is vast. Information boards could be better placed and better marked. The maps display shop numbers though none of the shops actually carries any number at its entrance.
Harbour City (tel: 2118-8666, http://www.harbourcity.com.hk/) is a huge shopping mall with conglomerates like Lane Crawford, City Super (tel: 2375-8222, http://www.citysuper.com.hk/), LCX (tel: 3102-3668, http://www.lcx.com.hk/) and Facesss (tel: 2118-5622) – a giant store that brings nearly all the notable skincare and cosmetic brands in one place. City Super offers food-court style dining but at fancier prices. Nip in for a rest and a bite. For cards and wrapping paper, check out Papyrus. Next door is the colourful and playful Pylones (3229 Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, tel: 3188-5928) with hand-painted umbrellas, crazy serving spoons and forks, and bright nail brushes. Alessi (tel: 2175-0800), the adjoining shop, has its usual mix of quirky steel wine bottle cork screws. There are also quite a few children’s wear and toy stores in Harbour City. Places include Nicholas & Bears (http://www.nicholas-bears.com/), Oshkosh B'Gosh, Chickeeduck, Kingkow (http://www.kingkow.com.hk/), Toys “R” Us (http://www.toysrus.com.hk/) and more.
At 5 Canton Road you'll find the flagship Louis Vuitton superstore (tel: 2736-0007, open 10.30am to 9.30pm) with everything from its signature monogrammed bags to shoes, glasses and fashion accessories. There is a more intimate LV shop at The Peninsula hotel as well. Across Canton Road road at Silvercord (http://www.silvercord.hk/) you’ll find an extravaganza (http://www.extravaganza.ws/) outlet and an I.T. Sale Shop (tel: 2377-9466). The latter offers 70 to 80 percent off on the last season’s offerings. Other young fashion outlets include Nike, Izzue, and Underground.
One Peking Road nearby has a slew of upscale outlets like Dior, Celine, Escada, Fendi and Zegna. Across the road, on the ground and first floors of the Sun Plaza, you’ll find a big DFS Galleria (http://www.dfsgalleria.com/), offering designer brands from around the world. In Sun Plaza’s basement there are fashion outlets like D-mop, Twist, a.y.k, Kitterick, DaDa and many others.
The Belgium Diamond House (previously Hong Kong Professional Jewellers) can be found in the New World Shopping Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui (tel: 2369-2233). Pick your own diamond and observe the setting process. There is a new Sogo between the New World shopping centre and the Space Museum (all are easily accessible and connected by the underground Tsim Sha Tsui MTR and East Tsim Sha Tsui station walkway).
Is everything expensive in Tsim Sha Tsui? Far from it. Avoid the rip-off electrical and camera outlets of Nathan Road and walk on to Granville Road. If you’re coming here by underground train (MTR), take the B2 exit at Cameron Road. Granville Road is where you’ll find a huge assortment of garments that won’t hurt your wallet. Blouses and shirts start from HK$30-$40 though you can come across tousled items for less than $20 in must-sell-today cardboard boxes.
Explore the export fashion shops like Uno Oun, Sample Nook, Westwood, Stock Made, Lok Wah Top Place and more. Check out Lung Shing Dispensary (tel: 2367-9274) for a variety of low-cost skincare and hair-care products. Similar shops include SaSa and Bonjour, and upstairs outlets such as Queenbee, Tectonic, Trippy and Japan Retail (JR).
The newly opened four-storey gi shopping arcade at 34-36 Granville Road (“gi” stands for granville identity) is open from 12pm to 12am (tel: 3188-5273). You’ll find skincare and cosmetic products on the ground floor, accessories on the first, clothes and shoes on the second and household products on the third. Visit Shiru (http://www.shiru-cosmetics.com/) on the ground floor for high-quality Japanese cosmetics at very reasonable prices. On the second floor look for shop 226 that has friendly staff and sells items from L.A.M.B (not the Gwen Stefani clothing range) at 50 percent off. At Shop 101, Tern Commercial Building (39-41 Granville Road, tel: 2367-0893), is the outlet for Hidehiko Yamane, a trendy Osaka fashion house, formerly displaying on Gloucester Road, Wanchai. Funky stuff galore. Check out embroidered charcoal and dark-blue denim jeans for men and women (starting at about HK$1,500) and printed t-shirts (from HK$380). The shop on the second floor is open late till around 11pm.
Turn into Granville Circuit at 52A Granville Road for Rise Shopping Arcade. This place is similar to Island Beverley in Causeway Bay with lots of local designer shops and imported fashions. Check out Gaite or W for some handmade bags. Hitomi is always popular for office dresses and suits. You’ll find Japanese fashions at Low B Club (owned by the popular Hong Kong Canto-pop duo the Twins). Also check out Des.sert for funky clothing and costumes. At 81 Chatham Road and again at 19-23 Austin Avenue, around the corner, you’ll find outlets for funky and pricey t-shirt and embroidered jeans labels EVISU and RMC at 1001 (tel: 2375-3010, http://www.rmcmartinksohoh.com/). Some of the more elaborate jeans will be upwards of HK$2,000. There's a 1001 store selling Red Monkey creations in Central as well at 43 Wellington Street, G/F Sun Lee Building.
For fast and fancy tailoring, drop by famous Sam's Tailor (tel: 2367-9423, http://www.samstailor.com/) in Burlington Arcade, off Nathan Road. The unassuming Sam’s has stitched outfits for Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Luciano Pavarotti, Serena Williams and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others. Manu Melwani will offer you a beer or a Coke while you fuss over your fitting (24-hour suits start at around HK$2,500). Tsim Sha Tsui is also good for elegant leather shoes and sports shoes. Tsimshatsui East offers further low-end browsing possibilities at places like Peninsula Centre (clothes, handbags, Japanese restaurants and even a horologist – Berne Horology, tel: 2576-8668 – where you can haggle over clock and watch repair). Cheap Hong Kong shopping and quick bites continue at Energy Plaza and Inter-Continmental Plaza/Toyo Mall nearby.
Tsim Sha Tsui has several camera and photo supplies shops but care should be taken, especially at camera shops on Nathan Road, Kowloon, where "bait and switch" tactics have been employed in the past. Never put money down as a deposit or advance for any electronic item until you have seen and established that it is the one you want. Shopping Hong Kong for bargains is great but keep your eyes open and your wits sharp.
Megabox (tel: 2989-3000, 38 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay) really is a bright red box – and huge. It’s tedious getting there but when you do arrive (take the regular, free shuttle bus from Kowloon Bay MTR Exit A) you’ll find the only B&Q in Hong Kong, for all the DIY you can handle, and Australia’s largest chain of fabric, craft and home ware, Spotlight. If you are beginning to lose track of time and space, distract yourself with the excellent UA cinema and IMAX theatre. And if that isn’t enough there’s an international sized ice-skating rink and the largest single-storey book “city” in Hong Kong, Popular Book Store (http://www.popularworld.com/). Plenty of parking and vast kid’s, eating and general fashion sections will keep everyone happy for at least a week.
For shopping nuts there is the opportunity to visit two out-of-the-way shopping malls in one trip. Telford Plaza (http://www.telfordplaza.com/) is located next door to Kowloon Bay MTR station. Take a whirl round here before taking the shuttle bus to Mega Box. Just add a hotel in the middle and you need never leave.
Hong Kong bargain shopping in Mongkok
There is more than a bit of the Wild West in Mongkok but this is the place for rock-bottom deals on anything from fashion to mobile phones and electrical appliances. This is another hot spot for digital cameras and videos. Take the MTR E2 exit and walk into Yau Shing Commercial Centre on your left. There are six floors selling cameras, digital videos, DVD players and other appliances. On the 16th floor you have Global Audio (tel: 2399-7486/ 2789-1665), 13/F Radio Unison (tel: 2393-6381), 9/F Cam2 (tel: 2787-0173), 8/F Super King (tel: 2391-5331), and 7/F International (tel: 2191-5801). Prices vary but do bargain stoutly. Some products here do not have warranties so do check this aspect as well.
If you’re in a rush, pop into a Broadway (tel: 3188-0288, http://www.ibroadway.com.hk/) or Fortress (tel: 2781-1730, http://www.fortress.com.hk/) in Sai Yeung Choi Street and you’ll certainly find your gadget. Or try Wing Shing Photo Supplies Co. (tel: 2396-6886).
Walk along Nelson Street, and the first street parallel to Sai Yeung Choi is the Ladies Market where you’ll find bargain clothes, bags, toys, VCDs, fake Rolex watches and so on. The next parallel street is Fa Yuen Street South, which specialises in sports shoes and sportswear. At the MTR Argyle Street D2 exit, you’ll find Argyle Centre, which sells cheap fashion items – a t-shirt will set you back at just HK$30 (US$4). Another street which sells similar items plus some export or import fashion is Fa Yuen Street North (MTR B3 exit). Check out Me & George Import Shop (there are two, both next door to each other and a smaller version in Central, 9 Li Yuen Street West. Their second hand or factory-second prices start at HK$5 – no kidding, but you’ll have to rummage.
On Argyle Street is the Commercial Podium Sincere House (tel: 2390-4379). In local Cantonese it is referred to as “Sin Tat”. Here you’ll find all manner of mobile phones and accessories. Some shops do trade-ins and warranties are not always available. Langham Place (http://www.langhamplace.com.hk/) on Shanghai Street is a humungous hi-tech mall hosting over 100 trendy boutique stores, such as the likes of Seibu, French Connection, H&M, Muji and a cinema. The mall also features the 83m "xpresscalator", a speedy way to get from the fourth to the eight floors. Mong Kok, or Mongkok as it is commonly written, is a warren of shoe shops amidst the electronics extravaganza. If you are buying sports shoes in Hong Kong, this is the perhaps the best place to head to for a deal. You'll find Adidas, Reebok, Puma, Nike and more. Check around to make sure the brand is legit.
Also slugging it out are French cosmetics giants Marionnaud Paris (101 Nathan Rd, TST, tel: 3541-9651) and Sephora (Hollywood Plaza, 610 Nathan Rd, Mongkok, http://www.sephora.hk/) that promises a user-friendly hands-on experience. The Sephora store is huge and will appeal to the younger set.
Kowloon Tong & Festival Walk shopping malls
Another vast Hong Kong shopping mall is Festival Walk (tel: 2844-2222, www.festivalwalk.com). Take the C exit at Kowloon Tong Station. This is a great spot for the family with ice-skating at Glacier (HK$50 for most sessions, except morning sessions on Mondays to Thursdays, which are HK$45), junk nibbles and more. Though books are not cheap in Hongkong, drop by Page One (tel: 2778-2808) and enjoy their café. A coffee starts at around $30, but beware their surly no returns policy (receipt and packaging notwithstanding). Major stores include Marks & Spencer, Log-On, Franc Franc, Toys “R” Us, Royal Sporting House, Glacier, Christian Dior, Coach, IT, H&M, and more.
Nice suits are available at G2000 (http://www.g2000.com.hk/), Cour Carre, Mexx, Club Monaco, Moiselle (tel: 2265-8282, http://www.moiselle.com.hk/) and Brooks Brothers (tel: 2778-0200). A personal favourite is Giordano Ladies (tel: 2928-2208, http://www.giordanoladies.com/). Men can meanwhile find other distractions at Bang & Olufsen.
Hong Kong Computer Shops and Computer Games
The most popular establishments are Wanchai Computer Centre (MTR A4 exit), 298 Computer Zone at 298 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Windsor House in Causeway Bay (MTR E exit, floors 10-12), Mongkok Computer Centre, and Golden Computer Arcade and Shopping Centre in Sham Shui Po (MTR D2 exit). A Mongkok megastore is Digital Pavilion (Shop 25, Basement 2, Langham Place) where you'll find high-end video mobile phones, speakers, LCD displays and assorted hi-tech gadgetry for home entertainment.
Apple Computer shops have had mixed fortunes in Hongkong but there are some good vendors at Windsor House like the briskly run Designer Group Company Apple Centre (11/F, tel: 2504-4122) where staff speak decent English. They also have an outlet in the IFC (Shop 2012, IFC Mall, tel: 2295-4488). If you're around Wanchai, a friendly option for software is Advance Software (Shop 226 2F, Wanchai Computer Centre) run by the personable Maggie Tse (tel: 2591-5201). On Wanchai Road you'll find the Oriental 188 Shopping Centre, another first-floor rabbit warren of computer games, gaming devices, hand-held devices, secondhand CD and DVD shops (where you can also sell your old music), miniature toy soldiers and transformers, toys, action figures, mobile games, SONY PlayStation stuff and XBox 360 Live accessories.
Hong Kong Sunday and Weekend Markets
The Sunday market outside the Gold Coast Hotel in Tuen Mun sells handicrafts and clothing accessories. You can get there on a HK$10 shuttle bus from Tsuen Wan MTR station (B3 exit). Of a weekend you might wish to venture on to Pokfulam Market (tel: 9247-5635, openairhk.com) on the first Sunday of every month on Hong Kong's quiet residential west coast with an open-air grassy spot at Level 4 CyberPlaza, Cyberport 2. Or try the Peak Galleria Market.
Last Minute stuff and Duty-Free Shopping at Hong Kong Airport
Last-minute shopping is always possible at the Airport Express Hong Kong or Kowloon Stations (http://www.mtr.com.hk/). Above Hong Kong station you have the IFC mall (tel: 2295-3308, http://www.ifc.com.hk/), which carries Fancl House, Origins, L’Occitane, CK Jeans, Mango, O.Z.O.C, Links of London, Swarovski, Papyrus. Visit Dickson Warehouse (tel: 2109-3700, http://www.dicksoncyber.com/) in Tung Chung for renowned brands at clearance prices.
Should you find yourself on Lantau island before your departure, another option is the Citygate Outlets (tel: 2109-2933, http://www.citygateoutlets.com.hk/) in Tung Chung. The five-level mall, attached by a walkway to the Novotel Citygate Hong Kong, is only 10 minutes from the airport by taxi or S1 airport bus. Open from 10am to 10pm, the mall includes a host of discount shops and factory outlets selling Vivienne Tam, Laura Ashley, Esprit, Levis, Le Saunda, Joy & Peace, Quicksilver, Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Timberland, Columbia, Aji Ichiban, Fortress, and SaSa. Other choices include one of the first Jill Stuart factory outlets in Hong Kong, an I.T outlet, a Polo Ralph Lauren factory outlet, Lancel, Lanvin, Bally, and Kate Spade. Discounts may range between 30 and 70 percent.
And if you’re long on conscience and short on time, there’s always duty free shopping at Hong Kong International Airport’s refurbished SkyMart in the departure area and the new SkyPlaza located in Terminal 2 (http://www.hongkongairport.com/). Both offer acres of space and browsing before your flight. This is the place for duty-free shopping at Hong Kong airport. The SkyMart has a “Downtown Pricing Guarantee” that the price you pay for a product will be the same as for an identical product downtown. The SkyPlaza includes shops like Adidas, Calvin Klein Jeans, Chanel, Mango, Swatch, Coach, Hermes, Ermenegildo Zegna, BVLGARI, in base, Baleno and Giordano. Duty-free prices are competitive with Singapore and Dubai though electronic items can be a tad high-priced at times. Pick up a duty-free Ferragamo silk tie at Hong Kong airport for about HK$1,200, a Zegna tie for HK$1,250 or a BVLGARI Rose Essentielle eu de parfum 50ml for HK$630. A Dior J'adore 50ml eau de toilette is HK$540 while both a one litre 12-year-old Chivas and a one litre Johhnie Walker Black Label are priced at HK$265.
Take your pick – Hong Kong has it all.