Thursday, 21 May 2009

Breakaway & Buys - IF YOU HAD 3 DAYS .. IN HONG KONG

Welcome to “IF YOU HAD 3 DAYS…” – the first of our mini travel and shopping guides that tells you in a nutshell of where to shop and what to buy in some of the countries that we have checked out. 

Feel free to build on the catalogue of information by adding comments and additional tips of your own to enliven our simply fabulicious and growing community. What’s more, if you have a specific question or suggestion of what else you would like to see on SimplyFab, Facebook or email us ( and we will assist!

The Simply Fab Team 

I say with absolute confidence that Hong Kong most certainly grows on you… we moved here two years ago because of my husband’s job. 

In the beginning, I had nothing but complaints… 

I hated the throngs of people in my face, the “main landers” ie. cash-rich tourist from mainland China pushing and shoving on board the MTR trains, lifts and restaurants with no sense of decorum or personal space, I hated the small accommodation and mostly, I hated the fact that I had no wheels.

But this is two years later and I have to say that I have grown accustomed to the charms of the “fragrant” harbour. I would be sad to have to leave Hong Kong, as it is now, very much my home, a great hunting ground for bargain and brand shopping and the retail, restaurants and breakaway options in Hong Kong are just unbeatable compared to any other Asian city that I have visited or lived in ,which is why I feel compelled to share the simply fabulicious finds that you will be unlikely to find without local knowledge.

If you have 3 days in Hong Kong, here are a few options that you should try to cover. The difficult part is trying to cover everything so the trick is to just pick three things in each category and save the rest for your next breakaway.


Hong Kong reminds me of Australia and London because it has a wonderful and vibrant market culture. Unlike Oz and the UK where the markets are primarily weekend affairs, Hong Kong markets are open from 9am to 10pm every day. These are my favourite ones as they each hold something special:

Fa Yuen Kai (Flower Market)
This is the BEST local market in Hong Kong as it has the largest selection of ladies wear, children’s clothing and makeshift stores along two long and narrow lanes with a crossroad junction in between. If you have time for only one market, this is it. Stores to look out for are: AMAZING (all black and white tops, skirts and pants from SGD$8), UNO and WESTWOOD (outlet stores with brand names), stores selling Abercrombie & Fitch, Commes des Garcon, Roxy, Paul Smith and Quick Silver bags and tees for men, ladies and kids. Location: Get out at MTR Prince Edward Station Exit B and you will be in front of Allied Plaza. Market is across the road – stop at any 7-11 and ask for directions for precisely location.

Lo Yan Kai (Ladies Market)
Picture a giant football field divided into 4 to 5 straight lanes. That’s Lo Yan Kai. The shops all sell more or less the same stuff – tee shirts (mostly touristy), fake branded handbags and pouches – think Harrods, Le Sports Sac, Polo. Lots of beach towels (Paul Frank, Disney Princesses, Cars, Thomas the Train, Dora), and knick-knacks eg. bootleg handphone accessories, oriental purses, lipstick cases, pseudo leather wallets.
Location: Get out at MTR Mongkok Station, Exit E2

Wan Chai Market
A very local wet and dry market that is definitely worth a look. You will find a few ladies clothing stores and some interesting toy stores at the entrance to this market. Here you can get Barbie toys, Polly Pocket, a huge variety of Tamagotchis, Ben 10, Transformers (authentic stuff) at a lower price than the main malls. Great place to buy party favours if you have a kid’s party coming up. Walk deeper into this market and you will see a wet market where I highly recommend Kang Kee noodles. (For a description of the kind of noodles you can pack back and take home, see my blog:

Whilst you are at this market, wander out to the best Egg Tart store (name of store?) I know in Hong Kong (very near market, mentioned in my blog) and also a whole row of stores parallel to the entrance of the market that bear the name APEX and MAPLE. They sell the cheapest, trendiest tops and bottoms for men and women in Hong Kong that you can buy or ever hope to come across. 
Location: Get out at MTR Wan Chai Station, Exit A3. You will see Angel Cosmetics across the street and that marks the entrance to the market. APEX, MAPLE and the Portuguese Egg Tart store are all on the same row as Angel Cosmetics – just keep walking down that row to explore.

Stanley Market
This is at the far end of Hong Kong island in Stanley past the posh Repulse Bay area. It is well known as an expat market so the things you find and the prices are slightly higher as they are catered to the expats who live in that vincinity. Expect stores that sell art, embroidery and linens, rugby jerseys, Roxy and Quick Silver, Gap and Anne Klein over runs. Great restaurants along the waterway for Fish & Chips, Pizza and your pint of ale or lager.
Location: Best way to go is by cab (about SGD$20) from Central (20 to 30 mins). A bus ride takes you 45 mins or so. Or you can take the MTR along the Blue line to Chai Wan (last stop), get off and take mini bus (No. 16X) from the bus terminus at Chai Wan or get a cab (SGD$10) from there direct to the market.

It all depends what you want out of your shopping in Hong Kong. I have divided it into a selection of high end, mid and low end so you can decide how much gets into that luggage you’ve brought along.

High End
Hong Kong is much more forward looking and adventurous in its retail concepts as there are four seasons to support the selection that the stores carry. So you can expect to find more interesting buys here than the designer stores in Singapore. Looking for Kate Spade, Diane Von Furstenberg, Jill Stuart, Jimmy Choo, Mui Mui, Anteprima, Burberry, Prada, LV, Chanel, Gucci, Bottega? Head to IFC Mall and the adjoining Landmark Building if you are on the Hong Kong side; if you’re in Kowloon, go to the newest and poshest mall there, The Elements Mall. For a combination of mid and high end, go to Harbour City at the Ocean Terminal or Gateway buildings on Kowloon or Pacific Place at Admiralty.
IFC Mall (1 and 2) is on the MTR at Central Station (Red Line) and the Hong Kong Station (Orange Line)
The Elements Mall is on the MTR at Kowloon Station (Orange Line)
Pacific Place is on the MTR at Admiralty (Blue Line)
Harbour City – is on the MTR at Tsim Sha Tsui (Red line)

Mid Price
I love this cache of shopping as there is so much to see and buy and Hong Kong has some mid-price brands that are not yet in Singapore. Even if they are, the selection is somewhat different.


Tangs carries this brand but the Rabeanco here in Hong Kong is amazing. It carries good value, genuine leather wallets, passport cases, pouches, slings and handbags that are trendy and made with the best (journalism 101 – please steer clear of using superlatives unless can be substantiated, unless you say its your own opinion) leather possible. From SGD$100 to SGD$600 – unbranded but very cool (thought you said the brand is Rabeanco?), great if you are not a brand whore and need a label to flash. See:

This brand is suppose to be heading to Singapore but I hear it’s taking forever. H&M has great adults and kids clothes and is way more trendy than GAP. Be warned that only the Harbour City and Central outlet carry H&M Kids. It is a MUST GO!

Now in Singapore but worth a mention as Uniqlo has fun stuff in Hong Kong that I don’t see in the store back in Singapore.

Club Monaco
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Club Monaco. It is my “IT” brand for 2009. If you like stylish casual and work clothes, this is it in my books. It is what I call the “NEW” Zara, classy rather than casual but beautifully made.
See store listings in HK:

Tung Chung Factory Outlet
Want a one-stop destination where you can dig into the bargain bin of last year’s unsold merchandise? You will get it at Tung Chung’s City Gate outlets. This is Hong Kong’s one-stop factory outlet with two floors of stores with brands like I.T, Giordano, DKNY, AX, Espirit, On Peddar, Burberry, etc. The list is unending but be warned, these shops stock all last season’s buys and older, basically things that did not jump off the shelf on season.
See brand shopping list:

Other Premium Factory Outlets
Brand whoring on a budget? Print out this list and keep it religiously with you – it will be your best guide to the factory outlets in Hong Kong. Think Prada, Helmut Lang, Mui Mui, Joyce, IT, etc – enjoy.
Print and embrace:

If you are looking for household pieces, you will be amazed by Hong Kong’s G. O. D (Goods of Desire) and its side brand, Delay No More (a play on words for a very rude phrase in Cantonese – go figure!). G.O.D makes furniture for tiny living spaces, totally suitable for a one-room HDB flat or studio. It reminds me of the Conran Shop in London, not as pricey and posh but certainly good quality stuff. See:

Franc Franc
This is a very fun and trendy Japanese furniture store with great gift ideas and things for tiny homes, special people and festive occasions. Think Muji, but way better.
See Hong Kong shops:

My final category of ‘must visits’ are the stores I have lumped into what I call the “El Cheapo” category. If you have not had enough from the markets, then there are a few places that I recommend you go check out:

Granville Road and Rise Commercial Building
Shops to browse at are MAPLE, the Bossini outlet store, the Adidas outlet store, the Timberland outlet store, Amazing, IN and OUT and Bess (all a mish-mash of ladies and men’s casual wear). Rise Commercial Building is four floors of one-of-a-kind clothes and local brands and is in the centre of Granville Road at Granville Circuit.
Location: Head to TST on the Red MTR Line – get out at the entrance that says Granville Road.

Mongkok Argyle Centre (aka Mongkok “Chong Sum”)
Wonderful casual wear, trendy ladies tops, tees, denim skirts, shorts and jeans, cheapo watches, sunglasses, scarves and accessories galore.
Location: Head to Mongkok MTR and get out at Exit D.

- Elaine


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