Hong Kong is truly a shopper’s paradise. From the many street markets offering a chance to barter for a bargain, to the countless high class malls filled with designer shops, there really is something for everyone. All year round, you will find stores offering sales and discounted goods, while haggling in the street markets will guarantee that you bag a bargain. What is more, because Hong Kong is a free port, most goods are sold free of tax or duty.
For the first time visitor to Hong Kong, it can be pretty difficult to work out where to start shopping, and the short answer would be ‘anywhere’, as the shopping all over Hong Kong is great. However, you may prefer to head towards the most popular shopping destinations in Hong Kong, namely the districts of: Central, Admiralty and Causeway Bay.
Central is the main government and business district of Hong Kong. Despite the focus mainly being on business, the area also has plenty of fantastic shopping malls including: The IFC, The Landmark, Central Precinct, Prince's Building, Alexandra House, and the International Finance Centre. Designer clothing shops and exclusive brand stores are scattered everywhere in the Central precinct, which is also a great area to shop for cameras, antiques, books, curios and furniture.
The Admiralty district of Hong Kong is a small shopping and business district located between Central and Wanchai. The district is home to two main shopping malls: the Queensway plaza, which is situated directly above Admiralty MTR train station, and one of the best high-class shopping malls in Hong Kong, the Pacific Plaza. The Pacific Plaza boasts more than 130 top-end retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Armani and Chanel, as well as smaller individual boutiques, restaurants and a six screen Cineplex.
Causeway Bay is a rabbit warren of streets crammed with small family run shops and stalls. The area has a number of good quality shops, selling a range of goods and is particularly good for fashion, sports goods, household items and electronics. Kingston Street is probably best known as ‘Fashion Walk’, a street full of hip and trendy shops and boutiques selling the latest looks and trends. There are many shopping malls in the area, including the World Trade Centre, Times Square, the Caroline Centre, the Lee Gardens and Fashion Island. Causeway Bay is also home to SOGO, the largest department store in Hong Kong – with over 13 floors of goods it could take you a lifetime just to explore the store.
If you have an eye for a bargain and have the skills to negotiate a great price, the best place to head to is one of Hong Kong’s many traditional street markets.
There are plenty of markets to choose from, but a great place to start is the ever popular Ladies Market. Located in Kowloon, on Tung Choi Street in Mongkok District (two blocks east of Mongkok MTR station), Ladies Market is literally crammed with all sorts of clothing (despite its name, the market also sells clothes for men and children) along with shoes, bags, soft toys, rugs, watches etc. It’s a great place to find bootleg or counterfeit designer goods. Be sure to exercise you haggling skills to push for a bargain (and check your change as some unscrupulous stall holders will try to slip in old Chinese currency which is not legal tender in Hong Kong.) During busy times the market can get pretty crowded, as any spare space is taken up by items that are available for sale, so expect to get pushed and jostled, but it will be worth it if you manage to get that perfect bargain.
Temple Street Night Market
Another great market in Kowloon is the Temple Street Market, a lively and colorful night market that has hundreds of stalls selling everything you can think of from clothes to kitchen ware and everything in between. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the market gets into full swing around 7pm. As in all of Hong Kong’s markets, haggling is important here. Some goods may have prices marked on them, however if you employ excellent haggling techniques, it is possible to negotiate these prices down.
Temple Street market also offers a great choice of street food with a wide variety of stalls selling all sorts of delicious delicacies. A wonderful place for people watching, the market offers an authentic flavor of old Hong Kong. Here, it is possible to find stalls for traditional Chinese medicine and street dentistry; you can even have your fortune told by mystic Chinese astrologers. If you are lucky you will also catch live street performances by Cantonese opera singers.
Electronics stores are everywhere in Hong Kong. Most department stores sell electronics and there will be a branch of the Fortress or Broadway chain stores (electronic specialists) in almost every shopping area. However, the stores won’t necessarily give you the best price and so for the best deals head to Nathan Road in Mongkok. Along Nathan Road and its sides streets in Tsim Sha Tsui (located just around the corner form the Ladies Market) there is probably the greatest concentration of electronic stores in Hong Kong.
Before heading towards Nathan Road, it is a good idea to know what you are looking for and know the price that you will pay for these goods at home (this way you can ensure that you really are getting a bargain). Once you have negotiated the perfect price, check that any warranties available cover your home country and that the voltage and plugs will fit your appliances at home.
Finally, keep an eye out for the Quality Tourism Services logo. The QTS mark is administered by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and is only awarded to retailers who have proven that they have high standards of service. When you see the QTS mark you are guaranteed that the shop is selling genuine products and you will receive a standard of service that you can trust.