Best Christmas Shopping in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Christmas Shopping: Where to Get a Great Festive Deal

Christmas is not quite such a big celebration in Hong Kong as it is in other parts of the world. As a holiday, it tends to be overshadowed by Lunar New Year. But Hong Kong's department stores, shops and malls don't scrimp on decorations, or on launching marketing drives complete with Santa, the elves, and – puzzlingly, given the annual temperatures – plenty of snow, something few citizens ever see for real.

Much of Hong Kong's shopping gets done in malls, and one of the smartest is IFC, right on the waterfront on Hong Kong Island. Expect a giant tree, live carol singing, and plenty seasonal decor. If you're not sure where to start shopping the mall's concierges – smarter and more user friendly than any technological app – are mines of information.

The winter in Hong Kong is usually fairly gentle, so shopping out of doors is usually a pleasant experience. The traders at Stanley Market and Temple Street and other outdoor venues are well aware that Christmas is coming, and stock up with all sorts of Christmas themed goodies.

Finally, for somewhere that's very Chinese, very Christmas, and very cool, take a look around Shanghai Tang, Hong Kong's ultimate designer Christmas store.


Causeway Bay
Times Square

Times Square consists of two towers (46 and 39 stories), with over 83,613 square meters (900,000 square feet) of retail space between them, plus about 92,903 square meters (one million square feet) of office space. Pick up the latest fashions at Charles Jourdan, Coach, Kooka�, Max Mara, Anna Sui and Vivienne Tam. Browse the offerings at big department stores Lane Crawford and Marks & Spencer. Look for gifts at Links of London or Montblanc. Get some new tennis shoes at Nike, Reebok, Fila, Puma or New Balance. Grab an ice cream cone at Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dazs, or dine at the super-trendy Water Margin or Wasabisabi.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The piazza outside Times Square is a favorite gathering place and is filled with Christmas spirit in the run-up to the holidays.

Ed's expert tip: Immediately opposite Times Square, Russell Street is lined with smart stores and boutiques.

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Stanley Market
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Stanley Market has become a bit touristy over the years, but it's still worth a trip. Most stalls open around 10am and close by 5pm, and you'll find a huge variety of goods. Vendors sell everything from brand-name fashions, ceramics, embroidered silk and Chinese knick-knacks. The Stanley area is near the water, so seafood restaurants are numerous. The market is bustling every day, but Sundays are unpleasantly crowded. A number of good restaurants have opened in the area, so there is no reason why you can't spend the whole day here, breaking for lunch and then getting on with the serious business of shopping in the afternoon.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Stanley's higgledy-piggledy layout makes shopping a delight – and there's loads of great Christmas stuff on sale.

Ed's expert tip: Bargaining is still accepted here; if the trader won't meet your price, ask for some extra merchandise.

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Festival Walk

Hong Kong malls are constantly striving to be bigger and better than their competitors, so while the store directory is often similar from one mall to the next, the list of extras varies widely. Festival Walk boasts an 11-screen cinema, a massive ice skating rink, and 20,438 square meters (220,000 square feet) of office space. There are more than 200 stores, including Swarovski, Timberland, agnes b., Aquascutum, Hugo Boss, Christian Dior, Levi's, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood and Marks & Spencer. As the main shopping center in the area, Festival Walk attracts a lot of local residents. MTR: Kowloon Tong.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Festival Walk's ice rink makes a great break from shopping, and it's a good way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Ed's expert tip: Kowloon Tong is a residential area on the northern edge of Kowloon, and there is not a lot to see or do outside Festival Walk.

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Occupying three blocks of Tung Choi Street every night, this enclave of more than 100 stalls represents the epitome of Asia's market culture: a bit crowded, a lot noisy but totally stimulating. Unlike what its name suggests, the 1,000-meter-long market sells a wide selection of clothes, shoes and travel souvenirs, from US$5 sandals to Chinese necklace pendants to the "I Love Hong Kong" T-shirts. Although it's been running for about three decades, this government-licensed street market is still set up from scratch every day. Vendors build their tents with canvas at noon and pull them down when the market closes around midnight. Best time to go is after 7pm when tourists and merchants are at their optimal size. Nearest metro station is Mongkok via exit E2.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Don't be mislead by the name "Ladies Market" – there's plenty of Christmas gear here at very good prices.

Tracy You's expert tip: Bargain hard or you'll be a bargain. A good strategy is to halve the asking price, at least.

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Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium
Photo courtesy of Yue Hwa

With a local following and shelves that stock just about any Oriental item needed, this emporium shop makes a good stop to pick up a souvenir. Yue Hwa offers beautiful merchandise at extremely affordable prices; china, herbal medical cures, and clothing.The quality is solid, the prices very reasonable, and the staff always willing. If the person you are dealing with has trouble with English, he or she will find someone who is fluent. There are plenty of items here which might do well as stocking fillers, or as small gifts for colleagues or distant relations. Take your time browsing, there is lots to see.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: This store is the perfect combination of Chinese – Inexpensive – and Quality.

Ed's expert tip: Even though this is a department store, it may well be possible to obtain a discount if you are buying a large amount.

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Shanghai Tang
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Having a qipao or Chinese tunic suit tailor-made in Hong Kong is a treat, but that process usually takes at least a week. For tourists in a hurry, Shanghai Tang stocks high-quality and off-the-rack traditional Chinese formal wear for both men and women. Probably the most famous Chinese couture house, Shanghai Tang originated in Hong Kong. Instead of strictly traditional designs, all of Shanghai Tang's garments are modernized, for example, a few qipaos come with belts and suits are made in exotic materials like moleskin. But all the classic details are there: stand-up collars, streamline cuts and intricate buttons. The brand also produces accessories like purses and scarves as well as homeware items. There are six Shanghai Tang outlets in downtown Hong Kong, with one in 18 Salisbury Road and one in 1881 Heritage on Canton Road.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Nothing says Hong Kong Class at Christmas better than Shanghai Tang.

Tracy You's expert tip: If you can spare the time and prefer a traditional made-to-measure qipao, try Mei Wah Fashion in Sheung Wan or Linva Tailor in Central.

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Lane Crawford
Photo courtesy of Lane Crawford

The story of Lane Crawford begins in 1850, when the store began to offer a wide selection of quality items. This upscale department store continues to have it all. From men's, women's, and children's wear to home furnishings and jewelry, Lane Crawford is one of the city's most popular Western-style department stores. The quality here is always excellent, and the staff are well informed and most helpful and courteous. While the prices are at the upper end of Hong Kong's retail scene, this is only to be expected. Lane Crawford is a great place to stock up on the very best for Christmas.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: This is one of Hong Kong's most venerable stores – and they certainly know all about traditional Christmas goodies.

Ed's expert tip: If you are doing a big Christmas shop here, ask about Lane Crawford's team of personal stylists who can help with top-notch advice.

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Temple Street Night Market
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

This nightly market is probably the most stereotypical Chinese street you can think of. Heralded by a temple gateway, the outdoor bazaar is filled with numerous hawkers selling all sorts of trinkets, some local opera fanatics singing shrilly in public and a row of kind-looking fortune tellers ready to describe you the future. Starting from Man Ming Lane near the Yau Ma Tai subway station and running southwards for about 1.5 kilometers, the tourist hot spot provides an atmospheric and cinematic environment for your souvenir shopping and is a treasure trove of T-shirts, tea ware, electronics, watches, menswear, etc. Just don't believe that any of branded merchandise here are actually real. The market gets its name from Tin Hau Temple which is bang in the middle of the strip. Hawkers begin emerging around sunset but the best time to go is between 8-10pm.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: From December onwards, Temple Street's stalls are festooned with all sorts of Christmas items at very reasonable prices.

Tracy You's expert tip: Don't eat before you go. The market is also well-known for its hawker food, a great place to get an inexpensive, quick and delicious meal.

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Sheung Wan
Western Market
Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Heritage

Unfortunately, much of Hong Kong's historic architecture has been demolished to make way for sleeker, more modern structures. That's part of the reason why Western Market stands out – it's located in a four-story brick Edwardian built in 1906, a real contrast to surrounding skyscrapers. The first floor, known as "cloth alley", is where you'll find a plethora of vendors offering an array of fabrics, from fine silks to inexpensive canvas. You'll also find wonderful handmade Chinese crafts. Shrewd shoppers can walk away with some real bargains here. Upstairs is the Treasure Inn Seafood Restaurant, a casual spot for a good midday meal.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: This is one of Hong Kong's heritage shopping spots – and just the place to stock up on Christmas cloth.

Ed's expert tip: There is no MTR station right nearby, so hop aboard the tram (streetcar) to get here.

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IFC Mall
Photo courtesy of IFC

Hong Kong is a shopper's paradise. It seems that everywhere you turn there are fabulous malls, outlets, markets and boutiques. IFC has a definite edge though, with a variety of designer boutiques that should please even the most devoted fashionista, including A|X Armani Exchange, Tiffany & Co, Juicy Couture, Givenchy, Escada, Burberry, Bulgari, Kate Spade and Aquascutum. Dining options range from casual to elegant and include Isola, Inagiku, Pret-A-Manger and Lei Garden. There's also a five-screen cinema and Hong Kong Station (linking directly to the airport). The Apple store is one of the sights of Hong Kong, packed with fans from morning till night.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: This is the place to come for upmarket Christmas presents – and maybe a treat for yourself.

Ed's expert tip: Ride the escalator up to IFC's top-floor deck to take in the harbor views.

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