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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

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

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Hello everyone!

Welcome to the first part of my top 5 areas to shop in Hong Kong. I thought I'd split this list into 2 posts since it might be too much text to digest at once.

Hong Kong is known for its food, rapid pace of life and of course, SHOPPING! I love shopping in Hong Kong since there are so many kinds of shops available for people with different budgets. From cheap deals to great steals, there is something to be found in HK for everyone.

Having stayed in Hong Kong for almost 3 months, I have discovered some new favourite places to shop beside my usual hangouts. Being an avid shopaholic who loves a good deal, I thought that listing my top 5 shopping areas would be useful for fellow shopaholics visiting Hong Kong. The places I am listing here are all easily accessible by MTR. If you're curious to know more, read on!

#1 Sham Shui Po

Sham Shui Po is located in the Sham Shui Po district, one of the poorest district in Hong Kong. It is best known as a place to find deals on electronic goods at Apliu Street. There is also a whole street selling fabrics and materials for sewing and other DIY projects, so do check out the area if you enjoy such hobbies. However, the main attraction of Sham Shui Po for me is that you can find Dragon Centre and Cheung Sha Wan Street here, aka my #1 area to shop.

First of all, Dragon Centre is 9 stories of madness, with shops packed on every floor selling food to cosmetics to clothes and more. Between level 5 to level 7 is Apple Mall, where basically a bunch of small retail and services shops are crammed together, which reminds me of Bugis Street. You can find cute trinkets there as well as clothes, bags for as cheap as HKD 30 (less than SGD 6). It even has quite a couple of shops offering beauty services like haircuts, eyelash extensions and manicures. Even if you don't plan on buying anything, there'll be lots to see just by making a trip there!

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The exterior of Dragon Centre, which will be colourfully lit up at night.

Here are some of the things I spotted while there! 

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Bags are really cheap here. You can get a cute satchel for HKD 30 or a backpack for HKD 50.

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When you get tired from shopping, pop by Cafe Dream on the 7th floor of Dragon Centre for an energy refuel. It has got delicious (and beautiful) waffles and other appealing food on the menu. The ambience and view is great too! It is a rather small space so I advice going in during off-peak meal hours.
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Left: Matcha Latte, Right: Carbonara Pasta (the only pasta I had in Hong Kong that is cooked al dente, hence it was awesome!) I got the lunch set and topped up on the drink, so the whole meal cost me HKD 84, which is pretty reasonable.

Dragon Centre is located at:
37 K, Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Take Exit C1 at Sham Shui Po MTR Station (red line)
For more information about Dragon Centre, click here.

Speaking of good deals, one of the best places to find amazing deals is at Cheung Sha Wan Street, which is also known as the Fashion Street.

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If you see this sign, you're on the right road! There are shops on both sides of the road which sell a variety of things, and there are food places to check out if you're hungry.

This street stretches all the way to Lai Chi Kok based on the map, but I find that most of the nice shops are usually around Sham Shui Po station. This is because this is known as Fashion Street and there are many wholesale shops located along the street. It's a place where you can't help but get down and dirty sometimes digging through boxes of clothes because they are so darn cheap! Thankfully, most shops have their most attractive deals hanging on racks outside their shops  so you don't have to go through boxes of clothes. The racks are also helpful in giving you an estimate of the price range of the items and the style of clothes they sell. Prices can range from HKD 10 to HKD 100+, and you can always find something cute for a good price. To me, it's one of the cheapest and best places to shop in Hong Kong for clothes because of the amazing variety and great prices. It's mind boggling how there are so many shops selling clothes and accessories there but the shops rarely sell clothes of the same design. It's like a shopping wonderland for me~ Plus, you can find some pretty good quality clothes if you've got a discerning eye!

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Can you resist not looking or buying anything when you walk along the whole street?
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You can get underwear and accessories for really cheap too! Buying lingerie at the shops here is a bit risky since they don't allow trying. I recommend that you purchase one first and go back to buy more if it fits and you really like it!

The downside, like most places in Hong Kong, is that if you're not the standard petite or small size, the chances of finding clothoes which fits you are low. Moreover, all the shops practise the "No Trying Allowed" policy. However, no fear! I've been able to find clothes that fits me there but I don't get to choose from as much a variety as the average sized girl (which can be considered a blessing since I might spend all my pay just shopping there). A good time to visit the area would be during the weekdays, as during weekends, there won't be as many shops open. This is because the shops are mostly catering to wholesalers, who buy in bulk, rather than the average consumers. However, they'll still sell things to you even if you're buying one item. 

Here is a link to the Cheung Sha Wan Fashion Street website (it's a bit plain but might help)
Take Exit C1 at Sham Shui Po MTR Station, or you can take other exits that lead you near the street. It's the biggest main street there so it's not too hard to miss it. 

#2 Kwai Fong

If shopping for cheap deals in "shabby" or "dirty" looking streets is daunting to you, Kwai Fong's a place for you! It's a place that is off the usual tourist path. You can find lots of good deals in the comfort of an air-conditioned environment. It's located on the Tsuen Wan line and is slightly out of the way for people who are used to staying in Central and TST area. However, this does not mean it's empty. It's usually packed with people, especially after school hours (~4:30pm) and the weekends! Kwai Fong is the station where Kwai Chung Plaza and Metro Plaza are located at. Kwai Chung Plaza is the place you'd want to go if you like good bargains for street style clothes and accessories. It's also like Singapore's Bugis Street but cheaper, cleaner, brighter and more variety! It's a popular place with locals based on my observation of the crowds hanging out there, so you know there are treasures to be uncovered there!

Like Dragon Centre, the shops inside Kwai Chung Plaza are all crammed together and you really have to be quick to decide if you want something. This is because it can take up to one whole day to explore Kwai Chung Plaza and it's a bit hard to track back to the same shop since it is easy to get confused by the plaza's layout (I get lost there all the time...). There are shops selling things from accessories and clothes to phone sim cards!
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The top most floor of the building is where all the yummy food stalls are located, while the other floors sell clothes. The prices here are pretty cheap, with many stylish pieces going for as little as HKD 30! The stock turnover rate is also pretty fast, with new items coming in almost every week (something I learnt after visiting the place twice in a week). The shops there definitely are on top of their style game! It's definitely a place to check out if you have never been there before. 
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There're a ton of shops selling from clothes to desserts in Kwai Chung Plaza to be found. Pardon me for the lack of photos on this shopping trove because I was either lost or distracted by shopping. 

Kwai Chung Plaza is located at:
Kwai Fong MTR. The easiest and most straightforward way for a first timer is to exit the MTR by the ground level and cross the road (the building name is huge so you won't miss it!)

If Kwai Chung Plaza triggers your claustrophobia, there is always Metroplaza, which is connected to Kwai Chung Plaza via a link way. It sells more upmarket items with the usual shops like SaSa, Jurlique, The Body Shop etc. There is also TASTE, which is a supermarket. I don't really shop there since I can find the shops pretty much everywhere else. However, I like to go there for food, as it has eateries and cafes. It's a good place to go if you don't dig the food stalls in Kwai Chung Plaza.

Personally, I would recommend Arome Cafe, just because their yummy and beautiful cakes are really affordable for the price. Also, Arome Cafe is pretty hard to find in Hong Kong and Metroplaza is the only place I know that has it. The cafe also has matcha beverages, which automatically makes it one of my favourite places to chill after shopping.

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This is the Hanabatake Pasta from Arome Cafe, which is delicious and smells heavenly, especially when your stomach is empty. The pasta contains prawns though, so do take note. I got mine with milk tea which is really good. 

 Another reason to visit Metroplaza is that one of the bigger 6ixty8ight branches in HK is there. They sell matching lingerie sets for around HKD 68-128 usually but things get even cheaper when sales season is on! They also sell some pretty clothes too! So if you're female, love pretty lingerie and swimwear, this shop is definitely a place to visit! However, it's not a great place to visit if your size exceeds 80C, since bra sizes don't run that big there.

That's all for the first part of my top 5 places to shop in HK! I thought I'd list the first two to get the party started. Check back next week for the rest of the list! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section :)

Till next time,
El   xoxo

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