We’ve all been there before: you just returned from a fabulous vacation overseas, far from home and farther still from the same old stores you’ve been shopping at for years, and your friend espies the new jacket or necklace you purchased while on vacation. She asks where you got such a unique item. You practically burst in excitement, but then coolly regain your composure.
Or maybe from a beach vendor in Cancun or at a street market in Marrakesh. Bringing special items back from exotic locales is one of the major benefits of traveling far away, and the more exotic the locale the better. You can buy a new pair of shoes in another town or in another hemisphere, but the pair you buy in another hemisphere holds a special place in your heart, for it reminds you of a fabulous vacation.
Travel agents, those pantheons of world travel, know there are a million good reasons to take a vacation, and shopping is high on that list. Traveling to a shopping mecca is a great way to enjoy a destination inside and out. Some call it retail therapy; travel agents call it an unforgettable vacation experience, especially when the shopping destination is Hong Kong.
Where East Meets West
Located on the southeastern coast of China, Hong Kong harmoniously blends eastern and western influences to become a city that is both highly exotic and simply unchallenging. English is one of its official languages, along with Cantonese, and the city mainly reflects a traditional Chinese heritage, despite existing for more than 150 years under British rule.
With many ancient traditions firmly entrenched within the city, Hong Kong is not afraid to boldly sweep forward into the modern world. Busy markets, stylish restaurants and worldly cuisine fill the streets, while the ultra-modern Mass Transit Railway (MTR) connects everything and everyone. Soaring above, skyscrapers fill the firmament with metal and light, none more than the 70-story Bank of China Tower — its unique design inspired from the elegant poise of bamboo.
With such a fascinating blend of cultural expressions, it’s no wonder Hong Kong ranks as one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Much of this popularity is due to its shopping opportunities. From the shopping districts of Central, Admiralty and Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island, to Tsim Tsa Tsui and Mong Kok across the harbor in Kowloon, Hong Kong is where you’ll find the latest, the greatest, and often times the least expensive items, no matter what you’re searching for. Whether its porcelain, traditional silk garments, musical instruments, handicrafts or antiques, you’ll find it in Hong Kong.
Crossroads of Fashion
Since Hong Kong is a popular international port, it remains current with the ever-changing trends of fashion, which are easy to spot on the stylish locals in the city streets. The region boasts a remarkable range of international department stores offering the latest designer styles and off-the-rack fashions. Chic international brands can be found in outlets throughout the territory, while chain stores bring the styles to the streets and into your shopping bag. There is something for every fashionistas’ budget and plenty for those who want to make a style statement all their own.
All that glitters can be found in Hong Kong, and the selection will make your eyes sparkle. Reasonably priced gold, diamonds and pearls twinkle in store windows, while high quality jade — a gem prized by the Chinese for its beauty and the luck it brings — is sold in popular street markets, like the Ladies Market on Kowloon and Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island, both of which teem with avid shoppers and amazing deals.
Let’s Make A Deal
You should always bargain when shopping in the markets of Hong Kong — it’s an insult not to — to get the best deal. Bargaining is not necessary to get the best deal on the trip itself, for all you need is a trusted travel agent. Shopping is a fun reason to come to Hong Kong, but your travel agent can plan much, much more — like excursions to mainland China, Macau or Lantau Island, home of the giant Buddha — often at a bargain price you’d expect to see in a street market.