The whole Hong Kong Shopping experience has really changed in the last decade.
Gone are the days when Chinese street vendors lined the streets with their home-made Wooden Carts, hawking everything from counterfeit Rolex watches to MSG coated bowls of noodles.
Now there are shopping malls with marble floors and crowded sidewalks. The shops have golden-framed windows, behind which sit authentic Rolex Watches coated in glistening Diamonds.
I got a bit depressed researching this page because I began to wish I could afford a Ferrari or sleep in a fancy hotel.
I was so surrounded by money and the good life that living in the Mirador Mansion was sobering.
It's much like visiting the children who live in the countryside of Cambodia. The children play in the mud and dance in the puddles as the families look on. You can see the happiness drain from their faces when the tourists roll through with their shiny Timex watches and digital cameras.
You can still find great deals on manufactured products from the Mainland in the 'Night Markets' and 'Outlet Stores'. I wanted to find a good deal when I went to do some Hong Kong shopping.
Hong Kong is a Sales Tax Free Zone so prices on most everything are cheaper than in Europe, America or Japan. But check with your country as to what you can bring back without being taxed.
It would be a shame to get a good deal on an iPod only to be taxed on it when you arrive home.
These days almost everything is manufactured on the Mainland of China but prices in Hong Kong are generally higher than other countries in the same region.
Check out some online or head over to Ebay so you can get an idea of what it would cost you to buy it at home.
There was a popular and extensive guide published about Hong Kong shopping. It's available through Amazon and is considered the bible for shoppers coming to Hong Kong.
Born to Shop Hong Kong: The Ultimate Guide for Travelers Who Love to Shop. I can't recommend a better way to prepare yourself for your Hong Kong shopping spree!
Or if your time in Hong Kong is short then take the Hong Kong Shopping and Island Tour - Victoria Peak, Aberdeen, Stanley Market.
This tour takes in Victoria Peak to the fullest with amazing vistas of Victoria Harbour from all the best viewing spots. From there the bus flies you down to the famous fishing village of 'Aberdeen' to see the 'Floating Community' where you can take in views of 'Deepwater Bay' and 'Repulse Bay'.
You'll end the trip at Stanley Market to get your Hong Kong shopping fix. It's a great place to find silk garments, sportswear, Chinese costume jewellery, and a bunch of other bargains at a fraction of the price in the city.
Afterwards they take you on a short visit to a prestigious jewellery factory. You get to watch the craftsmen create fashion works of art from gold and gems.
The most popular goods people are looking to buy on their Hong Kong shopping sprees are:
Hong Kong Shopping: Street Markets
The Street Markets are the highlight of any Hong Kong shopping experience. The Hong Kong Shopping Malls are generic, boring and without surprise.
To find a great deal you'll have to do your shopping in the Street Markets. But you also have to be careful of vendors passing fakes off for the real thing.
This market extends through multiple alleyways and streets. You can find a full range of incredible bargains on everything from Souvenirs to Chinese Art, Porcelain and Antiques.
The market is open from 9am to 6pm Daily.
Get there by Bus 6, 6a, 6x, 66 Or 260 from the 'Exchange Square' bus terminus in the 'Central' area of Hong Kong.
Temple Street Night Market
An awesome market filled with everything from Fortune Tellers and Palm-Readers to Food Stalls and Impromptu Chinese Opera Singers that just come out of nowhere and start singing Opera Music.
The Temple Street Night Market opens at 4pm but doesn't really get going until after 9pm. Some of the food in the open-air restaurants is good and cheap and because the entire Market doesn't close until 12am, it's great for a late night snack.
To get there take the MTR to the 'Temple' MTR station and use 'Exit A' which spills onto Temple Street.
Ladies Street Market
This Outdoor Market is located in Hong Kong's most crowded area of Mongkok. It's the place to find Handbags, Cosmetics And Accessories Like 'Hello Kitty' Watches, men's and women's clothing and children's toys (check for lead paint).
The Ladies Market is the best place to find fake brand label goods and illegal imports. Make sure to bargain here!
The market opens at 12 in the afternoon and closes at 11:30pm.
Get to this Hong Kong shopping destination by taking the MTR. Take the MTR to the 'Tung Choi' Station but make sure to use Exit E2 out of the station.
Apliu Street Flea Market
This is a good place to find Antique Watches, Old Coins and other relics from the past. Apliu Street Flea Market is also well-known for selling bargain priced new and used electrical devices and electronic products that include most audio-visual equipment and telecommunications products.
This is also a place that is not regulated so if you don't know what you're buying then make sure to read about the common scams.
The Apliu Street Flea Market is open from Noon to 6pm. Take the MTR to the 'Shum Shui Po' MTR station and make sure to use 'Exit C2' out of the station.
Jade Market And Jade Street (Yau Ma Tei)
There are over 400 plus individual stalls that sell jade in every possible shape and quality. You can have the jade you buy or any gemstone tested for quality in Jade Plaza.
Jade street is located at the junction of Kansu Street and Battery Street. The Jade Plaza is on Canton Road between Kansau street and Jordan Road. Most of the stalls in Jade street are open from 10am to 5pm and the Jade plaza is open from 10:30am to 2:30pm.
The best way to get there is via the MTR. Get off the MTR at the 'Yae Ma Tei' MTR station. Use exit C out of the station and walk up to Kansau street from there.
Fa Yuen Street (Sportswear Street)
The nickname 'Sportswear Street' says it all. It's a great place for sports related clothing and accessories. Most of the offerings were too cheap to be authentic but the quality is good.
There's just so many stalls selling all the same things but worth the visit if you're looking for Football Jerseys, Sneakers and Golf accessories.
The best way to get there is to use the MTR and get off the train at the 'Mong Kok' MTR Station. Make sure to watch the signs and exit the station via 'Exit E3'
Bird Garden, Flower Market And Goldfish Market
Charming Chinese-style market on Yuen Po Street.
The Bird Garden has about 70 song-bird stalls within the courtyards. Listen to the birds sing but I wouldn't touch the birds or even get to close to them. Just a bit of caution around all birds in China. The bird garden is open from 7am to 8pm daily.
The colorful Flower Market sells everything from Dutch Tulips to Exotic orchids. The Flower Market is open from 7am to 7pm daily.
The Goldfish Market on nearby Tung Choi street sells aquariums as well as coral, exotic fish and everything you'll need to keep the exotic fish. I just use a frying pan. The Goldfish Market is open from 10:30am to 10pm daily.
Hong Kong Outlet Shops
Products at the Outlet Shops were originally intended for export but were either deemed 'Overstock' or 'Flawed'.
The factories on the Mainland receive production orders from companies such as Nike. If the order calls for a single production run of 10,000 pair of shoes then they will actually make 12,000 pair with full intention to sell them at the Outlet Shops.
Sometimes you can get good prices on these original items. Even though you're buying Armani made in China the quality is pretty well controlled. But the vendors are ruthless and will often sell items that are internally flawed for a price as high as they can get. You have to check everything over for flaws and then barter your butt off if you decide to buy.
I refuse to pay more than 40% of the original cost (they always leave the retail price tag on there as if you should pay that price).
Most outlets don't offer fitting rooms or refunds. You have to know your size and measurements in both American and European specifications. Even then it can be a leap of faith but thankfully the cost of getting jeans fitted at a local tailor is cheap.
Normal opening hours are between 10am and 7pm but the shops in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui stay open much later.
The Citygate is a large Outlet Mall with tonnes of mid-priced brands such as Adidas, Esprit, Giordano, Levi's, Nike, Quiksilver and Timberland. This is a pretty great Hong Kong shopping destination that you shouldn't miss.
Get there on the MTR. Exit the train at the 'Tung Chung' MTR station and follow the way out through 'Exit C'. Citygate is located right next to Tung Chung MTR Station.
Lee Garden Road
There are Outlet Shops all along 'Lee Garden Road'. Get there by taking the MTR to the 'Causeway Bay' MTR station. When you get off the train look for the signs that will take you out 'Exit F' on to 'Lee Garden Road'.
Corner Of Johnston Road And Spring Garden Lane
Get on the MTR to the Wan Chai MTR station. Make sure you use 'Exit A3'.
There are Outlet Shops up and down Granville Road. Most are small shops with limited selection. But that is where the real deals and finds can be made.
Get off the MTR at the 'Tsim Sha Tsui' MTR Station. Follow 'Exit B2' onto Granville Road.
Fa Yuen Street
Get to Fa Yuen Street by MTR. Get off the train at the Prince Edward MTR station. Use 'Exit B2' to get out of the station and on to Fa Yuen street.
Cheung Sha Wan Road
Get the MTR to the 'Sham Shui Po' MTR Station. Use 'Exit C1' out of the station and on to Cheung Sha Wan road.
Hong Kong Shopping by Item
If you're looking for a specific Items on your Hong Kong shopping venture then here's a list by product and where best to find them.
Like its more famous competitor, Fortress, Broadway is a large electronic goods chain. It caters primarily to the local market, so some staff members speak better English than others. Look for familiar name brand Cameras, Computers, Sound Systems, Home Appliances and Mobile Phones. Just a few of the many shops are listed here.Times Square,
1 Matheson St.,
A good selection of hardware and software and games. There are a few Apple Computer shops on the 12th floor.Floors 10-12,
311 Glouchester Road,
Causeway Bay MTR, Exit E.
A favorite amongst the locals. Computer accessories and books, games and the latest models of computers.Southorn Center,
130 Hennessey Road,
Wan Chai MTR Station, Exit A4.
The only place you'll need to go for your computer needs but prices are better at the Broadway electronics shops.Nelson Street, 2 minutes from Mong Kok MTR Station, Exit E2.
Wow. The diamonds and Jewellry displays in Hong Kong border on the ridiculous. It's hard to imagine that huge diamonds are actually rarer than hot-dogs.
Hong Kong is the fourth largest diamond trading center in the world. Best of all the duty and tax free status makes the prices potentially great, with a little bartering.
By Hong Kong Law Gold and Platinum Jewellery must be stamped with a purity hallmark. Look for it if you're uncomfortable with the shop you find your masterpiece in.
It's like a golden Road filled with everything I can't afford. Don't take the girlfriend or wife unless you're looking for the Diamond to sway her into marriage. You can get to both streets on the MTR. Get off the train at the 'Causeway Bay' MTR station and use Exits D2 and B.
I walked past the Jewellery stores along Nathan Road everyday. The Jewellery shops are on both sides of the street and are most abundant in the 'Tsim Sha Tsui' area near the bottom of Nathan Road. There are many places that offer affordable and cosmetic Jewellery as well. Head down some of the side-streets and get a less touristy Hong Kong shopping experience.
Take the MTR to the 'Mong Kok' MTR station and be sure to use 'Exit E1' to come out onto Nathan Road.
Probably the best place to find designer Jewellery. Tell them the design you want and they craft it into your own unique piece of Jewellery.
Take the MTR to the 'Tsuen Wan' MTR station. Make sure to use 'Exit B1' because you'll end up in Macau if you're not careful.
Hong Kong's Duty Free status ensures that prices are competitive. You can find a wide selection of International Brands. According to the sales people in these shops any of the major International Brands can be found in Hong Kong.
I'll just give you a list of the best places to find cosmetics on your Hong Kong shopping spree. I don't know anything about cosmetics. My brother painted my face when I was young, though. Jerk.
Granville Road is lined up and down with huge cosmetic stores and tiny specialty stores alike. Take the MTR to the 'Tsim Sha Tsui' MTR station. Look to use Exit B2 to get out onto Granville Road.
Not just famous for the nightlife, Lochart Road transforms into a Hong Kong shopping Mecca during the day. Take the MTR to the 'Causeway Bay' MTR station and make sure to use 'Exit F' to get closest to Lochart Road.
They have cosmetics and cosmetics and little dangling 'Hello Kitty' key chains. Kai Chiu Road seemed geared for the young local shoppers but some people Just love an area with an abundance of Hong Kong shopping destinations.
Get to 'Kai Chiu Road' on the MTR and stop at the 'Causeway Bay' MTR station. Use Exit F and you can't get lost.
Hong Kong Shopping Reminders
Hong Kong claims itself as a duty free zone but it should be called a duty-delayed zone. Items purchased in Hong Kong will be subject to tax upon arrival in your home country.
I'm a bad man and usually remove all clues that an item was bought in Hong Kong. If immigration asks then I always say I'd bought it in the country before I went on the trip to Hong Kong.
That doesn't work so well for all items though. Try to take that brand new, still in the box computer through customs and pray they don't check your bags or declare it and pay.
Check that warranties aren't void after the item leaves Hong Kong. Most major brand names carry international warranties but it is something to consider.
I was in the market for a camera, an iPod and a video camera. A 4GB Apple iPod goes for 150$USD without any added charges. In Vancouver the price is the same but 7% sales tax.
I bought the iPod once I'd gotten back home.
Haggling for Hong Kong Shopping Deals
Many stores in Hong Kong are willing to negotiate on price. This is especially true for consumer electronics. Always feel free to ask for a discount. I always cut the first offer they ask by 40% and go from there.
You can often get an additional discount if you pay cash (since the store can avoid paying the credit card charges).
The power of knowing just a few words of Chinese when bartering is amazing. I studied for a few months before I went. You'll be amazed how often they talk about you freely. Most Chinese go into shock when you can turn to them and say something in their language. You'll get half price on everything.
It was interesting to watch the sales tactics that the con-artists use. Usually a Pakistani guy will skulk in the corners and leap out after tourists. They will offer you anything and promise the world. The hustlers never go after the local people so they are easy to spot.
If you see someone up ahead who is only approaching tourists then avoid them.
The best thing about Hong Kong Shopping is that it's pretty easy to get what you pay for. As long as you do your Hong Kong shopping where the locals do.
Some of the nameless stores that sell electronics such as digital cameras, mobile phones, and computers are not safe places to buy electronics. Some will go as far as removing the good parts from the Sony computer you want and replace them with cheap substitutes. Or they outright sell you a copy and claim it's an original.
These shops use attention-grabbing neon signs, have pretty girls out front and have an over-abundance of salespeople in a very small place. There are many of these stores on Nathan Road, Kowloon and in Causeway Bay. The selling price in these places is often overpriced, so make sure you compare prices before you buy.
One store owner offered me a low price on an iPod but he claimed to have no stock. He promised to deliver it to me the next day but I had to leave a deposit. He was funny. Be sure that you see the actual stock that you will buy before parting with any money.
These days your Hong Kong Shopping experience is a well-regulated machine. The Government has cracked down on all forms of counterfeiting (Plenty of counterfeit HK Dollars around though).
This has advantages because the chance of being ripped off has been greatly reduced by the Government's efforts.
The short video below might not be much help in finding the best deals while doing your Hong Kong shopping. But it's nice to see it for yourself and make your own opinions.
Most people barter back and forth in some of these night and outdoor markets. I don't like to barter. I first get an Idea of the item's worth to me personally and then make that price concrete in my head. I then ask the price and tell them my idea of the ideal price. If they don't like it I just move on.
Hopefully some of the information I've given you will at least make you aware of the areas to search in for the bargains and what to expect.
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