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. 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...Read More

  • 2. Artland Watch Co Ltd.

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Jewelry & Watches

    Elegant but uncomplicated, the interior of this established watch retailer is like its service. The informed staff will guide you through the...Read More

  • 3. Callixto

    Central | Crafts

    If you’re searching for local handicrafts and worldly finds, then make a beeline for Callixto. Originally launched by Sasha Dennig as an online...Read More

  • 4. Carat

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Jewelry & Watches

    Forget the cheesy cubic zirconium of the past. One look at its stark showrooms, and you'll see that Carat has mastered the creation and presentation...Read More

  • 5. Chateau Zoobeetle

    Sheung Wan | Jewelry & Watches

    As the only international outpost from French leather goods maison Zoobeetle Paris, this stylish Sheung Wan address combines a few of the best...Read More

  • 6. Chow Sang Sang

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    In addition to its contemporary gold, diamond, jade, and wedding collections for the local market, this manufacturer and retailer also sources...Read More

  • 7. Chow Tai Fook

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    Jade is not the only thing you'll see from this local chain founded in 1929. It also has fine jewelry in diamond, jadeite, ruby, sapphire, emerald...Read More

  • 8. City Chain Co. Ltd.

    Causeway Bay | Jewelry & Watches

    With more than 400 shops in Asia and locations all over Hong Kong, City Chain Co. Ltd. has a wide selection of watches for various budgets,...Read More

  • 9. Edward Chiu

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    Everything about Edward Chiu is fabulous, from the flamboyant way he dresses to his high-end jade jewelry. The minimalist, geometric pieces...Read More

  • 10. Eldorado Watch Co Ltd.

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    At this deep emporium of watch brands, seek the advice of one of the older staffers who look like they've been there since the British landed...Read More

  • 11. Elegant Watch & Jewellery Company Limited

    Causeway Bay | Jewelry & Watches

    With luxury watch collectors in mind, Elegant Watch is an authorized dealer of more than 35 top brands such as Tag Heuer, Breitling, Franck...Read More

  • 12. Gallery One

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    This is the next-best option for midrange pearls if you can't make it to the Jade Market. Gallery One blends into Hollywood Road's backdrop...Read More

  • 13. Jan Logan

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    This Australian designer has celebrities wearing her youthful yet elegant designs. Pieces contrast cultured, South Seas, and Tahitian pearls...Read More

  • 14. K.S. Sze & Sons

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    More salon than store, powdered elderly ladies who lunch and casually dressed tourists all come here for the same thing: quality pearls, fine...Read More

  • 15. Kansu Street Jade Market

    Yau Ma Tei | Souvenirs

    Jade in every imaginable shade of green, from the milkiest apple tone to the richest emerald, fills the stalls of this Kowloon market. If you...Read More

  • 16. kapok

    Wan Chai | Clothing

    Hip utilitarian bags, soft fabrics, minimalist watches, comfy kicks, music, stationery—kapok is a one-stop shop for lifestyle products and...Read More

  • 17. King Fook Jewellery

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    When considering jewelry stores, longevity is a good thing. King Fook has been around since 1949, promising stringent quality control, quality...Read More

  • 18. Larry Jewelry

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    Established in 1967, Larry Jewelry is known for handcrafted pieces made from high-grade precious stones. There is a second store in Causeway Bay. ...Read More

  • 19. Po Kwong Jewelry Ltd.

    Central | Jewelry & Watches

    Specializing in strung pearls from Australia and the South Seas, Po Kwong will add clasps to your specifications. They also carry pearl earrings...Read More

  • 20. Prince Jewellery and Watch Company

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Jewelry & Watches

    This shop carries timepieces made by more than 50 international brands, including Omega, Chopard, Breguet, and IWC. There's other jewelry on...Read More

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