Hong Kong, China, as one of the great cities of Asia and even the world, is a fantastic place for visitors to shop and find exotic goods that they wouldn’t be able to find at home. This is a brief guide to what’s on offer, how to buy it and then you can figure out for yourself how to get it all home!
Photo by kainet
The most traditional way to shop in Hong Kong is to find one of the many street markets where vendors will offer you almost anything from food to fake designer clothes and all at bargain prices, if you’re prepared to haggle. For cheap convenience goods, or the joy of haggling, the markets are fine but do not expect to find quality goods, no matter how much the stall-holder assures you of their provenance.
One step up from the street markets are the ‘theme streets’ of Hong Kong, where a specific product is sold in great variety by almost everyone in sight. The song bird street is a great place to visit, although not a very practical place to shop for visitors flying home. The flower street is a fantastic experience, while the goldfish street is truly bizarre. The street selling jade is perhaps the best place for souvenir hunters but you are advised not to pay high prices for anything as the goods are very probably worthless.
There are numerous large shopping malls spread throughout Hong Kong, although while these offer convenience they are likely to be very similar to what the average visitor can find at home. They are a good place to find discount electronic goods but be warned that you may have to travel thousands of miles to come back if the product develops a fault. And cheap electronics are quite likely to develop a fault.
The clothes on offer in Hong Kong are a curious mix of western and Asian, Japanese driven fashion. For the connoisseur this can make for an interesting fusion and be a great place to create new looks and get fresh ideas. However, for many people the mix will create more confusion than creativity with the styles seeming too brash, bright or downright weird.
The city authorities in Hong Kong run the Quality Tourism Services Scheme, which assures visitors that establishments certified by the scheme provide top quality customer care. This includes clearly marked prices, good information about the products is available and the customer service has been judged to be excellent. These places are generally as good as the scheme makes out, however they also tend to be more expensive than is really justifiable and have a sterile atmosphere that marks them out from the usual chaotic and energetic places in the city.