Hong Kong has a long, long history as an international centre of trade and residents who are completely passionate about shopping. The dedication to trading and vast array of items to be found here, including many rarely found outside Asia, see tourists head to Hong Kong from around the world carrying empty suitcases to take advantage of the exciting shopping opportunities. From world-class air-conditioned malls full of high-end brands to street markets selling traditional medicine and bric-a-brac, you can find it all in Hong Kong.
With no sales tax or import duty, the most up-to-date cameras and electronics are always high in demand and there are more jewellery stores per square mile than any other city in the world glittering with precious stones and metals, as well as classic, modern and oh-so-gorgeous timepieces.
Those with an eye to clothing too have a veritable cornucopia of choices, from factory surpluses in the street markets, to tailors who can rapidly create the perfect business suit or stylish dress, to the luxurious feel and rainbow of colours found in silk chinoiserie, as well as cutting-edge designs from local designers.
Other popular items include collectible toys, with specialities including limited-edition figurines and the latest gadgets and games, Chinese and other oriental arts and crafts, calligraphy scrolls, silks and porcelain.
Significant savings can be found in the winter and summer sales in the larger shops, department stores and shopping malls.
Where to Shop
There are far too many intriguing shopping areas in Hong Kong to mention, however, some great places to explore include the art galleries, antique dealers and curio merchants on Upper Lascar Row, popularly known as Cat Street, where you just might uncover a rare Ming dynasty treasure or a cool Cultural Revolution memento. Temple Street Night Market is another entertaining must-shop venue where you can not only have fun haggling over trinkets, jade, men’s clothing and watches, but can indulge in street food, listen to opera singers and have your fortune told in an atmosphere so utterly Chinese that it has featured in many movies.
To explore ancient Chinese tonics like ginseng and bird’s nests, or the vast array of dried foods – think snakeskin, black moss and scallop – head over to the chic and eclectic Sheung Wan area, specifically Des Voeux Road West, Wing Lok and Ko Shing. At the opposite end of the shopping spectrum, NoHo (north of Hollywood Road) is a fabulous venue for designer homewares, colonial-style chic and fashionable restaurants.
More generally, on Hong Kong island, don’t miss Admiralty, Central, SoHo or Causeway Bay, while over in Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok should be high on your must-visit list. Mong Kok is a densely inhabited, neon-lit area that is fascinating and has the full spectrum of Hong Kong shopping specialities from streets dedicated to flowers and birds to shops selling luxury jewellery.