It would be a crime to write about Hong Kong without reference to all the shopping it offers. Here, you can choose to either blow up thousands of dollars or forget the wallet at home and survive with just a few Hong Kong Dollars in your pocket. If you need to sign up at Shopaholics Anonymous like I do, simply do both. Malls in Hong Kong draw thousands of shoppers from Mainland China every year, making the rich Chinese a key demographic to target.
The glitzy malls at Central are home to a range of dazzling high-end European brands. Clothes and footwear occupy largest mindspace here, followed by touristy stuff such as chopsticks and Chinese art displays. Window shopping is a must – I found myself stuck to the glass panes at Prada and Fendi pretty much like a goldfish blowing bubbles at the world outside. If I were a rich girl, I would buy Hong Kong. Or at least the shopping areas.
In sharp contrast, Prada and Fendi are also available as great quality knock-offs on the streets at Kowloon, in Temple bazaar and Ladies market. Hush! Don’t quote me on this one. Bustling with activity and open till around midnight, this market truly models supply and demand microeconomics on a minute-by-minute basis. Look like a tourist, show high interest in a handbag and you’ll probably get the worst rates despite the vendor’s promise of “Only for you best price, la!“. Look confident, seem slightly interested, wear the bargaining hat and you’ll walk away with a superior air of conquest.
Most interestingly, small designer stores are ubiquitous in central areas such as Causeway Bay and Lang Kwai Fong. These are owned by budding designers, who unleash their creative spark and offer mid-priced garments to Hong-kies. To give you a sense of how addictive shopping here is – I bought and checked-in an extra bag just for all my shopping.