Take the family on the ultimate shopping spree and discover Hong Kong like a local | Inquirer Lifestyle
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Take the family on the ultimate shopping spree and discover Hong Kong like a local

09:00 AM February 06, 2018

From global brands and night markets to local baubles and all kinds of cuisine, HK still has it all.

As a family getaway, Hong Kong entices with Disneyland and Ocean Park, night markets, designer labels at outlet stores, dimsum in holes-in-the-wall, and elegant, traditional afternoon tea in luxury hotels.

Hong Kong is the shopping haven for a wide variety of low-priced but high-quality products. From global brands to traditional local baubles, anything can be had at unbeatable prices. This is because Hong Kong is the world’s largest duty-free port. Retailers also dangle incentives such as seasonal promotions, holiday discounts and other perks.

The malls, markets and shopping districts are easily accessible by Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and frequently patrolled by the Hong Kong police.

From Feb. 9 to 11 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia (MOA) complex, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will be presenting hotspots, tours and discounted deals at the Travel Tour Expo.

Hong Kong never ceases to amaze frequent travelers with the diversity and continuing development of the shopping districts.

Old Town Central

Travelers can immerse themselves in themed walking tours that show the striking contrasts of the modernity of the Landmark, one of the most famous mixed-use developments, and other mixed-use centers with historic colonial monuments, temples and antique stores. Local delicacy stores and street art displays are a few blocks away from trendy restaurants, chic clothing boutiques and rooftop bars.

The Upper Lascar Row (the “lascar” were South Asians who served in the British military) is a trove of antiques and second-hand treasures and Chinese calligraphy dealers. Tai Ping Shan Street in PoHo pulsates with specialty stores and cafés established by innovative and style-savvy entrepreneurs.

The Bridges Street neighborhood is lined with stores selling used books and trinkets, evoking memories of Hong Kong’s past. Select 18 is the must-go for vintage clothing, suitcases and even eyewear. History buffs will also enjoy Chu Wing Kee on Possession Street, where the British set foot in 1841. This retro store sells 20th century flasks, bowls and home accessories.

Fashionable shoppers can stock up on premium affordable leather shoes and bags at Leather Healer at the Hong Kong House.

The walk can be rewarded with wholesome snacks such as almond cakes, bird’s nest cakes, and pearl barley cakes at ChanYee Jai shop on Queen’s Road.

Standard in any itinerary, Stanley Market is overwhelming with the crowds. Still, the seaside location and boardwalk lined with cafés add character. It’s still one of the better places to shop for quality products, from T-shirts and artworks to luggage and winter clothes. The side streets are a trove of original finds.

Wan Chai

Although the district is synonymous with bars and parties, Wan Chai exudes an Old World character, replete with temples and landmarks and parks.

The heritage walk unfolds to architectural and cultural landmarks such as the Blue House, Wan Chai Market, Nam Koo Terrace, Pak Tai Temple, Old Wan Chai Post Office and the Hung Shing Temple.

Chill in Tamar Park and enjoy the view of the Victoria Harbor, or try the DIY burger or the new menu at Ted’s Lookout, snuggled in a corner of Moon Street.

The tree-lined Lee Tung Avenue, once the main quarters of wedding invitation card printers, is home to open-air cafés, foreign fashion outlets and fusion restaurants.

Near the wet market, Tai Yuen (Toy Street) is jam-packed with shops offering dolls, Lego bricks and board games at bargain prices. Parallel to Tia Yuen, the shops along Spring Garden Lane give the best value for international clothing brands at low prices. Many are surplus products for export quality.

Hong Kong’s largest electronics mall, the Wan Chai Computer Centre, carries every gadget one can think of at, yet again, low prices. Owners might even toss in freebies with your purchase. The Oriental 188 Shopping Centre, another electronics mall, is famous among online gamers.

Bookworms will love ACO Book on Hennessy Road. To promote a reading culture, it sells books at prices lower than e-commerce and retail.

Causeway Bay

If you’re blitzing through Hong Kong, Causeway Bay has everything, including space to walk.

The Windsor House has gathered children’s stores that offer corrective shows, clothing and educational toys. Lee Gardens One and Two specialize in children’s concept floors, for trendy designer looks. The rest of the family can indulge in the world’s luxury labels in this place.

Young people who keep diaries will love the cutesy notebooks at Journalize in Bayview Mansion. A short walk from the big malls, Jardine’s Crescent is a roadside market with a range of household items, handicrafts and garments.

For the ladies, directional labels such as Off-White, APIC and It are located on Paterson Street. Vintage clothes can be sourced at Luddite, tucked on Haven Street, lined with old buildings.

At Causeway Place, Two Girls, Hong Kong’s first cosmetic brand established in 1898, sells exotic personal care products such as Lavender Hair Oil and Living Rose Face Cream.

In an urban jungle, Hysan Place is an oasis, replete with natural light, bountiful greenery and open store fronts. As a lifestyle mall, big chains have launched their brands here. Eslite, Taiwan’s largest bookstore chain, opened its first overseas branch. The 3,800-sq m bookstore has a wide range of Chinese and English books. As a dining destination, it is proud of Kitchen 11, consisting of 11 concept restaurants on the 11th floor and more dining options from the 12th to 14th floor.

Mong Kok

This district is synonymous with the Ladies’ Market, inundated with traditional souvenirs, handicrafts and unique finds in garments and gadgets. Adjacent restaurants support the shopping experience.

Modern Mong Kok marketplaces are in tenement buildings for cheaper rent. Nameless doorways open to a range of curiosity stores.

For children, In’s Point on Nathan Road is a labyrinth of second-hand and new toy collectibles, game characters, movie merchandise, superheroes and plastic construction toys and Perspex cubes run by collectors who want to display their stuff.

Hong Kong’s first Lego Certified Store at Langham Place engages visitors with its Danish interior design. Among its awesome displays are the Victoria Harbor mosaic and the Mong Kok model, all built with Lego bricks.

The Sino Centre is a haven for collectors who seek special edition models, timepieces, games, comics and animé comics, or anything that appeals to pop culture fans.

Teens will enjoy Untouched United, known for trendy clothing, Nike sportswear and millennial brands.

The final stretch on Fa Yuen Street is crammed with athletic shoes, sneakers and plimsolls. Major sportswear brands have set shop here. Seasons-old styles are marked down as low as 50 percent. The best part is that there are no fakes in this neighborhood.

On the other end of this street, shops are heaped with bras, separates, accessories and animal-print phone covers. Shoes in modest stores sell for less than HK$30.

Then again, the shops coexist with stores selling kitchen ware, produce, a bakery and a wet market.

Teens and young adults can find affordable trendy fashion items at the Argyle Center. Mothers can buy artisan products at Mum’s Not Home on Shanghai Street. The shop-cum-restaurant gives shoppers a break with its homemade drinks and pastries.

Sham Shui Po

The working-class district has been transformed into a shopping capital in Kowloon. Shoppers with discriminating taste claim that the best electronics, children’s toys and accessories are found in this neighborhood. Restaurants are known for street food and Michelin-recommended dining places complete the experience.

Tech heads trek to Apliu Street, a flea market for unusual parts, electronics, audiovisual products and bargains for old coins and vintage watches.

The Golden Computer Center’s compact stores have everything one needs, from videogames to motherboards and customized desktops.

Shoppers who engage in DIY will enjoy Yu Chau Street, where they can gather accoutrements, buttons, semi-precious stones, pearls, feathers and tools such as glue guns and accessories for sewing machines. Fuk Wa and Kweilin Streets are sources for party favors and accessories, school supplies, toys and stationery for bulk orders.

Take a break with street foods such as pudding, waffles, rice noodle rolls, peanuts wrapped in sugar strands or the savory fried pork innards with sauce. The eateries serve soybean desserts, Sichuan noodles and international cuisine.

Younger customers will find Sham Sui Po a haven. Fuk Wing Wing street dazzles with toys, goodies for parties, glow pens, pencil cases and more playful items for the kids. Twilight and Midnight Market on Sham Sui Po Street is piled up with more bargains and knickknacks on the ground.

In this tech era, there is still a market for people who look for stationery. Hence, Kayztyle is top of mind for paper products, vintage leather notebooks, or mementos with Cantonpop lyrics and stickers.

Doughnut, a backpack and travel accessories shop, is known for cool and functional school bags.

Adults discover quality leather from Italy at Brothers Leathercraft. Designers and sewing hobbyists flock to Cheung Sha Wan Road for fabrics and notions.

The younger shoppers will enjoy the casual clothing boutiques along the way.

Kwai Chung

The New Territories (NT) made news when old tenement houses and industrial buildings were repurposed into trendy shopping centers.

NT is the place for great bargains. Located in an old office building, Dottori Shojyo, a local brand established by three local entrepreneurs, sources vintage clothing from other countries. It’s a perfect thrift shop for the family, as the clothes are in good condition.

As millennials are more concerned about ethical products and services, Fair Taste is a fair trade brand which sells healthy dried fruits, coffee and foods sans preservatives in eco-friendly packages.

People have been raving about Kwai Chung Plaza, a warren of shops that hardly repeat merchandise in women’s wear. Prices are cheaper than the conventional retail stores, and a cosmetics floor is full of original brands.

One of its specialty stores, Lam’s Handmade, produces eco-friendly skin-care products, formulated from plants cultivated with food waste. Each floor comes with little restaurants with tasty and cheap dishes.

Outlets

Hong Kong is the mecca for designer outlets off Central. After taking the cable car and having a selfie in front of the Big Buddha on Lantau Island or seeing Disneyland, Citygate beckons. It focuses entirely on luxury brands at rock-bottom prices, especially after haggling.

E-Max Wearhouse at the Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Center also specializes in status symbol brands—from fragrance and sportswear to designer clothing at a bargain.

Homage to Italy’s historic city of Florence, Florentia Village houses the luxury Italian brands for as low as 70 percent less. Hong Kong’s largest Prada outlet and the first outlets for Links of London, Versace and Kenzo staked their posts in this mall. It’s half an hour from the airport.

For more information, visit www.DiscoverHongKong.com.

Article is originally written by Marge C. Enriquez, Philippine Daily Inquirer Contributor

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