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. 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...Read More

  • 2. Brand Off Tokyo

    Eastern | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    This Japanese chain hit town in 2008; like Milan Station, it carries secondhand goods from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Kow Hoo Shoe Company

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    If you like shoes made the old-fashioned way, then Kow Hoo—one of Hong Kong's oldest, circa 1946—is for you. It also does great cowboy boots...Read More

  • 5. Kwanpen

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Renowned for its crocodile bags and shoes, Kwanpen got its start in 1938, when master craftsman Kwan Pen Song became the go-to handbag designer...Read More

  • 6. Lianca

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    This is one of those unique places that make you want to buy something even if there's nothing you need. Lianca, first and foremost a manufacturer...Read More

  • 7. LIII LIII COUTURE

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    The Chan Brothers have an illustrious history in Hong Kong and have certainly left a trail of satisfied customers in their wake; however, reviews...Read More

  • 8. Mayer Shoes

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Since the 1960s, Mayer has been making excellent custom-order shoes and accessories in leather, lizard, crocodile, and ostrich. Go to them for...Read More

  • 9. Milan Station

    Causeway Bay | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Even if you're willing to shell out for an Hermès Kelly bag, how can anyone expect you to survive the waitlist? Milan Station resells the "it...Read More

  • 10. On Pedder

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    This store's brand directory reads like a fashion editor's wish list of world-famous shoe, bag, accessory, and jewelry designers. The main branch...Read More

  • 11. PMQ

    Western | Clothing

    Formerly the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, this renovated heritage building now plays host to more than 100 of Hong Kong’s most celebrated...Read More

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  • 12. Prestige Shoe Co. Ltd.

    Causeway Bay | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Like the Happy Valley shoemakers, Prestige does fashion-forward, acceptable-quality, reasonably priced shoes. Unlike its valley brethren it...Read More

  • 13. Rabeanco

    Causeway Bay | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Locally–based Rabeanco has a reasonably priced line of beautiful, quality bags in Italian leather. Expect designs that are contemporary and...Read More

  • 14. Sam Wo

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    A veteran of this area, Sam Wo sells fashion-inspired leather bags at low prices and without the branding. You'll need a keen eye to spot the...Read More

  • 15. Sambag

    Western | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Aussie boutique Sambag touched down in Hong Kong in 2013, bringing its quality leather kicks and colorful summer accessories with it. Find strappy...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. W.O.A.W.

    Western | Jewelry/Accessories

    Quirky travel gear, handsome leather goods, hipster accessories: W.O.A.W. (World of Amazing Wonders) stocks an array of smart and stylish items...Read More

  • 18. Mischa Designs

    Central | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Designer Michelle Lai's started MISCHA with clucth bags made from vintage Japanese obis (sashes) and kimonos. Today, the label is better known...Read More

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