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Hong Kong Leisure & Social

Hong Kong Shopping

A national past-time, shops are generally open from ten in the morning until ten at night.

On Hong Kong Island starting in Central there are shops to suit all budgets, from leading designer labels in the Plazas such as The Landmark, IFC and Princess Building. Along the Queens Road there are a range of shops within the reach of all pockets, predominantly clothes, electrical, Jewellery and mobile phones. Take a side trip to SOHO on Hollywood Road if you're in the market for antiques, plenty to choose from.

Next stop, Admiralty and Pacific Place again many high profile brands not five minutes' walk from Central. Great environment with places to eat and a supermarket stocked with many international brands downstairs. Cross over the road and you will be in Queensway Plaza yet more shops in one building.

Moving on, Causeway Bay another shopper's paradise, Times Square offers nine floors of shops and places to each, many you would have already seen in Central and Admiralty. There is also Sogo a very comprehensive department store offering everything to the discerning shopper and invariably has some sort of promotion running. Managed to pick up some nice things, both essential and non-essential items over the years, but very busy! Causeway Bay has its fair share of jewellery shops if that's what you're looking for.

Further out is Stanley, has a busy market unashamedly for the tourist, a nice day out, good beach and places to eat.

A word to the wise, there is no consumer protection in HK. Don't be fooled by the name you are buying and where. Don't be surprised if you can't try something on and if your receipt says that the goods cannot be exchanged or returned, once you have paid that's it, there's no going back. Some shops do offer a seven day exchange, but make sure before you buy.

Moving across to Kowloon side has a more local feel, less of the designer labels, but still plenty of choice. Tsuim Sha Tsui is the first stop, fewer smaller more local plazas and the beginning of the “Golden Mile” Nathan Road, wall to wall jewellery shops. Need a suit or dress, copy watch your in the right place. You will be hunted down, in a nice way by Asian businessmen handing out business cards offering their tailoring services; it can get on your nerves.

Yau Ma Tae is worth a mention, not much out of the ordinary during the day, but from around seven there is the “Men's" or Temple Street Market. Used by locals but mainly for tourists, you can bargain, it's expected and can be fun. Plenty of street food, mainly seafood, good but basic, most provide a toilet roll for napkins! The market finishes around eleven or if there is heavy or persistent rain.

Mong Kok is where you'll find the Ladies Market. Great for copy handbags, watches and sun glasses to name a few items on sale. It starts around mid-day and goes on until around eleven. I found if you go when it's raining the prices are better and without the crush.

These are the main areas to shop, for the dedicated shoppers there a number of websites that cover the subject in detail. For tourists and locals alike, I would be cautious of shops that have "TAX FREE" stickers in their windows. There is no GST or VAT (sales tax) in Hong Kong, only on liquor and tobacco products.

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