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. Altfield Gallery

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    If only your entire home could be outfitted by Altfield. Established in 1980, the elegant gallery carries exquisite antique Chinese furniture...Read More

  • 2. Arch Angel Antiques

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    Ask for Bonnie Groot, who will enthusiastically and knowledgeably guide you through the three floors of fine ceramics, furniture, ancestor portraits...Read More

  • 3. Honeychurch Antiques

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    Highly respected dealers Lucille and Glenn Vessa (one of the few accredited appraisers here) were the first to set up shop on Hollywood Road...Read More

  • 4. Lok Man Rare Books

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    With thick carpets, club chairs, and wooden shelves bearing an impressive array of tomes, Lok Man Rare Books calls to mind an old private study...Read More

  • 5. Manks Ltd.

    Southside | Antiques/Collectibles

    Open to walk-ins seven days a week, this warehouse in the Wong Chuk Hang industrial district features 20th-century decorative arts, European...Read More

  • 6. Nlostnfound Living & Co

    Wan Chai | Antiques/Collectibles

    Some of the items at Nlostnfound could use a bath, but the clutter has a lot of character. Take the time to browse through the jumble of old...Read More

  • 7. Oi Ling Fine Chinese Antiques

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    This beautiful showroom displays Chinese antique furniture, scholar's items, terracotta, bronze, and archaeological stone works. Owner Oi Ling...Read More

  • 8. Olive Forrest

    Central | Household Items/Furniture

    Irish expat Olive Forrest has cleverly retained original elements of the former print shop that houses her bright-red store. With a unique sense...Read More

  • 9. Picture This Gallery

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    It's a one-of-a-kind source for vintage posters (mainly with travel and movie themes), early photography of Hong Kong and elsewhere in China...Read More

  • 10. Sandra Walters Consultancy Ltd.

    Central | Art Galleries

    A longtime figure on the art scene, Sandra Walters represents a stable of Asian and international artists encompassing a variety of periods...Read More

  • 11. Tào Gallery

    Western | Antiques/Collectibles

    Unusual old and new objects from around the globe are sold at the Tào Gallery. Look for black-and-white photography and contemporary or rustic...Read More

  • 12. Teresa Coleman Fine Arts Ltd.

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    Teresa Coleman specializes in finely woven and embroidered costumes and textiles from the imperial courts of the Qing and Ming dynasties (circa...Read More

  • 13. The Tibetan Gallery

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    At this extension of Teresa Coleman Fine Arts you'll find antique Tibetan thangkas (Buddhist paintings), as well as bronzes, textiles, and...Read More

  • 14. Wattis Fine Art

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    Run by affable expert Jonathan Wattis and his wife Vicky since 1988, Wattis Fine Art specializes in antique maps and prints and photographs...Read More

  • 15. Yue Po Chai Antique Co

    Western | Antiques/Collectibles

    One of Hollywood Road's oldest shops is at the Cat Street end, next to Man Mo Temple. Its vast and varied stock includes porcelain, stone carvings...Read More

  • 16. China Art

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    The Chiang family runs this retail and wholesale operation that specializes in craftsman-restored Chinese antiques, especially furniture. The...Read More

  • 17. Chine Gallery

    Central | Antiques/Collectibles

    Dealing in antique furniture, artifacts, and rugs from China, this dark, stylish gallery has been around since the 1980s. It has a solid reputation...Read More

  • 18. Hanlin Gallery

    Western | Antiques/Collectibles

    For Japanese works of art, antiques, modern ceramics, and woodblocks, visit this refined gallery run by specialist Carlos Prata since 1986....Read More

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