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 your 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, and menswear. Just don't believe that any of branded merchandise here is 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.
Traditional medicine is so popular in Hong Kong that the trade beats any other city on the mainland China. A 10-minute taxi ride will take you from Central to Sheung Wan. Follow the bitter-sweet aroma of herbs, ginseng and goji to find the century-old stretch, just off Des Voeux Road West. This is one of the earliest neighborhoods on Hong Kong Island and its atmosphere still resembles that of the city from 50 years ago. Many apothecaries here have operated for more than half a century, dispensing old-school health care and healing prescriptions from its unique TCM cabinets which seem to be made up of a million little drawers. Ko Shing Street is also the local hot spot to get dried food ingredients, such as seafood.
This health and beauty retailer is Hong Kong's own Boots, but with a unique Asian liveliness and cuteness. The chain store has more than 180 outlets across the city, among which 50 have pharmacies selling day-to-day medicines and first-aid necessaries, and all of them carry cosmetics, beauty, personal care and nutrition products. The stores also offer a great selection of drinks (the Watsons branded distilled water is one of the first products of its kind in China) and wacky but wonderful snacks (local or imported), such as Hello Kitty milky sweets, French Fries biscuits and chilled and packed glutinous rice cakes.
Hong Kong is probably the best place to buy cameras in the world, with a vast, up-to-the-minute and duty-free selection and as many digital shops as there are dim sum kitchens. It takes some real knowledge of the city and the trade to brave the city's hectic digital malls in Sham Shui Po, Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui as the markets are not short of sales scams, "grey market goods" and counterfeits. Wing Shing Photo in Mongkok has been regarded one of the most professional, comprehensive and reliable dealers. The chain store specialized in digital single-lens reflex cameras and lenses from all major brands including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc. It also stocks a large number of compact cameras.
Almost all of Hong Kong's established outdoor shops have a branch in Mongkok and RC Outfitter is one of the best. Split between two levels, its 500-square-meter main store on Argyle Street sells travel-purposed clothes, shoes, backpacks and luggages bags. Other more specific products including hiking, camping, rock-climbing, canoeing and skiing equipment. From rookie skiers to the most ambitious hikers, everybody can find their own department here. Most merchandise is imported from Europe, U.S.A, South Korea and Taiwan. The shop is located just off Nathan Road and can be tricky to find. Its official website, which is bilingual, has the directions. There are five other RC Outfitter shops in Hong Kong.
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. Rather than 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 "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 stalls with canvas at noon and pull them down when the market closes around midnight. Best time to go is after 7pm. Nearest metro station is Mongkok via exit E2.
The 23-story high-rise in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui is devoted almost entirely to retail. Currently the tallest shopping mall in Hong Kong, The One is a 400,000-square-meter vertical wonderland for shopaholics, who can easily spend a whole day in the commercial tower. Start your shopping marathon from browsing through clothes and jewelry on the lower levels. Then catch up on a film you missed while traveling in the Broadway Cinema on the sixth floor. Continue your shopping through the home department on the seventh floor or have a workout at the California Fitness on the ninth to 11th floor. End up your journey by enjoying a meal and a spectacular view over Victoria Harbour at one of the many restaurants on one of the top five floors. Most of the mall's brands are mainstream labels with a few luxury names.
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 at 18 Salisbury Road and one in 1881 Heritage on Canton Road.
A stone's throw from Temple Street Night Market, this 400-stall indoor market is a real-life encyclopedia of China's lucky stone. Stocks range from USD3 jade pedant, USD10 jade bracelets all the way up to serious collectors' items that can easily fetch USD10,000. Come with a local friend who knows about the trade if you plan to dig up authentic investment pieces – most stalls here carry similar products and the majority of the jade here are mass produced. Counterfeits also exist. But if you're just looking for some affordable and unique presents to bring back home, this place is great. Bargaining is essential.
You can start shopping in Hong Kong the minute you step off your ship. Harbour City, one of Hong Kong's largest and most comprehensive shopping malls, is part of the Ocean Terminal complex. This 222,000-square-meter mall stretches from Ocean Terminal all the way down to Star Ferry wharf and puts more than 700 stores, 50 restaurants and two cinemas under one roof. It's a great spot to refuel your inventory for your next leg of journey because it really has everything, from quick-dry casualwear, swimsuits, camera accessories to sun glasses. This is also one of the luxury shopping centres where tourists queue up to buy couture, bags and shoes from top-tier fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Channel and Burberry.