Little Koo’s guide to shopping in Hong Kong

I’ve posted before (a long time ago) about shopping in Hong Kong but I think it’s time to do it again! When I first arrived in Hong Kong, I was so confused. I had heard that Hong Kong was a shopping mecca (and Hong Kongers certainly love to shop!) but I found that all the malls were full of designer labels, which I am not interested in and certainly must be out of the price range of many Hong Kongers. So where do they shop? Over the years (nearly 4 now) that I’ve been in Hong Kong, I’ve gradually found shops that I actually like shopping in and I now know where to get most things I want or need. So if you are new to Hong Kong, just visiting or looking for some inspiration, I thought I would share some of these places with you!

Little Koo's guide to shopping in Hong Kong

 

N.B. I’ve not stated where you can find any of these shops but I’ve linked to the store finder pages for their websites (where appropriate) so you can take a look for yourself.

Firstly, I should point out that nothing beats taking a walk around your local neighbourhood, or indeed any neighbourhood in Hong Kong. There are so many tiny independent shops and some of them are so handy for this or that. Whilst you may be a bit scared that the storekeeper won’t speak English (and they may well not, depending on where you are), it’s amazing how much you can get by with gesturing and if you want something specific you could try using google translate to show them the (traditional) Chinese characters! (N.B. it may be best to get a Cantonese friend to confirm the translation if possible!) My favourite shops are those little ones that sell ‘everything’ – mainly homewares, but then you discover stationery, gadgets and even (in one case) underwear! (I didn’t buy the underwear) So fascinating to look round.

I should also point out here the importance of buying something when you see it! So often I have thought about buying something later and then when I went back, it was gone. Boooo.

My favourite areas in Hong Kong to shop are Whampoa Gardens in Hung Hom (which happens to be very close to where I live) and City Plaza in Tai Koo. I feel like they have more of a range of affordable shops, of the kind that I like to shop in, rather than just miles of designer shops. Many of the shops below can be found in these areas but also in many other places in Hong Kong too.

Groceries

To start this shopping guide, if you are really new to Hong Kong then you’ll need to know where to buy groceries! Thankfully you are very likely to be near a Park N Shop or Wellcome supermarket wherever you are. Fusion, Taste, International and Great are also owned by Park N Shop. I personally prefer the Park N Shop stores over Wellcome as they have more western products, and I can buy most of the same food as in the UK here (if different brands). Market Place is owned by Wellcome but has more of a range of international products. If you like your supermarkets more upscale, then check out city’super, Oliver’s or ThreeSixty.

Markets

Supermarket fruit and veg isn’t the greatest, so you might want to head to your nearest wet market. These sell mostly fresh produce (although some of it may be a little fresher than you’re used to!). including meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and are generally housed in government centres in each area (try googling ‘wet market <area name>’ to find one in a specific area). Many also have stalls selling local ingredients (great if you like to cook Chinese food!), dried seafood (smelly!) and a cooked food centre on the top floor. The cooked food centres are like low budget food courts, with cheap (mostly) local food. The few times I have been, the food has been pretty good although they can be a little confusing if you are new to Hong Kong. Some have table service, and often this means that if you sit at a specific table you are tied to the food from a specific vendor. It’s all good fun though, and if you’re not feeling that adventurous get a friend to take you!

While we’re talking about markets, there are street markets as well as the wet markets. My favourite is the one in Wanchai, on Tai Yuen St and Cross St, just south of the MTR. It’s not huge but it has a nice range of stalls. I go there to buy plastic shoes for myself (useful in spring!) and swimsuits for the kids but I always leave with at least one other thing! The Lanes in Central (on Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West), has mainly clothes and accessories. Stanley Market (between the bus terminus and the sea) is quite touristy but has a mix of clothes (including cheap children’s clothes), toys, Chinese art and crafts and tourist items. Sham Shui Po street market (next to exit A of the MTR, on Pei Ho Street and Apliu Street) is a real local market with a mix of cheap clothes, second hand electronics, tools and much more.

The most famous markets in Hong Kong are the Ladies’ Market (Tung Hoi Street, Mongkok) and Temple Street Night Market (Temple Street, Jordan/Yau Ma Tei). These are pretty touristy but are quite a fun experience if you just want to browse or buy some tourist tat. They can get quite busy though! Temple Street Night Market has lots of restaurants and food stalls around too so you can make a night out of it. I think it opens at around 6pm.

Convenience stores

I can’t go much further without mentioning 7-Eleven. These little convenience stores are everywhere and they are so handy. As well as selling snacks and the all-important cold drinks (essential in summer), you can buy milk (useful if the supermarket is shut) and a few toiletries, top up your Octopus card, get cashback with an EPS card, pay bills and buy stamps. This last tip I only learned recently! There are alternatives to 7-Eleven, which include Circle K and V>nGo, which have similar services but I don’t know if they do everything that 7-Eleven does.

Clothes

H&M – I love this shop so much, even when I was in the UK I used to buy almost all of my clothes here and that hasn’t changed in Hong Kong. It helps that the price is about the same as in the UK too. And since I’ve had children (my twins are two and a half now) it’s my go-to place for kids’ clothes. They have some great designs and it’s reasonably priced too.

Uniqlo – another reasonably priced clothing store. Mostly the clothing isn’t to my taste but I’ve bought a few pieces there, and when my kids are a bit bigger I’ll start getting them the cute children’s clothing they have there too!

Marks & Spencer – I feel like this store is a little ‘old’ for me (I’m in my mid thirties) but the clothes are high quality and it’s good to take a look every now and again. The price of the clothes sold here is significantly higher than in the UK so I baulk a bit at the price! But if you really love M&S, you can shop from the UK site (with UK prices) and get it shipped here for £15. Marks and Spencer Food is taking off in Hong Kong (as it is in the UK) with new stores springing up all over the time. The food is expensive but really good!

Zara – another shop where I baulk a bit at the price but love to look around every now and again. It’s not designer prices though, and they have some beautiful clothes.

Gap – slightly overpriced in my opinion, but I’m not sure if the price is different to the stores in the UK. I do like their jeans though! The website is in Chinese but you can zoom in on the map to see where stores are in HK.

Forever 21 – cheap and cheerful fashion clothing. I think there is just one store in Hong Kong, in Causeway Bay, but it is enormous! It’s located opposite Exit F1 of Causeway Bay MTR, at Capitol Center, 5-19 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay.

Bossini – good for cheap casual clothes.

Baleno – more cheap casual clothes. And some very cute children’s clothes! (click the box in the right hand corner of the website and choose ‘International’ to see the site in English)

G2000 – reasonably priced suits and work wear

If you prefer independent clothing shops, these are everywhere so take a walk around and see what you find. I quite like the shops on Wan Chai Road, there is a real mix of styles there!

I took a look around here Elgin Street and Staunton Street in Mid Levels for a dress to wear to a wedding at the recommendation of a friend and I wasn’t short of options! If you are looking for a party dress or something for wedding or a black tie event, this area is great, there are loads of shops and a real range in price so hunt for a bargain or splurge on something amazing!

Beauty/Health

There are a few options if you’re looking for high street beauty products, including Sasa, Colormix and Bonjour. They have both western and Asian brands. Great if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, but the skin whitening products do freak me out a little bit.

Watsons and Mannings are a great place to shop if you are looking for health-related products (the kind of things you would go to Boots or Superdrug for in the UK). They have lots of stores too, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one. Many Mannings also have pharmacy counters, and the pharmacists generally speak good English so they can help you if you are looking for something specific!

Household items

If you’re setting up a household (i.e. you’ve just moved to Hong Kong) and looking for all those little bits you need for your kitchen or bathroom then Japan Home Centre (which also calls itself JHC) is a great first port of call (unless you happen to have found one of those shops that has everything that I mentioned above!). It has a pretty wide range of stuff and it’s all quite cheap. They are everywhere too, so you shouldn’t have to go far to find one! Just a note of caution: I have heard that the electronics they sell aren’t great. Maybe look elsewhere for those things!

Similar to Japan Home Centre (but with a more limited range of small items) is Price Rite. They also sell furniture, but they have a good range of storage and sell most kitchen items. Similar price to Japan Home Centre. The website is in Chinese but you can look at the maps to see which store is nearest to you.

Aeon (which used to be called Jusco) is another one of my first ports of call, mainly because there is a large store very close to me. It’s got a good range of baby items which has been invaluable for me. The price is not that cheap but it’s not expensive either. And it’s a department store so it has a wide range of goods including clothing, shoes, toys, kitchenware and household appliances. I like to shop in their kitchenware department too. My friend likes to shop in the supermarket there, but I’ve not used it that often.

A subsidiary of Aeon is Living Plaza (click the Aeon link above and scroll down to see the Living Plaza shops), another one of my favourite shops! Almost everything in the store is $12 (approx. £1) and they have a really wide range of things in there! I always go in looking for one thing and come out with five!

Ikea – beloved of almost every country and Hong Kong is no exception. Definitely one of the most affordable places to get homewares and furniture. Don’t go on a Sunday though, the queues for the tills are horrendous!

Fortress – I mentioned above that Japan Home Centre is not a great place to buy electronics so you might want to head to Fortress instead. They have a wide range of electrical items from TVs to dehumidifiers (the latter is pretty necessary in HK) at pretty standard prices.

Baby & Children’s

I find that most baby and children’s items are a bit pricey in Hong Kong, but maybe that’s because I’m coming at it as a westerner who is looking for certain types of products. Anyway, I buy many things from Park N Shop – especially nappies, wipes and baby food. You can find these things in most supermarkets I think, and also in Watsons or Mannings (see above). I already mentioned above that I go to Aeon for many baby items, and Ikea has a surprising (to me) and affordable range of baby equipment and toys. Toys R Us (especially the bigger ones which have a Baby R Us section) is another useful place to look. Other baby shops include Mothercare, Bumps To Babes and Tiny Footprints but I don’t shop there often as I find the price is quite expensive and they are not close to me. Many bookshops (see below) have toys and gifts for children.

Books & stationery

For English language books, check out Popular Books, Page One, Eslite or Bookazine. Many of these shops also have cards, wrapping paper, gifts and a selection of stationery and craft supplies. For even more places to find books, check out these posts by HK Hub and Sassy.

For stationery supplies, you can’t beat the little independent stationery stores that are everywhere. Take a walk around your local area and you should come across one. If you’re very lucky you might find one with craft supplies and other bits and bobs too! I loved the one that I used to go to on Sing Woo Road in Happy Valley (when I lived there) – it had everything!

Art & craft supplies

Please check out my previous post with a comprehensive list of places where you can shop for art and craft supplies in Hong Kong.

And there’s more…

There are many other articles on other websites about shopping in Hong Kong, so take a look at the links below for even more places to shop!

Speciality shops in Hong Kong

Lonely Planet guide to shopping in Hong Kong

Sassy’s top five gift stores in Hong Kong

Guide to small malls on HK Magazine

Time Out’s list of Hong Kong’s best secret shops

Bagging a bargain from HK Hub

Finally, if you would rather shop from the comfort of your own home, I have written two useful guides about online shopping in Hong Kong, and overseas shops that deliver to Hong Kong.

Where do you like to shop? If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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