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clothes shopping? Hong Kong or Vietnam

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I am not a big shopper, don't want to spend too much time, which is a better place to buy clothes, Hong Kong or Vietnam? People have said, the price difference between there and north america is too good to pass up, true? or do you get what you pay for no matter where you shop? which place would be better to have tailor made? or does the type of material you are wanting matter more, or is there a difference in quality and or price?
Also, any one have an opinion on the following three hotels in Hong Kong.. I am getting wary of trip advisor reviews, not sure about the accuracy anymore.
1. The Langham on Peking Rd.
2. Hotel Icon on Science Museum Rd
3.The Mira on Nathan Rd.

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    Here are my thoughts on your questions:

    I am not a big shopper, don't want to spend too much time, which is a better place to buy clothes, Hong Kong or Vietnam?

    I don’t think of Vietnam as a place to do a lot of clothes shopping. Maybe I have missed something over the years, but it would not be the first place I think of when I think of clothes shopping in Asia. They don’t manufacture a lot there compared to places like Bangaldesh and Indonesia. There are not many malls. I am not aware of any discount outlets. While Hong Kong does almost no manufacturing these days either, there are a lot of malls and discount outlets.

    People have said, the price difference between there and north America is too good to pass up, true?

    I have lived in Asia for almost 20 years. I don’t think that is true any longer if you are talking about good quality clothes. I think prices are quite similar. I don’t think Zara here in Hong Kong is cheaper than Zara in the US or in Spain. Chanel and other high-end are definitely no cheaper. If you want low-quality clothing, then Asia is probably cheaper, but I don’t get the point of that. T-shirts at Benneton may be marginally cheaper here, but again is this why you would fly 10,000 miles. You can of course find bargains here, but I think you can find bargains in North America too.

    We have no sales tax which can be a savings, especially on expensive items. If you are buyng a Rolex watch or a Chanel suit, then you will find savings here from the tax alone, esp compared to Canada. (But beware having to pay Candian customs duty.)


    or do you get what you pay for no matter where you shop?

    Yes, absolutely. People should remind themselves of that more often. A US$15 “pashmina” does not have any cashmere in it, no matter what the label or salespersons says. It can still be lovely and soft and a nice gift, but you are not getting the deal of the century on cashmere. There are few consumer protection laws here, so fakes are more prevalent, in experience.

    which place would be better to have tailor made?

    Again, I don't think of Vietnam as a place to have Western-style clothing made cheaply or well. You can have ao dais made there. For Western clothing, without having done any price comparisons, my guess is that Vietnam will be cheaper. But quality will not be as good.

    or does the type of material you are wanting matter more, or is there a difference in quality and or price?

    Yes, the quality of the fabric plays a big part in the cost. The basic tailoring charge is the same whether you use polyester or superfine Italian wool. It’s the fabric that will be the major part of the cost. And then the quality of the tailoring.

    Also, any one have an opinion on the following three hotels in Hong Kong.. I am getting wary of trip advisor reviews, not sure about the accuracy anymore.
    1. The Langham on Peking Rd. – nice hotel. Luxury. No views.
    2. Hotel Icon on Science Museum Rd – nice hotel in a bit of an out-of-the-way location. Some rooms would have good harbuor views.
    3.The Mira on Nathan Rd. – probably the smallest rooms of the three, but fine. All the mod cons. I like Hip Hotels generally. No views. Nathan Road is Tourist Central.

    I don’t see the point of staying on Kowloon, but that is another issue. Of the three if you are looking for luxury and service it would probably be the Langham. The Icon is newer and may have larger rooms (look on websites to compare), but the location is just that bit out of the way which makes it inconvenient, IMO.

    Just to give my own opinion, if you are not a shopper, then please don’t waste time in either Hong Kong or Vietnam shopping for clothes. There are unique souvenirs and other items that are worth spending time looking for that will be more memorable, a better use of time and a better bargain. Fake jade in the Jade Market would be more fun to spending time looking for, IMO. Or real pearls which are a genuine bargain in Hong Kong. Lacquerware in Vietnam would be something I would spend time shopping for. Take a cooking class. Buy spices. Buy coffee table picture books. There are lots of things to spend your time and money on rather than clothing.

    Or forget shopping entirely and just focus on sights, sounds, tastes etc. Then go to Pier 1 or Pearl River (or go on line to either, see http://www.pearlriver.com/v2/index.html) when you get home and buy much the same stuff (most likely at better prices to boot…).

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    If you are young, and small, we've found Singapore has the best selection. Prices are decent compared to US, and really good if you go during June when everyone has big sales.

    My daughter and I had a fun day shopping in the shops behind the InterContinental Hotel. All the shops are small and carry mostly one of a kind items created by designers specifically for that shop. My daughter is a size 6 or 8 and most items she bought were size L. I am a US size L, but found scarves, jewelry and other accessories.

    Rhkkmk and his wife are very experienced at having tailored clothing, will spend the time to go back and have things tweaked, so they get great stuff. I actually find it more trouble than it's worth. You have to return for several fittings, know exactly what you want, and be able to speak up if you are unsatisfied. I usually end up with items that are of nice fabric but are not quite what I wanted, especially considering the cost.

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    thanks every one, I think I will take Cicerone's advice, I am not going there to shop for clothes. I guess I was listening to my shopping girlfriends. I am more interested in bringing back local art work. If you don't think Kowloon is the best place to stay, where would you suggest. My top rate is $300.00 per night. I like to have some space, fresh proper linens is important. A view would be great, but I can't stay up to high, my husband has difficulties with height.

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    If your husband does not like high floors, then the Icon is probably not a good choice in any event, because I think their rooms all are on high floors or to get a view you need to be on a high floor. But Hong Kong is very vertical. (There is some statistic like we have more buildings of at least 25 storeys than any other city in the world.) It will be difficult to get a view unless you are on a higher floor.

    Despite not being a fan of Kowloon, if you want a great harbour view and not too much height, the Intercontinental is probably the first place to look. It may not be in your budget. The Sheraton Hotel & Towers is also not very tall and does offer views. Some of these may be obscured by some construction that is going on across the street. I have not been inside in a while so can’t say for sure.

    Otherwise, you should try the JW Marriott or the Conrad. They are in the same complex, which is a very good location for Central, taking the tram to the Peak and going to Wan Chai. Lower floors of the Marriott will have an open view with a bit of the harbour. At either if you ask for a “mountain” view or Peak view you most likely will have a nice open green view and may see the Peak. The Island Shangri-La is also in the complex, but may be out of that budget.

    Another hotel with very good views in a low-rise is the Renaissance Harbour View. I am not entirely crazy about the location, as it is bit too far to walk to things and it is not a bus line or near the subway. You may end up taking taxis more than you want. Plus sides are that it is near a Star Ferry pier , has an excellent Chinese restaurant and a very nice pool area. Ask for a redone room. The Grand Hyatt is in the same complex and could be considered, although I think it is out of your budget.

    I am a big fan of the Bishop Lei up in Mid-Levels and with that budget you could get a harbour view suite. I wonder if the suites would be on too high a floor, so you might ask the hotel what floors they are on. This is a more modest hotel than the ones above (so can't vouch for the linens), but good value for money and great location to walk to Soho and other areas using the escalator. It is also on a bus line. Website is http://www.bishopleihtl.com.hk

    The Crowne Plaza has large rooms and is in a more local neighborhood (it’s really more in Happy Valley, but for some reason they want to advertise it as Causeway Bay, but I would say that being in Happy Valley is more of a selling point). Some rooms have views, but again may be on higher floors. There is an interesting local fruit/veg farmers street market nearby in Bowrington Road. If you are here in racing season, you can go to the races one Wednesday night or weekend afternoon in Happy Valley (the quintessential Hong Kong activity), and you can walk to the race track from the hotel. It’s on a major bus line, including a bus to the Peak.

    Finally, I would say to take a look at the Mercer, which opened a year or so ago. http://www.themercer.com.hk/ Great location in a mix of an old and new neighborhood. Walkable to Central and also to the interesting market areas. I have never been able to see a room because every time I stop by, they are fully booked. But it looks very nice from the lobby, which is often a giveaway. From the website, it appears to have large rooms 300 -500 square feet which for this budget (and for Hong Kong) is a very good size.

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    I know a fair amount about custom tailoring, and have shopped for same in many Asian countries over the years. My experience with tailoring in Hoi An was disappointing.

    Some of the silks are decent enough in quality, but the stitching and the details (buttons, zippers, thread--things you would not think about if you are not a sewer) are not well done at all. The clothes are ok enough if your standards are not very high, but I would not go with high expectations. I can wear most of the many garments that I bought, but I would not wear them to an important "event." They are very cheap, though.

    Custom made shoes, boots--forget it. Really poor quality.

    HK--there is agreat tailoring available. But not at bargain prices. And not everywhere.


    Cicerone gave great advice on the subject.

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    I am a big shopper and have spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and also visited Vietnam. I would not go to Vietnam to shop - prices are cheap but the selection of western style clothing very limited, I thought even the brands which i know like Karen Millen London, did not seem like the style of clothes I would ever see in Karen Millen. I bought a couple of Morgan T-shirts, a couple of Diesel T-shirts, and a beautiful but very expensive handmande Vietnamese designer top.

    In Hong Kong I lost count of the number of bags of clothes, I just shopped and shopped and shopped. It's fantastic for shopping, and certainly much cheaper than Australia but I was often buying American brands like Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren which are much cheaper in the US anyway, so I'm not sure if there is much saving there. My experience of tailoring in Hong Kong is you get what you pay for. If it's cheap, it looks cheap. To get designer quality, you pay designer prices.

    Regarding hotels, I wouldn't stay in Kowloon, but in Hong Kong Island, around Central, or my preference, Causeway Bay. The Excelsior or Crowne Plaza are both great, and very easy to get everywhere from.

    I absolutely loved Vietnam as a place to visit - far more than Hong Kong, but I don't think its a shopping destination.

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    A caution on the Island Shangri-La and the Conrad: they are both terrific hotels (I've stayed in both many times), but all of their rooms are on relatively high floors (at least the 40th for the Conrad, and about the same for the Shang).

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