Hong Kong

They say the only way to get to know a place is to do what the locals do. When in Rome, scoot around on a Vespa and drink espresso. When in Hong Kong, shop. For most people in this city, shopping is a leisure activity, whether that means picking out a four-figure party dress, rifling through bins at an outlet, upgrading a cell phone, or choosing the freshest fish for dinner.

Shopping is so sacred that sales periods are calendar events, and most stores close on just three days a year—Christmas Day and the first two days of Chinese New Year. Imagine that: 362 days of unbridled purchasing. Opening hours are equally conducive to whiling your life away browsing the racks: all shops are open until 7 or 8 pm; many don't close their doors until midnight.

It's true that the days when everything in Hong Kong was mind-bogglingly cheap are over. It is still a tax-free port, so you can get some good deals. But it isn't just about the savings. Sharp contrasts and the sheer variety of experiences available make shopping here very different from back home.

You might find a bargain or two elbowing your way through a chaotic open-air market filled with haggling vendors selling designer knockoffs, the air reeking of the chou tofu ("stinky" tofu) bubbling at a nearby food stand. But then you could find a designer number going for half the usual price in a hushed marble-floor mall, the air scented by the designer fragrances of your fellow shoppers. What's more, in Hong Kong the two extremes are often within spitting distance of each other.

Needless to say, thanks to travelers like you running out of space in their suitcases, Hong Kong does a roaring trade in luggage. No need to feel guilty, though—shopping here is practically cultural research. All you're doing is seeing what local life is really like.

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  • 1. Chinese Arts & Crafts

    Central | Department Store

    Visit this long-established mainland company to blitz through that tiresome list of presents in one fell swoop. It stocks a huge variety of...

    Visit this long-established mainland company to blitz through that tiresome list of presents in one fell swoop. It stocks a huge variety of well-priced clothing, porcelain, and giftware. In direct contrast to the thrill of digging through dusty piles at the open-air Jade Market, Chinese Arts & Crafts provides a clean, air-conditioned environment in which to shop for classic jade jewelry—and the prices aren't too outrageous. Other affordable, easily packable items include appliqué tablecloths and cushion covers or silk dressing gowns. There are four branches in Hong Kong, including this spacious shop in Pacific Place.

    Shop 220, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2523–3933
  • 2. City'super

    Causeway Bay | Department Store

    Wherever you're from and whatever you're looking for—whether it's fresh oysters from France or quirky products like bottled water for pets—this...

    Wherever you're from and whatever you're looking for—whether it's fresh oysters from France or quirky products like bottled water for pets—this gourmet supermarket and variety-store chain is the place to begin your search. In addition to edibles, it carries gadgets, inexpensive jewelry, accessories, and cosmetics. The Times Square location often has international-theme food festivals. Be sure to check out the Japanese imported sweets like Royce's unusual chocolate-covered potato chips.

    Basement One, Times Square, 1 Matheson St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2506–2888
  • 3. Festival Walk

    Shopping Centers/Malls

    Located in residential Kowloon Tong, about 20 minutes from Central on the MTR, Festival Walk stretches across six floors, with Marks & Spencer...

    Located in residential Kowloon Tong, about 20 minutes from Central on the MTR, Festival Walk stretches across six floors, with Marks & Spencer, an Apple store, MUJI, and H&M serving as anchors. Vivienne Tam and PS by Paul Smith draw the elite crowds; I.T. and agnès b. keep the trend spotters happy. If you want a respite from the sometimes scorching-hot weather, Festival Walk also has one of the city's largest ice rinks, a multiplex cinema, and more than 30 restaurants and cafés. There's free Wi-Fi throughout the mall, as well as excellent brews at Coffee Academics.

    80 Tat Chee Ave., Kowloon, Hong Kong
    -2844–2200
  • 4. Fortress

    Causeway Bay | Cameras/Electronics

    Part of billionaire Li Ka-shing's empire, this extensive chain of shops sells electronics with warranties—a safety precaution that draws the...

    Part of billionaire Li Ka-shing's empire, this extensive chain of shops sells electronics with warranties—a safety precaution that draws the crowds. It also has good deals on printers and accessories, although selection varies by shop. You can spot a Fortress by looking for the big orange sign. For the full list of outlets, visit the website.

    Times Square, Shop 818–821, Shop 914, 8th and 9th fl., 1 Matheson St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2506–0031
  • 5. Happy Foot Reflexology Center

    Central | Spas

    Who knew that pressure on your big toe could help clear your sinuses? Reflexology is Hong Kong's cheap way to relax, and Happy Foot is the legendary...

    Who knew that pressure on your big toe could help clear your sinuses? Reflexology is Hong Kong's cheap way to relax, and Happy Foot is the legendary place to have it done. The armchairs are comfortable, and the therapists are experts, but don't expect a luxe experience. Interiors are basic, and you'll share a room with other customers. This is reflected in the prices, though: you'll pay about HK$250 for a 50-minute full-body massage or HK$198 for just your feet. There’s a second center in Central (on Lyndhurst Terrace), plus more locations in Happy Valley and Wan Chai where you can also get your Happy Foot fix.

    19th and 20th fl., Century Square, 1 D'Aguilar St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2522–1151
  • 6. Harbour City

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Shopping Centers/Malls

    The four interconnected complexes that make up Harbour City contain almost 500 shops between them—if you can't find it here, it probably doesn...

    The four interconnected complexes that make up Harbour City contain almost 500 shops between them—if you can't find it here, it probably doesn't exist. Pick up a map on your way in, as it's easy to get lost. Ocean Terminal, the largest section, runs along the harbor and is divided thematically, with kids' wear and toys on the ground floor, and sports and cosmetics on the first. The top floor is home to white-hot department store LCX. Near the Star Ferry pier, the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel Arcade has branches of the department store Lane Crawford. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Burberry are some of the posher boutiques that fill the Ocean Centre and Gateway Arcade, parallel to Canton Road. Most of the complex's restaurants are here, too. A cinema and three hotels round out Harbour City's offerings. Free Wi-Fi is available.

    3–27 Canton Rd., Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • 7. IFC Mall

    Central | Shopping Centers/Malls

    A quick glance at the directory—Tiffany & Co., Kate Spade, Bvlgari, Chaumet—lets you know that the International Finance Centre isn't for...

    A quick glance at the directory—Tiffany & Co., Kate Spade, Bvlgari, Chaumet—lets you know that the International Finance Centre isn't for the faint of pocket. Designer department store Lane Crawford chose to open its flagship store here, and J.Crew followed suit in 2014. Even the mall's cinema multiplex is special: the deluxe theaters have super-comfy seats with extra legroom and a wine bar for classy refreshments. If you finish your spending spree at sunset, go for a cocktail at Dear Lilly or LA RAMBLA by Catalunya, two posh spots with fabulous harbor views. The Hong Kong Airport Express station (with in-town check-in service) is under the mall, and the Four Seasons Hotel connects to it. Avoid the mall between 12:30 and 2, when it's flooded with lunching office workers from the two IFC towers.

    8 Finance St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2295–3308
  • 8. Lane Crawford

    Central | Department Store

    This prestigious western-style department store has been the favorite of local label lovers for years—not bad for a brand that started out as...

    This prestigious western-style department store has been the favorite of local label lovers for years—not bad for a brand that started out as a makeshift provisions shop back in 1850. The massive flagship store in the IFC Mall (one of Hong Kong's four Lane Crawford locations) feels like a monument to fashion's biggest names, with exquisitely designed acres divided up into small gallery-like spaces for each designer. In addition to contemporary clothing, the phenomenal brand list covers everything from beauty to home ware.

    Podium 3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2118–3388
  • 9. LockCha Tea Shop

    Western | Other Specialty Store

    Beloved by connoisseurs, LockCha Tea House is a peaceful little enclave in the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware. LockCha has a reputation...

    Beloved by connoisseurs, LockCha Tea House is a peaceful little enclave in the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware. LockCha has a reputation for brewing high-quality fair-trade teas sourced directly from farmers; happily, it also has a charming retail shop in Sheung Wan, where you can purchase these plus beautiful teapots.

    Upper ground fl., 290B Queen’s Rd. Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2805–1360
  • 10. Loom Loop

    Central | Ceramics/Glassware

    Homegrown brand Loom Loop is known for its bold style and sustainable ethos. Made from a mixture of heritage Canton fabrics, sourced in Guangzhou...

    Homegrown brand Loom Loop is known for its bold style and sustainable ethos. Made from a mixture of heritage Canton fabrics, sourced in Guangzhou, the collections tend to revolve around bright colors, cooling silks, and decidedly urban cuts. In addition to apparel, the brand also works with leftover textiles, such as denim and knitwear, to create upcycled accessories.

    Studio S205, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2548–7837
  • 11. Pearls & Cashmere

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Clothing

    Warehouse prices in chic shopping arcades? It's true. This old Hong Kong favorite is elegantly housed on both sides of the harbor. In addition...

    Warehouse prices in chic shopping arcades? It's true. This old Hong Kong favorite is elegantly housed on both sides of the harbor. In addition to quality men's and women's cashmere sweaters in classic designs and in every color under the sun, they also sell reasonably priced pashminas, gloves, and socks, which make great gifts for men and women. In recent years the brand has developed the more fashion-focused line, BYPAC.

    Mezzanine, Peninsula Hotel Shopping Arcade, Salisbury Rd., Kowloon, Hong Kong
    -2723–8698
  • 12. Sam's Tailor

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Clothing

    Unlike many famous Hong Kong tailors, you won't find the legendary Sam's in a chic hotel or sleek mall. But don't be fooled. These digs in humble...

    Unlike many famous Hong Kong tailors, you won't find the legendary Sam's in a chic hotel or sleek mall. But don't be fooled. These digs in humble Burlington House, a tailoring hub, have hosted everyone from U.S. presidents (back as far as Richard Nixon) to performers such as the Black Eyed Peas, Kylie Minogue, and Blondie. This former uniform tailor to the British troops once even made a suit for Prince Charles in a record hour and 52 minutes. The men's and women's tailor does accept 24-hour suit or shirt orders, but will take about two days if you're not in a hurry. Founded by Naraindas Melwani in 1957, "Sam" is now his son, Manu Melwani, who runs the show with the help of his own son, Roshan, and about 57 tailors behind the scenes. In 2004 Sam's introduced a computerized bodysuit that takes measurements without a tape measure (it uses both methods, however). These tailors also make biannual trips to Europe and North America: schedule updates are listed on the website.

    Burlington House, 94 Nathan Rd., Kowloon, Hong Kong
    -2367–9423
  • 13. Select 18 and Mido Eyeglasses

    Western | Jewelry & Watches

    Across from the sprawling Oolaa restaurant, two of Hong Kong's best vintage hangouts are in one convenient store. Select 18 has everything from...

    Across from the sprawling Oolaa restaurant, two of Hong Kong's best vintage hangouts are in one convenient store. Select 18 has everything from typewriters to 1970s Hermès blouses. If you can tear yourself from the heaps of jewelry and handbags, a treasure trove awaits. Tucked in back, you'll find literally thousands of retro-styled specs from Mido Eyeglasses, priced from a couple of hundred to several thousand Hong Kong dollars. The big question: tortoise-shell cat eyes or classic wayfarers?

    18 Bridges St., Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2858–8803
  • 14. Shanghai Tang

    Central | Clothing

    Make your way past the perfumes, scarves, and silk-embroidered Chinese souvenirs to the second floor, where you'll find a rainbow of fabrics...

    Make your way past the perfumes, scarves, and silk-embroidered Chinese souvenirs to the second floor, where you'll find a rainbow of fabrics at your fingertips. In addition to the brilliantly hued—and expensive—silk and cashmere clothing, you'll see custom-made suits starting at around HK$30,000, including fabric. You can also have a cheongsam (a sexy slit-skirt silk dress with a Mandarin collar) made for around HK$10,000, including fabric. Ready-to-wear Mandarin suits are in the HK$15,000–HK$20,000 range. There are stores scattered across Hong Kong, including the airport's Terminal One.

    Ground–3rd fl., 1 Duddell St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2525–7333
  • 15. Squarestreet

    Western | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    You might stumble upon this local gem while wandering around Sheung Wan's evolving Po Hing Fong neighborhood. Founded and designed by Stockholm...

    You might stumble upon this local gem while wandering around Sheung Wan's evolving Po Hing Fong neighborhood. Founded and designed by Stockholm native Alexis Holm and watch collector William Cheung, the low-key boutique features slick Scandinavian watches, eyeware, and accessories.

    15 Square St., Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2362–1086
  • 16. Stanley Market

    Southside | Market

    This was once Hong Kong's most famed bargain trove for visitors, but its ever-growing popularity means that the market in Stanley Village no...

    This was once Hong Kong's most famed bargain trove for visitors, but its ever-growing popularity means that the market in Stanley Village no longer has the best prices around. Still, you can pick up some good buys in sportswear, casual clothing, textiles, and paintings if you comb through the stalls. Good-value linens—especially appliqué tablecloths—also abound. Dozens and dozens of shops line a main street so narrow that awnings from each side meet in the middle, and on busy days your elbows will come in handy. Weekdays are a little more relaxed. One of the best things about Stanley Market is getting here: the winding bus ride from Central (Routes 6 or 66) or Tsim Sha Tsui (Route 973) takes you over the top of Hong Kong Island, with fabulous views along on the way.

    Stanley, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 17. Tai Kwun

    Central | Clothing

    On the grounds of the 19th-century Central Police Station complex, Hong Kong's largest revitalization project to date, Tai Kwun debuted in 2018...

    On the grounds of the 19th-century Central Police Station complex, Hong Kong's largest revitalization project to date, Tai Kwun debuted in 2018. It stretches across 38,750 square feet and hosts several restaurants, bars, art exhibitions, and local boutiques. Shopping here runs the gamut from traditional tailors like Yuen's Tailor to avant garde apparel by Harrison Wong. While you're here, check out the Heritage Storytelling Spaces. From the Central Magistry to the old prison, eight distinct areas transport you back in time.

    10 Hollywood Rd., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -3559–2600
  • 18. Temple Street Night Market

    Yau Ma Tei | Market

    Each evening, as darkness falls, the lamps strung between the stalls of this Yau Ma Tei street market slowly light up, and the air fills with...

    Each evening, as darkness falls, the lamps strung between the stalls of this Yau Ma Tei street market slowly light up, and the air fills with aromas wafting from myriad food carts. Hawkers try to catch your eye by flinging up clothes; Cantonese opera competes with swelling pop music and the sounds of spirited haggling; fortune-tellers and street performers add another element to the sensory overload. Granted, neither the garments nor the cheap gadgets sold here are much to get excited about, but it's the atmosphere people come for—any purchases are a bonus. The market stretches for almost a mile and is one of Hong Kong's liveliest nighttime shopping experiences.

    Temple St., Kowloon, Hong Kong
    View Tours and Activities
  • 19. The Mandarin Spa & The Oriental Spa

    Central | Spas

    If you indulge in a single Hong Kong treatment, have it at one of these sister spas in the Mandarin Oriental and Landmark Mandarin Oriental...

    If you indulge in a single Hong Kong treatment, have it at one of these sister spas in the Mandarin Oriental and Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotels. Designed as a journey from the outer into the inner world, the experience begins at the Landmark on the check-in and fitness floor. You're taken up to the next level and offered a welcome tea, then guided deeper into this haven, where treatments are administered by excellent therapists in serene rooms. Try the signature Time Ritual, a holistic combination of therapies adapted to your specific needs on the day. Treatments here get you access to the vitality pool, the amethyst-crystal steam room, the authentic Turkish hammam, and more. Down the street is the legendary Mandarin Spa, as well as the Mandarin Salon and Barber, which offers traditional favorites. Ask for a famous Shanghainese pedicure with Samuel and his knives (yes, knives!), or see Betty for the traditional eyebrow threading.

    The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen's Rd. Central, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2132–0011
  • 20. Times Square

    Causeway Bay | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This gleaming mall packs most of Hong Kong's best-known stores into 16 frenzied floors, organized thematically. Lane Crawford and Marks &amp...

    This gleaming mall packs most of Hong Kong's best-known stores into 16 frenzied floors, organized thematically. Lane Crawford and Marks & Spencer both have big branches here, as does favored local gourmet grocer City'super. Many beauty brands are located in the basement, giving way to names like Gucci and De Beers on the second floor, and midrange options like Zara higher up. The electronics, sports, and outdoors selection is particularly good. An indoor atrium hosts everything from rock bands to fashion shows to local movie stars. Among the dozen or so eateries, classic Lei Garden is a good pick, thanks to its excellent dim sum menu and Zen interior.

    1 Matheson St., Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    -2118–8900-Customer Service Hotline
    View Tours and Activities

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