Shopping in Hong Kong
Once famous for bargain electronics and imitation brand names, Hong Kong is no longer as cheap as it once was and prices are now closer to European or American averages if not higher.
Shops selling Chinese art objects and souvenirs cluster around the escalator up to the Mid-Levels and nearby Cat Street. More expensive antiques, art and collectibles can be found along Hollywood Road. However, any bargain hunter also planning to visit mainland China should do their research in Hong Kong but save their purchases for north of the border. Within Hong Kong, Shanghai Tang, right by Central MTR station, is probably the best venue for quality Chinese goods - silks, fabrics, ornaments and furniture. There are computer superstores in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Mong Kok, full of tiny booths selling the silicon equivalent of Hong Kong tailoring and teenage hustlers pushing pirated software.
Although famous for its designer malls, Hong Kong also has some great markets that provide a cheaper and more vibrant alternative to the luxury shopping experience. For the best bargains, head to the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok, Kowloon. It’s open from noon until 2300 and sells everything from souvenir chopsticks to T-shirts and sunglasses. For the best atmosphere, check out the Temple Street Night Market where you can haggle over handbags, listen to wannabe Chinese opera stars or have your fortune told. The market starts coming alive around 1800 and stays open until midnight. Get the MTR to Jordan and leave at exit A. For gifts or collectibles, the Jade Market, at the junction of Kansan and Battery streets in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, is also a good option.
Mall rats in Hong Kong have plenty of warrens to choose from. The most swish of the lot, IFC Mall in Central, has everything from Swarovski crystal to McDonald's burgers. Pacific Place, in Admiralty, has three floors of almost entirely luxury brands, while The Landmark and Prince's Building vie for the custom of chic Hong Kongers. Harbour City, near the Star Ferry terminal in Kowloon, is jam-packed with designer brands and boasts a flashy Lane Crawford, HK's own upmarket department store. Causeway Bay has the big Japanese department store, Sogo, and Hong Kong-born homeware store G.O.D as well as the towering Times Square.
Standard opening hours for shopping in Hong Kong are 1000-1900 daily and later in many cases.
Take your pick - you can buy just about anything in Hong Kong from jewellery, watches, authentic and fake designer fashion wear, to beauty products, leather goods, electronics, computers, antiques, art, furniture and traditional items such as porcelain, hand-painted tea sets, tableware and made-to-order Chinese clothing. Pick up Chinese food and spirits too, such as Chinese cakes, dried seafood and yellow wine, a popular rice-based drink.
Hong Kongers bridle at the very idea of a sales tax, so visitors can forget about hoarding their receipts until the government finally decides to plug its deficit this way.