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. CarpetBuyer Limited

    Southside | Household Items/Furniture

    With a modern approach to an age-old business, a son of the Oriental Carpet Trading House family sells high-quality carpets from China, India...Read More

  • 2. Franc Franc

    Causeway Bay | Household Items/Furniture

    This Japanese home and living store has everything you'd need to equip your downtown apartment, from bookshelves to bubble bath. The funky,...Read More

  • 3. G.O.D.

    Central | Household Items/Furniture

    The name of this pioneering lifestyle brand stands for “Goods of Desire,” and the items it sells live up to that. G.O.D. plays with ideas, designs...Read More

  • 4. Homeless

    Central | Household Items/Furniture

    Pleasantly quirky but with a finger firmly on the pulse of the city, this small design brand emporium has its flagship in NoHo (North of Hollywood...Read More

  • 5. Horizon Plaza

    Southside | Household Items/Furniture

    With 28 floors of high-end fashion and housewares, the huge Horizon Plaza is a good choice for shoppers who have more taste than money. Joyce...Read More

  • 6. Inside

    Central | Household Items/Furniture

    Inside takes Asian concepts and motifs and transforms them into its own fresh, contemporary home accessories, soft furnishings, table linens...Read More

  • 7. Kou

    Southside | Household Items/Furniture

    Socialite and interior designer Louise Kou's showroom is a moody mix of dark jewel tones and silver. Book an appointment and follow her through...Read More

  • 8. Lala Curio

    Wan Chai | Household Items/Furniture

    Laura Cheung’s grandfather spent a lifetime hand-carving rosewood tables, and her father helmed a wildly successful ceramic manufacturing company...Read More

  • 9. Lee Fung China Ware Co., Ltd.

    Western | Household Items/Furniture

    Friendly service and a decent selection of Chinese and western-style dinnerware make this a good one-stop shop. It also carries vases and antique...Read More

  • 10. Muji

    Causeway Bay | Household Items/Furniture

    Those familiar with this Japanese brand are often delighted to find one of its stores, and Hong Kong now has more than a dozen branches. The...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. OVO

    Wan Chai | Household Items/Furniture

    Push past a giant weathered steel door to enter this atmospheric, high-ceiling showroom, which feels like a cross between a museum and a temple...Read More

  • 13. Tai Ping Carpets

    Central | Household Items/Furniture

    Headquartered in Hong Kong, Tai Ping is highly regarded for its custom-made rugs and wall-to-wall carpets. It takes 2½ to 3 months to make specially...Read More

  • 14. Tang Tang Tang Tang

    Wan Chai | Household Items/Furniture

    A regular in Hong Kong high society, Sir David Tang recently opened lifestyle boutique Tang Tang Tang Tang (meant to be sung like Beethoven...Read More

  • 15. Wah Tung China Arts

    Western | Household Items/Furniture

    This reliable manufacturer and retailer of predominantly handcrafted ceramics has been in operation since the early days of trade with the West...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Mir Oriental Carpets

    Central | Household Items/Furniture

    From a family that has been in the business for five generations, Heena Mir and Shaziya Mir offer great service and a range so large only they...Read More

  • 18. Oriental Carpet Trading House Ltd.

    Central | Household Items/Furniture

    Oriental Carpet Trading House Ltd. Rizwan Butt keeps extra chairs for customers and friends who stop by to chat about his wide array of rugs...Read More

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