Hong Kong is a shopping mecca.
Shopping is a pastime for both tourists and locals.
In fact, a group of women I met on the subway said there are two things to do in Hong Kong: shop and hike (which I also did).
The main shopping districts are Central, Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui, in Kowloon.
From what I've seen, there are three basic kinds of shopping in Hong Kong.
- Luxury, high-end, beyond-what-my-budget-will-ever-afford-shopping.
- Affordable shopping.
- Temple Street Night Market, Lady's Market, Apliu Street Flea Market… shopping.
Only the second style of shopping in Hong Kong fits within my budget and ethics. Here's a bit about all three.
Upscale Shopping in Hong Kong
Luxury brand stores seem to be everywhere in Hong Kong. The opulence was fascinating at first but by the time I left the city it felt like too much. Is it because the city is compressed or are there really more luxury shops there? I checked. I found that there are three Hermes stores in Hong Kong, one in Toronto and two in New York City. It's the same for pattern for Chanel. So I guess it's a combination – compression and slightly more. Whatever the reason, these expensive shops are not for me. I don't even feel comfortable entering them never mind the fact that I can't afford them.
The Problem with the Markets
There are many street markets and shopping streets in Hong Kong. I went to the Night Market last time I was Hong Kong. This time I went to the Lady's Market on Tung Choi Street. On both occasions I didn't buy. The first time I was overwhelmed. The second time it just didn't feel right.
I wondered who was paying the price for products that are so cheap? It doesn't matter that they are knock-offs and there are no designers to pay. They're still too cheap. According to CNBC, a “counterfeit product is often created in a sweatshop, in violation of child labor laws, anti-sweatshop laws and basic human rights.”
I choose not to be part of such practices when I can.
Causeway Bay Shopping
I was most comfortable shopping in Causeway Bay. It offers a range of stores from luxury to affordable fashion and electronics. There's Sobo, a department store with a wide variety of brands packed into small footprints. And there are malls like La Foret with fast-fashion retailers. It seems that much of the merchandise was from Korea, a fast-fashion leader.
Highlights of Causeway Bay are Goods of Desire (a Hong Kong brand with homewares, fashion and premium gifts. They designed the travel bag below for the Premium Economy customers of Cathay Pacific.) and Victoria Park which is a wonderful retreat from the intensity of Hong Kong shopping.
For more specifics on shopping in Hong Kong read Where to Shop in Hong Kong.
This trip was sponsored by Cathay Pacific. I flew with them to Hong Kong enjoying their Premium Economy class experience with larger seats, more room between seats, more leg room and 8 inches of recline which, believe me, made for a better sleep on the direct 14-hour flight between Toronto and Hong Kong. After Hong Kong I flew to Yangon via Dragonair, their Asian specialty carrier.