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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Travel | El's Top 5 Favourite Areas to Shop in Hong Kong (Part Two)

Hello again!

Welcome to the continuation of my list of top 5 places to visit in Hong Kong! If you have not read the first part, click HERE.

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Anyway, let's continue on with the shopping wonderland called Hong Kong!

#3 Mongkok

Mongkok-- a great place to shop even if it's a popular place for tourists. There's always the Ladies' Market to visit, which is listed in almost every travel guide book. If you've never been to Hong Kong and want to do "touristy" things, go to Ladies Market. Prices there are higher than many other similar places in Hong Kong. If you are a bargain hunter, go to Argyle Centre and Fa Yuen Street. 

Argyle Centre is a small-ish shopping complex crammed full with shops selling female and male clothing as well as accessories. It is even more crammed full of stuff than the shops at Dragon Centre and Kwai Chung Plaza and the layout of the place is pretty messy too. However, it is a wonderful place to get lost in since there are shops selling tops for as cheap as *gasp* HKD 4-30. You can also find some great deals here. I bought a T-Shirt here for HKD 25 when other places like shops at Kwai Fong were selling the same shirt for HKD80! You can also find pleather backpacks going for as cheap as HKD 60. Thus don't brush off Mongkok as a place filled with tourist traps! There are definitely a couple of good deals if you know where to go.

Apparel-wise, Argyle Centre is a great place to shop if you're somewhat thin and young, since the styles there seem to cater to the teenage and young adult crowds and most clothing are in free size. Also, quite a lot of shops sell things with the same or similar designs but of different quality, so be sure to shop around to check out the variety there. Also, do note that the quality of the clothes sold are variable but are rather value worthy considering the price paid. Clothes produced for fast fashion are usually not of the highest quality, although you can spot a couple of gems once in a while.

**Personally, I find that the fancier looking shops are located at the lower levels while the top 2 levels have a bunch of cheap clothes and bags but they usually have similar designs. 

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This is how Argyle Centre's exterior looks like. Pardon the lack of photos since I was distracted by shopping. 

Directions to Argyle Centre:
688 Nathan Rd, Mong Kok, Kowloon
Exit D2 at Mongkok MTR Station

Another place in (near) Mongkok is Fa Yuen Street. It's like Ladies Market(at Tung Choi Street) but with less tourists. I brought Christine there once when we travelled to HK together a few years back. There were some pretty good things to buy there then. However, I've not visited this place in a while since I've got new fave places to shop. Nonetheless, it's a good place to check out if you're looking for a Ladies Market alternative.

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Directions to Fa Yuen Street:
From Mongkok MTR Station, take Exit B2 and turn left(facing the street). Walk and Fa Yuen Street is at the third intersection.
You can also get there via Prince Edward MTR Station and take Exit B2.

Besides these two areas in Mongkok, you can also consider checking out Langham Place, which is directly connected to the MTR via Exit C3. It's has all the brands but what makes it stand out is the sequence of long escalators (think 4 stories) there that gives a great view of the mall. I like to visit there just for the escalators when I'm in Mongkok area. Haha.

#4 Tsim Sha Tsui

Tsim Sha Tsui, also known as TST, is a place I love. It's one of the places that I am pretty familiar with since for the past few years, I've been staying at a guesthouse in TST whenever my family and I visit Hong Kong. It's a more upmarket area with many shopping malls like The One, K-11 and Harbour City, so shopping here is not as cheap as the places mentioned earlier. There is also the popular Granville Street, which sells clothes similar to shops in Sham Shui Po, Kwai Fong and Mongkok but not as cheap. 
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Why have I listed it as one of my favourite shopping places then?
It's because it's the best area to get any last minute shopping done! It has all my must-visit shops in the area, including the Esprit Outlet located at China Hong Kong City located at Canton Road, a Monki shop at Granville Road and other shops located along Carnavon and Cameron Street. There's a really big Bonjour outlet in the area, which I like to go to find some hard to find products. There is also a 2 stories high SaSa in the area (besides the other smaller branches that can be found in the area). You can literally buy everything there if you've got limited time.
 There are also many shops selling yummy street food here, such as egglets(waffle balls). There's a street of dessert and snack shops along Hart Ave worth checking out too.If someone tells me I've only got 3 hours to get all my shopping done, this is where I'll go.

I went to check out Honey Creme, a popular soft serve shop and tried the milk tea and pearls ice cream. Decided it was too overrated as a place but if you love icy soft serve,you can check out this place. 

#5 Lai Chi Kok

The last place would be Lai Chi Kok. Lai Chi Kok is known for its shops doing wholesale fashion, which means many owners come here to buy clothes for their own shops. The most famous of all places is the Hong Kong Industrial Centre, which you'll find if you turn right upon exiting Exit C at Lai Chi Kok MTR (aka if the Edward Wong Tower is opposite you, the building is behind you). 

When you enter Hong Kong Industrial Centre, you might just go crazy if you're not prepared for it. It's that overwhelming, just to enter and be greeted with clothes and people everywhere. The variety of styles is crazy here-- you'll barely find a shop selling the same thing. The price range here is also just as big, with prices ranging from HKD 50 to HKD 400.

As you can see from the left picture, not everything here can be considered as "cheap". Sellers will tell you that because they are a wholesalers, the prices for the same things in other parts of HK will be marked higher. Decide carefully if you are willing to commit to the price there since you may find similar looking styles going for cheaper when you shop around HK.
I managed to bag a few great bargains when I visited with Christine, including a real leather pouch and bag for HKD 60 and HKD 80 respectively, as well as a cool outerwear for HKD 50! Needless to say, this place is AMAZING. I suggest that you enter the place with a list of things you are looking for in mind. If not, you'll be swept away by the variety and overspend your budget.
I didn't buy this bag but I was so tempted to! HKD 180 (SGD 30) for a full leather bag which has a pouch inside sounded like a very good deal to me. This was taken at the bag shop where Christine and I found a couple of good deals! If you're interested to know where it is,  check below for the address and details since I took a business card from them.
The downside to this place is that there is only one cafe located at the basement, so if you're hungry, you either head down there or go to Cheung Sha Wan Plaza located across the street to fill your tummies. Just so you know, the staff at the cafe at the basement will chase you out if they judge that you have overstayed your welcome, especially during peak hours.
A decent meal for hungry stomachs. I got the 餐 (something like a value meal) Christine got the brisket noodles.
* An important thing to note is that this place only sells to non-wholesalers, aka you and me, on Saturdays. This is something that many online guides state as well. Thus it is crucial to plan your itinerary well if you want to fit in this place in your travels.  

Directions to Hong Kong Industrial Centre:
489-491 Castle Peak Rd Cheung Sha Wan
Take Exit C at Lai Chi Kok MTR Station

Details of the Bag Shop mentioned above (for those interested):
Hot Fashion
Shop E1, C4 Tai Yu Plaza, G/F Block C
Hong Kong Industrial Centre
Tel +852 3426 4833

That's all! Even though there are only 5 places listed, there are many other nice places to shop wherever you go to in Hong Kong. A few other personal favourites include shops in Tsuen Wan, Wan Chai, Tung Chung, as well as the ever popular Causeway Bay (where the only Forever 21 in the whole of HK is located at). It is easy to get around Hong Kong since the MTR network covers many areas and the MTRs are fast. 

Before I end, there are some things to note. 
1. As of April 2015, Hong Kong shops will not give plastic bags for free. A fee of HKD 0.50 will be charged for each plastic bag. So remember to bring a backpack or a reusable bag when going shopping,  unless you don't really care about the extra charge. There are shops like H&M, Zara and Monki, which provides paper bags for their customers to circumvent the new law.

2. Be careful of your belongings, just like everywhere else you go. Things get really troublesome if your wallet gets stolen :(

3. If you get lost trying to find a place. look out for any sign posts, especially the ones for tourists. There are usually signposts with pink signs that direct you in the direction of popular tourist locations. Plus there are maps attached to the signposts. Do not trust your GoogleMaps GPS to locate your position. It is super inaccurate and unreliable in Hong Kong, so plan your journey well before heading out.

Happy Shopping!

Till next time
El   xoxo

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