Are you sick of shopping and glad the holiday season is over? Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned living in Hong Kong, it’s that shopping fatigue is all in your mind. Shopping is what you do on a Friday night, Saturday morning, at lunch and after dinner. Like most major Asian cities, HK has more malls than it knows what to do with. But it also has great markets! These are (usually) better priced with a crazy assortment of stuff you didn’t even know you needed, and the people watching is good fun. My criteria for a good market are shopkeepers that aren’t too rude, being able to move my elbows, and not many bros giggling over and miming acts with the sex toys for sale. Note that Ladies’ Market, HK’s most famous, hits all these marks and more. Avoid it!
Jade Market, Yau Ma Tei MTR, Exit C
I don’t know a thing about jade other than it’s really pretty. Personally, I think the Jade Market is intimidating because it’s just piles of jade that I can’t figure out is real or not, and I don’t want to look like an idiot by asking the elderly ladies running things who look impatient with me enough as it is. Still, if you’re into jewelry, it’s great fun to quietly drool over all of it, and the stuff for super cheap is obviously not real and good souvenirs for the little ones in your life.
Stanley Market, bus 6 from Central or taxi
Stanley is a lovely place for a day of fun in the sun, with the beach, historical Murray House, tons of nice restaurants and the dragon boat races all there. The market is also great. It’s rarely rammed, the shopkeepers keep to themselves (and thus haggling isn’t quite as common), and most importantly, the sizes! There are so many sizes of clothing, it almost takes the piss – who wears a size XXXL? Anyway, prices are a bit higher here (it’s a very posh area), but so is the quality for the most part. There are toys, silks, suitcases, kitsch, clothing, shoes; basically everything you need or could ask for.
Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok MTR, Exit D3
There was a big fire here a couple of years ago and several people died, and it hasn’t been nearly as crowded since. It’s safe though, and calm. I like to go in the early evening on weekdays, and have never had a problem with a big crowd. There are several factory outlet stores here, and clothes in every style imaginable. It’s also known as Sneakers Street, although there aren’t nearly as many shoe shops as there used to be. In addition to regular stores, there are plenty of street stalls. There is, however, the size problem. Pants are out of the question, and I usually just buy oversized dresses and tops.
Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan MTR, Exit A2
Hollywood Road is known as Antiques Street and nearby is Upper Lascar Row, or Cat Street, which hosts stalls filled to the brim with antiques. Again, you need a sharp eye to figure out if something really is an antique, but I enjoy sifting through propaganda posters, perfume bottles and an ungodly amount of unidentifiable objects. Prices vary wildly, and haggling depends on the shopkeepers’ mood. This is a plenty touristed area, so prices are higher, but it’s a nice place to stop as you wander the back streets of Sheung Wan and Central.
Where do you like to shop in Hong Kong?