Part of Hong Kong’s shopping appeal lies in the lack of sales taxes or import duties, so, depending on your country of origin, you can immediately save 5-20% on prices back home. However, the massive concentration of stores also means that the price competition is fierce, with wafer-thin margins and high volumes. This is most obviously reflected in the huge number of camera stores and jewelry shops. If you close your eyes and take a few steps, you will walk straight into either jewelry or a camera store, or you will walk into an Indian man trying to coax you into a jewelry or camera store.
With that said, here are some of the best malls, shopping areas and street markets of Hong Kong:
Major malls and shopping areas
Hong Kong’s major shopping districts can be roughly broken up into:
1. Hong Kong Island
A) Admiralty, Central and SoHo
This is a high-end shopping area featuring luxury boutiques and shopping malls set amongst towering skyscrapers. Highlights include Pacific Place, The Landmark and IFC. SoHo tends to be more focused on boutiques. Central features the Li Yuen Asian bazaar, which is always fun to walk around. All the malls around here are connected by walkways that enable you to avoid having to dodge traffic.
B) Causeway Bay
This is one of Hong Kong’s premier shopping destinations. Highlights include – Times Square, Sun Sing Tea, Milan Station, Muji,Uniqlo, God (Goods of Desire), Olivia Couture, Grand Tailors, Sogo (Japanese department store), and Armani Exchange.
A) Nathan Road
Nathan Road is a kind of de facto epicenter for shopping in the area, however, in my opinion, Nathan Road is best avoided unless you are looking for a “copy watch” or a tailored suit (Don’t worry, if this is what you are after just walk down Nathan Road. You won’t have to find them, they will find you soon enough). There are however some nice malls based on or just off Nathan Road; namely – iSquare,The One and K11. Also opened recently is the Elements mega-mall on Austin Road, which may be worth checking out.
B) Harbour City Shopping Mall
A much better option is to treat the massive Harbour City shopping mall on Canton Road as the epicenter for shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui. Right near Harbour City, you will also find the super-high end 1881 Heritage that is housed in a gorgeous old restored building.
C) Mong Kok
Mong Kok is my pick for more youth or value focused shopping, as well as consumer electronics such as cameras. Monk Kok also tends to be more “street shopping” focused, rather than huge air-conditioned malls. The only exception is Langham Place, which is a large mall with a youth-oriented focus.
Street markets and shopping streets
Here are some of the major street markets and shopping streets of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island
1. Dried Seafood Street and Tonic Food Street (As the name would suggest, dried seafood and various Eastern health “tonics”)
2. Chun Yeung Street (Wet Market)
3. Cat Street (Antiques)
1. Cheung Sha Wan Road (Fashion)
2. Bird Garden
3. The Temple Street Night Market
4. Apliu Street Flea Market (Electronics)
Where to stay
In general, Hong Kong is similar to the hotel prices in other North Asian cities such as Tokyo or Beijing. For some unknown reason, in Asia, the further away you go from the equator, the more expensive the rooms get. If anything, Hong Kong is almost up there with Tokyo for cost, so make sure you shop around to get the best deal. There are also many boutique hotels in Hong Kong that offer discounted rates that are significantly lower than the published rack rates.
If you are lucky enough to visit Hong Kong during the big sales, you are in for a treat. There are some fantastic bargains to be had at any time of the year; however around Chinese New Year is the best time to shop.