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What to buy in Hong Kong?

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My husband will be in Hong Kong for a 24 hour layover. I know there is tons of stuff to buy, not sure if it is all fake. I have a feeling he will come home and say "I didn't know what to get you" so I would like to give him some ideas. What can he expect? Do they have designer watches, handbags at good prices? Are they both real and fake? How can you tell the difference?
THANK YOU!!

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    We were in Hong Kong recently. Nothing "real" in Hong Kong was any better price than in the USA (most prices when converted to US$ were exactly the same). Plenty of "copywatch" and other fakes available, though.

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    The days of buying real designer items in Hong Kong at a big discount are long gone. You can buy fakes of varying quality in the markets if that is what interests you. I'd rather buy something there I can't get as readily here. For instance, I usually buy some fancy Chinese teas and Yixing teapots as gifts. They aren't cheap, but the prices are generally better than in the US.

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    I just left Hong Kong yesterday afternoon for Bangkok. HKG is all about the brands, be they real or fake.

    I will tell you that one of my favorite things to do in HKG is to go to one (or more) of the Sasa stores and look at cosmetics and fragrances. Sasa is like 7-11. They are EVERYWHERE. I stay on the Kowloon side, which is great for strolling and window shopping. You will wait in a line outside the door to go inside at Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, etc. Unbelieveable! As I said, it's all about the brand names in HKG.

    I bought some very cute and colorful watches. They may or may not be copy watches... maybe Calvin Kline or something. Not sure. But they are really colorful, and so cheap I bought 4 colors. They have bands in red, pink, black, blue, and any number of colors. I think I paid about $8 each. I got them from a street vendor in Kowloon. Your husband will not have any trouble find some neat watches. The ones I bought have a spring opening band, not a buckle or stretch band. I have a very small wrist and am hard to fit. These work pretty good.

    You should go to HKG sometime!

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    SSimpson, I will have a free weekend in Hong Kong this month. Can you tell me where you like to stay? Also, I presume it's safe for a woman alone in the night market? Any other tips?

    Sorry to hijack your thread, mom.

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    Mominburbs, first of all, my suggestion would be that you do your husband a favour and tell him not to get you anything, as he can use his 24 hours to far greater advantage in sightseeing than shopping. He does not have time to have shoes or bags made, which is one of the best things to do if shopping in Hong Kong, IMO.

    If you really feel you need a gift, he can get you something like Dragon Beard candy, mooncakes (just coming into stores now as the holiday is in a few months) or some other local candy. He can buy this stuff at the airport, or he can ask at his hotel for the nearest place to get these types of items.

    Consider jewelry, which is one of the few things here that is a good buy compared to the US. Some shop suggestions are at the end of this message. Cultured pearls from the PRC are a good buy, not the quality of Japanese pearls, but perfectly fine. This assumes he wants to spend some time shopping, which again with only 24 hours is a questionable use of time.

    One other easy thing for him to do is to go someplace like Shanghai Tang (upscale and expensive) or Chinese Arts and Crafts (more mid price) and take a look. The second floor of the main Chinese Arts and Crafts store has a ton of items which would work for gifts (tea sets, chopsticks, table linens, porcelain and small artwork, bolts of silk and clothing). Shanghai Tang has some nice jewelry/watches, clothing, frames and other small items (inclidng ginger room spray). The main Shanghai Tang on Pedder Street probably has the largest selection, but there is also a shop on the Kowloon side about 500 feet from the Chinese Arts and Crafts. See http://www.shanghaitang.com/shanghaitang/index.jsp
    and http://www.chineseartsandcrafts.com.hk (click on “E” for English) for locations and some ideas. These items would be more unusual and not easily found where you live.

    Tea and/or teapots make nice gifts. Try Fook Ming Tea Shop at http://www.fookmingtong.com/ and Lock Cha Tea House/Tea Shop at http://www.lockcha.com/. Fook Ming has an outlet at the airport. Chinese Arts and Crafts also has tea pots in boxed sets.

    A “chop” make a nice gift. These are small marble or stone squares which are carved with a Chinese characters on the bottom. This is pressed into an ink pad to leave a mark or seal on a letter or other document. They come with a little ink pad and usually in a nice presentation box. I have not priced them in a while, but I would be very surprised if you would pay more than US$15 for one, including a nice little silk box case, and a small pot of red ink paste. Many people have a chop made which is a translation of their name; this does not always work for Westerners however, because although you would not know it, the combination of characters which phonetically sound out your name might have quite an awkward or bad meaning. Another suggestion is to pick a word like “strength” “peace” “happiness” “love” or some word that already has an established Chinese character(s). Happiness is a lovely looking character, so is double happiness. Or the name of your favourite flower (esp peony, lotus or chrysanthemum which are very auspicious flowers). A good place to look to have a chop made is on Man Wa Lane, which is a small pedestrian-only lane off Bonham Road in Sheung Wan. This is a bit less frequented by tourists. This is easy to include as a part of a walking tour of Central, Sheung Wan or the escalator area. If coming from Central or the Hollywood area, Man Wa Lane is at about #35 Bonham Strand, there is an HSBC Bank on the corner. (And the excellent West Villa Restaurant is here at #16-20 Bonham Strand if you want a great local place for dim sum.) Otherwise, you can take the MTR to Sheung Wan, exit Door A2, turn left, and walk about 10 yards. The intersecting small pedestrian lane is Man Wa Lane. You can find chop makers up and down this street on both sides of the main road. You can also have chops made in Stanley and most likely in the night markets.

    If you want good quality clothing and don’t mind spending some money, then definitely have him take a look at Blanc de Chine (in the same building as Shangai Tang) see http://www.blancdechine.com/ or for really good quality cashmere see http://www.loropiana.com/index_eng.php. (You can get Loro Piana in the US, including Chicago, which is where I believe you are from.) There is lots of fake cashmere, and lots of low-quality Chinese cashmere in stalls and some shops, so I would be very wary of buying cashmere most anyplace else in Hong Kong (upscale stores like Lane Crawford and furriers would be an exception). Of course a US$15 fake “pashmina” in a colour you like is certainly a fine gift and you would get years of wear out of it, it just is not real. He will see loads of those for sale in street stalls and tourist market areas (like the Star Ferry on the Kowloon side).

    Sasa is an interesting thought if you want perfume or cosmetics, but the prices and selection are not going to be different than in the US. See http://web2.sasa.com/SasaWeb/splash.jsp for locations.

    Designer goods like handbags and watches are widely available. They are not cheaper than the US, although there is no sales tax. The shops here sometimes get new items faster than they do in the US, or may have a wider selection. So if there is some branded item that you can’t yet get in the US, he may be able to find it here. Branded handbag and watch stores are literally all over Hong Kong, including at the airport. It’s hard to swing a handbag without hitting one. Bear in mind that he will have to pay duty on anything he brings back in excess of US$800, so if he buys a Gucci bag here, that sort of negates the no sales tax point of buying something here.

    Fake handbags and watches can also be found. They are of varying quality, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want one. They can be found in night markets and market stall areas and places like Stanley. Fakes are not generally to be found in stores, mostly just street markets. In any event, it is quite easy to tell a fake from a real one. esp with a watch as a fake will generally be feather-light compared to the real thing. A LV bag selling for US$50 in a street stall is a fake, have no worries there.

    He can buy used but genuine bags at places like the Milan Station shops. Take a look at http://www.milanstation.com.hk/b5/ for locations, there are several on Hong Kong Island and several on the Kowloon side. As far as I know, these bags are genuine (at least the police don’t raid them while they do raid the night markets...) Prices here are only about 20-30% of the original prices, so still pricey, but a real bargain compared to the original prices. (The bags are sold to the stores by the tai-tais of Hong Kong who would not – literally - be seen dead with last year’s bag....) Bargain very hard, don’t pay the list price ever, as the list price is close to the brand store price for current models, and you are buying last year’s model.

    Electronics are not cheaper here (iPads are in fact more expensive here currently) and I would not bother with looking for them for so short a trip.

    Golden Mile Jewelry
    Shop114 A
    1st Floor
    Hutchison House
    10 Harcourt Road
    Central
    Tel: 852-2525-6760

    Lane Joaillier
    106 Prince's Building
    10 Charter Road, Central
    Tel:.852 2869 8819

    Tayma Fine Jewellery
    Shop 252
    2nd Floor Prince's Building,
    10 Chater Road, Central,
    Hong Kong
    Telephone: 2525 5280
    http://www.taymajewellery.com/

    Gaily Jewellery Co Ltd
    54 A Queen's Road
    Central
    tel: 2526-0202

    Grasshopper, Hong Kong is quite small, and it does not matter a whole lot where you stay. If you want a view, then consider the waterfront in Kowloon. Otherwise, I would stay on the Hong Kong Island side as it has the vast majority of sites and has better restaurants. Hong Kong is very safe, I would have no worries on that point.

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    grassshopper, I stay at the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, in Kowloon. I think the location is great for wandering around the small shops, but also for the big name stores and malls.

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