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 p
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
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 drin

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. Bossini

    Mong Kok | Clothing

    As indicated by its brand philosophy—"Be Happy"—this Giordano competitor takes a very similar, light approach to casual clothing for women,...Read More

  • 2. Chuan Spa

    Mong Kok | Spa/Beauty

    If it's a quiet moment you're after, your best bet is Chuan Spa, which overlooks the city from the top floor of the Langham Place Hotel. In...Read More

  • 3. Flower Market

    Mong Kok | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    Huge bucketfuls of roses and gerbera spill out onto the sidewalk along Flower Market Road, a collection of street stalls selling cut flowers...Read More

  • 4. Goldfish Market

    Mong Kok | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    Goldfish are thought to bring good luck in Hong Kong (though aquariums have to be properly positioned for maximum benefit), and this small collection...Read More

  • 5. Ladies' Market

    Mong Kok | Clothing

    Block upon block of tightly packed stalls overflow with clothes, bags, and knickknacks along Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok. Despite the name...Read More

  • 6. Langham Place

    Mong Kok | Shopping Centers/Malls

    The light beige sandstone of Langham Place stands in stark contrast to the pulsating neon signs and crumbling residential blocks around it....Read More

  • 7. Me & George

    Mong Kok | Clothing

    Anyone who loves a good thrift-store rummage will delight in the messy abandon of Me & George (also known as Mee & Gee), not to mention...Read More

  • 8. Sportshouse

    Mong Kok | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Check out the Sporthouse chain for trendy sneakers and other casual footwear by brands like Nike, Puma, Adidas, Converse, and Birkenstock. ...Read More

  • 9. Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

    Mong Kok | Household Items/Furniture

    Though mostly built as a neighborhood park in which bird-owning residents can meet and "walk" their caged pets, the Urban Renewal Authority...Read More

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