If retail therapy is your bag, Hong Kong has the goods from bustling night markets to shiny flagship shops and from chic designer boutiques to high-street-chains. Surprisingly for a 24-hour city, the Hong Kong retail day has a late start, with most shops opening around 10am and trading until 10pm.
In Hong Kong’s Kowloon Peninsula, across the harbour from Hong Kong Island, shopping is a full-contact sport, and a favourite pastime at that, and you’ll need stamina to go the distance (we recommend refuelling with the famous soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung at Silvercord in Tsim Sha Tsui). So, slip into something comfortable and put on your walking shoes – we’re going shopping in Kowloon.
Tip: If you are staying in Hong Kong for a while, consider purchasing an Airport Express Travel Pass for unlimited travel on the MTR, Light Rail and MTR Bus for three consecutive days.
To market, to market
One of the most popular spots to shop is Temple Street Night Market (MTR: Jordan) in the Yau Ma Tei district of Kowloon. From 2pm until midnight daily, the section of Temple Street from Jordan Road to Kansu Street becomes a pedestrianised mall selling everything from souvenirs to faux fashion.
Tip: Bring cash as most stallholders will only accept Hong Kong dollars.
A little further up Nathan Road in Mongkok is the Jade Market (MTR: Yau Ma Tei). As the name suggests, this market is a lucky dip of sorts for the lucky Chinese gem, and is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
Close to the Jade Market is the popular Ladies Market (open 12:30 to 11pm daily), which is a bit of a misnomer as it purveys a range of clothing, accessories, toys, souvenirs and electronics, not just for women. Ladies Market is located on Tung Choi Street between Dundas and Argyle streets (MTR: Yau Ma Tei or Mongkok). While you’re in the area, check out Sneaker Street (Fa Yuen Street) and Electronic Street (Sai Yeung Choi Street), which run parallel to Tung Choi Street.
Cheap, cheerful chains
Since its early days as a British colony, Hong Kong has been an international trade centre and this tradition endures. You’ll find a range of UK staples in Kowloon, including Marks & Spencer, and fast fashion chains from Europe such as H&M, Topshop and Zara, and the US (Gap, Esprit and Forever 21).
You can also bag a bargain on basics from Japanese outlets like Muji and Uniqlo or shop for Korean, Chinese and international cosmetics
Tip: Look for the sample sizes at sale prices – perfect for carry-on baggage at the bright pink-hued Sasa stores, dotted all over Kowloon.
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It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinthine maze that is the Harbour City shopping centre on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Thankfully, there are plenty of information boards and service desks with friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you navigate your way to the two-level Page One bookstore, Marks & Spencer or Louis Vuitton store of your shopping desire.
The expansive shopping mall includes several hotels, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Centre, Gateway and the Pacific Club Kowloon, and stretches from the Star Ferry Pier to China Hong Kong City and across multiple levels. From luxury labels (including covetable gourmet chocolates and French delicacies) to fast fashion and quirky finds, it’s easy to leave Harbour City laden with bags and with a lighter wallet.
Haute to shop
Canton Road is Kowloon’s Rodeo Drive, an upscale retail destination with plenty of pedestrian and vehicular traffic at all times of the day. The Tsim Sha Tsui section is where you’ll find all the international designer boutiques and flagship stores with eye-catching facades and mesmerising window displays, as well as queues of shoppers waiting patiently outside Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
Don’t miss perusing the well-edited accessory offerings at Lane Crawford department store, or strolling around the luxury boutiques and gardens within the attractive 1881 Heritage building – the site of the former Marine Police Headquarters Compound - at the Tsim Sha Tsui end of Canton Road.