World ? Asia ? China ? Hong Kong

Hong Kong: Great Shopping Areas

Hong Kong is so filled with shops, boutiques, street markets, department stores, and malls, it's hard to think of places where you can't shop. Still, there are specific hunting grounds for various products, as well as areas that have greater concentrations of shops than elsewhere.

Tsim Sha Tsui has the greatest concentration of shops in Hong Kong. Nathan Road, which runs through Kowloon for 4km (2 1/2 miles) from the harbor to the border of the New Territories, is lined with stores selling clothing, jewelry, eyeglasses, cameras, electronic goods, crafts from China, shoes, handbags, luggage, watches, and more. There are also tailors, tattoo artists, and even shops that will carve your name into a wooden chop (a stamp used in place of a signature for official documents). Be sure to explore the side streets radiating off Nathan Road for shops specializing in washable silk and casual clothing and for export overruns of fun, youth-oriented fashions at modest prices. There are also department stores, Chinese emporiums, and shopping arcades, as well as several huge shopping malls. Harbour City, on Canton Road, for example, is gigantic. Farther north, in Yau Ma Tei, is Hong Kong's most famous outdoor market, the Temple Street Night Market, with vendors selling clothing, CDs, watches, toys, mobile phones, Chinese souvenirs, and accessories. The nearby Ladies' Market is also great for inexpensive clothing and accessories. There are also specialist markets in Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok selling everything from clothing and flowers to goldfish, songbirds, and jade.

For upscale shopping, Central is where you'll find international designer labels. The Landmark, Prince's Building, Alexandra House, and Chater House boast designer boutiques selling jewelry, clothing, leather goods and more, with names ranging from Armani, Cartier, and Chanel to Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co. Pacific Place is an upscale shopping mall selling everything from clothing to electronics; ifc mall sells high-end clothing and accessories. Hip Shanghai Tang is a good place to shop for upscale Chinese clothing and souvenirs, while Li Yuen Street East and West street markets offer cheaper Chinese jackets, watches, children's clothing, and accessories.

Another happy hunting ground is Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. In contrast to Tsim Sha Tsui, it caters more to locals than to tourists, and prices are often lower. In addition to small shops selling everything from shoes and clothing to Chinese herbs, there are a couple of Japanese department stores and a large shopping complex called Times Square specializing in clothing and housewares. Also check the area around Jardine's Crescent, an open-air market with cheap clothing, food, and produce. For shoes, get on the tram and head for Happy Valley; on Leighton Road and Wong Nai Chung Road (near the racecourse), where there are rows of shoe and handbag shops.

One of my favorite places to shop for inexpensive fashions is Stanley Market on the southern end of Hong Kong Island, where vendors sell silk clothing and business and casual wear. In recent years, shops specializing in Chinese crafts and products have also opened in Stanley Market. Another great shopping destination on southern Hong Kong Island is Ap Lei Chau (an island connected to Aberdeen by bridge), where at Horizon Plaza you'll find discount outlets for pricey downtown clothing stores, as well as many antiques and furniture stores.

Antiques and curio lovers also head for Hollywood Road and Cat Street in the Western District on Hong Kong Island, where everything from snuff bottles to jade carvings and Ming vases is for sale. Chinese handicrafts, including porcelain, furniture, silk clothing, and embroidery, are sold in Chinese-product department stores and Chinese arts-and-crafts shops located on both sides of the harbor. Several deluxe hotels boast arcades housing designer boutiques, most notably The Peninsula and Regent.

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