Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shopping on Hong Kong Island


View Hong Kong Island in a larger map

The main areas to visit here are Queens Road,Hennessy Road Central, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Ap Lei Chau and Stanley markets.

Queens Road, Central

Central

Many shops along Queens Road such as H&M

The Galleria

  • Marco Jewellery (Maria's long standing jeweller)  Shop 220-1 2F, The Galleria, 9 Queens Road, Central. email: marco@marcojewelry.com.hk  Very reliable and beautiful quality at great prices compared to Australia.

IFC - shopping Complex 

A very grand and spacious shopping centre similar to Harbour city.


"The Lanes"- Li Yuen Street - markets with the usual things.


Causeway Bay

Update (October, 2012)

MTR causeway Bay


Forever 21

Exit F
American branded clothing for mainly women and men.  6 levels of cheap, western clothing.  Check out their website. www.forever21.com

  

Update 2012 Jardine's Crescent Exit F Causeway Bay MTR. 

No name clothes, accessories etc.  Great authentic markets as you turn left out of the main entrance of Forever 21.  Lots of cheap clothes, underwear etc. Fixed price, no tourists here but we felt very comfortable. We walked around the whole block of Forever 21 including these markets.

Sogo Department Store

Authentic clothing and accessories including Mac makeup,Roxy, Quiksilver, Desigual, Guess, Lulu Lemon



Fashion Walk  Paterson St/Cleveland St/Kingston St/Gloucester Rd


Wan Chai

A very old, historic area up high.

Wan Chai

Spring Garden Lane (off Queens Road East) 

Clothing exporters at very cheap prices. Also has wet and dry markets for a touristy experience.

Hopewell Building

 Great Dim Sum 

Ap Lei Chau

Horizon Plaza

Horizon Plaza Outlets 

Huge 28 floor outlet building. Contains large stores such as Lane Crawford, Joyce who stock famous brands from last season, over runs etc at discounted prices. Still expensive, but when some items had an original price of $1000, with 70-90% off, they are a steal.  Apparently make sure you start at the top and work down as the lifts are a nightmare.

Stanley Village Markets

 Take a spectacular bus ride around the twisting roads to the coast. Market stalls that are a little more glamorous than the others and a little more expensive but offering different things too.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Shopping in Sham Shui Po


View Sham Shui Po Area in a larger map

This area has different types of shopping dispersed over a large area.  There is the 'material district" and the "computer district", just to name a few.

Material District

Getting there

MTR: Prince Edward. Exit D
Taxi: Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po

What to Buy

A massive area of wholesale material, buttons, zips, belts, lace, ribbons, elastic etc.  Lovely place to browse or buy.  They mainly sell to wholesalers.  A great area for photos.

 








Computer District (Golden Computer Centre)

Getting There: 

MTR: Sham Shui Po. Exit D2

The Golden Computer Centre sells everything electronic from games to screens.
 
Golden Computer Arcade








Friday, January 7, 2011

Shopping in Guangzhou

Mmmm! Pollution

This section only provides info to shopping at the wholesale markets coming in from Kowloon by train.  This information is only in its infancy and I am sure there is a lot to be added but this is just what I have experienced.

Acroos the bridge to 'Real' China
Wholesale shopping in Guangzhou is not for the faint hearted! However, the selection and prices are incredible. I decided to hire a shopping guide which turned out to be wonderful.  I found her on Trip Advisor through the forums. The quality is so much better than Low Wu (Shen Zhen) and the prices are much much cheaper.  However, saying that, you may like to take into account the price for the hotel and train.   You need to plan and know exactly where you are going and staying.  English is not as widely spoken.  Guangzhou is a massive city and so it takes a long time to get anywhere in a taxi, especially from 5:00pm onwards.  

Visa- You cannot buy this visa at the border like Lo Wu (Shen Zhen).  This must be bought in Australia before hand or in Hong Kong.  It is not the same visa as a border Shen Zhen visa, it is a general China visa.  However, you can use this for Shen Zhen.  We got a dual entry visa for Guangzhou and Shen Zhen.

Money- Change this at the train station

Getting there

Leaving Hong Kong:
Hung Hom station, leaving for Guangzhou

Train (not MTR) Leaving from the Hung Hom station. It cost 190 yuan ($28) each way. We took First class and it seems that the price was the same?  Some trains do not have First class. It takes 2 hours to get there. The train is fast and comfortable and you get allocated seats. There are even train hostesses who give you free water and there is food for sale. There are toilets on the train but not great after 2 hours.  Some are squat and some are not. If possible, ask your Hong Kong hotel for a Guangzhou timetable so that you can plan to arrive at least 45 minutes before.  The trains do book out, so if you get there early enough then you will get a seat, especially if it isn't in peak hour.  When you arrive at the Hung Hom station, go through the main entrance and turn right.  The train tickets are on your left when you turn, run by the China travel service.  They all speak English.  Get a return ticket if possible so that you don't have to worry about buying a ticket in China itself.  Make sure you confirm the train station you are returning from as there are 2 -Guangzhou main railway station and Guangzhou East railway station.  You will come home from Guangzhou East railway station.  Guangzhou Main railway station will take you to Shen Zhen (Lo Wu) You will then go and wait until boarding (which is 20 minutes before)  You will need to go through security and scanning and then into the departures hall.  Then wait again!  While you are waiting check out your carriage number and seat numbers as the train is huge. 

Arriving:

When you arrive in Guangzhou you will fill in an arrival card and go through customs.  They will even check your temperature!  Follow the crowds out and down the escalators to the taxi terminals at the front.  DO NOT get conned into a travel desk offering you great deals for a taxi.  They offered us 180 yuan to go to our hotel.  We ended up paying 50 yuan for a lovely clean taxi.  There are so many taxi's lined up.  You line up with the crowds with army official holding machine guns and hop into the next taxi when it is your turn.  DON'T hesitate or else you'll miss out!  Make sure you have your hotel written in Chinese and the address and phone number. You can copy it off any Chinese hotel website.  Hand it to the driver.  They always use a meter with the foreigners which is great. If you are going to the wholesalers straight away then have these addresses ready as well.  

Hotel: Guangdong Victory hotel-East Building Business room 430 yuan ($63) per room per night. (make sure the driver knows it is East, otherwise you will end up at the West building, and lost)
Twin Room at Guangdong Victory Hotel
Guangdong Victory Hotel East Building)
Sha Mian Island
We stayed in an area called Sha Mian Island which is a tiny area initially developed by the English during their trading years.  We also stayed here 20 years ago. It is a beautiful oasis of gardens, bridges, statues and old buildings.  However, since the last time we were here as backpackers, it has turned into a hub for American's adopting Chinese babies.  They are everywhere.  Actually, we were the only complete western family on the island.  We didn't realise that our hotel and the The White Swan, also on the island, are the only 2 hotels that these families must stay in.  We found it ruined the 'Chinese' experience as the restaurants and shops were all geared up for babies and American families.  Although I loved our hotel and the areas was beautiful, I am not sure I would stay here again?
Sha Mian Island Bridge

Shopping Hints

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to hire a shopping guide, which turned out to be a god send!  Her name is Sarah and she charged us 300yuan ($50) for the day 9:30 am-6:00 pm.  We paid for lunch, which was not much, of course.  Sarah had perfect English and took us to exactly the places I asked.  She did not take us to any shops that she would get commission from.  Sarah walked like she was 7 foot tall and had us running all day!!  Her email is liuyx333@gmail.com and just mention my name.  This is her job; to take shoppers to the shops or send wholesale items overseas.  I told her that we wanted to use the MTR as it is quicker to get around, which she agreed.  We did take a taxi once and 5 of us fitted in with a squeeze.

What to take

  • Water, enough the the whole day!
  •  Toilet paper or tissue (yuk!) actually, don't worry, you'll be too scared to go!
  • A large light canvas bag to put your items in. Something you can either roll up to start with or carry over your shoulder. I wouldn't take a roller bag as the streets are really, really crowded and very unstable.
  • Eat a huge breakfast
  • Enough Yuan for the whole day.  Only one place took credit card and that was the wholesale handbags.
Wholesale areas  (click here for more information)

Please note that Guangzhou has many shopping streets and markets like any large city.  I only went to the 2 wholesale areas.  When I say wholesale, they will sell to anyone.  If you buy one piece, it is at higher price. Very little bargaining was going on here.  Sarah kept asking me to bargain but I knew we couldn't.  She was used to buying in bulk.  I maybe got 10% off at some places. However, again, I knew my prices so I knew they were reasonable.


Zhanxi Road 

MTR to Guangzhou Main Railway station)


Watches

We only went to the Jiu Long Watch City- 65 Zhanxi Road

Apparently there are many buildings around with watch sellers, however we only went to one and this happens to be the same place we went to 2 years ago.


Front of building-Jiu Long Watch City

Watch shops


There are so many side by side on the ground floor.  All the watches are shoved in under glass and then they have better ones stored away.  Best bet is to walk around and if you like the look of the person, talk to them.  Remember that these people sell them by the 100's overseas so bargaining is hard for just one.  We went to two shops side by side towards the front at the left side as they were friendly and nice.  The watches we bought were beautiful and we are very happy with them (I'll update you again in 1 year!! ha! ha!)  They went down about 100 yuan total as we bought more than one watch.

Shop c3001-b
Shop c3001-a (laila and Serjio)
Shop c3001-a  Serjio and Laila (yep! that's their names!) We only asked for AAA quality. Bought 4 designer inspired, beautiful, Swiss movement, crystal faced, stainless steel watches, water resistant only for 200-250 yuan ($30-$40) 

Shop c3001-b Lin Hui Di (beside other shop)  Bought 2 designer inspired women's watches for 200-250yuan ($30-$40)

Clothing shops

Unfortunately as Sarah walked so fast I cannot give you directions to the clothing but they are all in this area.  Make sure you get your bearings from the train station (and have the train station written in Chinese) and start walking.  There are so many shops and shopping centres around here.  We went into many around here, including inside the shopping centres and up the escalators.  Unfortunately, the Asian Games were on, so many of the shops were not selling the items we were looking for due to Beijing officials visiting but this is the area for designer inspired goods.

I did manage to find Jeans similar to True Religion for 90 yuan ($13)  Excellent quality and fitted well.  Also bought beautiful quality designer inspired tartan trench coats for 200 yuan ($30)

Baiyun Leather City 


Getting there: short taxi ride
Jie Fang North Road, Guangzhou


Handbags, wallets and accessories

A very interesting shopping complex.  Quite elegant, tiny, glass front shops.  Only a few floors, but lots of shops.  There is a large central escalator to keep as your bearings.  There is also a restaurant which sells Chinese food.  Each shop has their handbags and accessories displayed.

These items are only from the current collections.  I could not find any older styles and it became a bit of an issue as I only had one picture that was from an old collection and so I had to start again.  Make sure you know what you are looking for as each handbag is display with no labels showing.  You need to know what your bag looks like without labels. If I had known this, I would have had my purchases done in 2 hours!

Most shop assistants speak market English and know their brands.  Remember again that they are wholesalers and won't bargain, but their prices are brilliant and the quality is AAA only.


Shops and prices


Shop 1A083 Fortunately for Leather Line (love the names!)

AAA quality zip up patent leather wallets in current colours only - coffee, purple and black 130 yuan ($19)

AAA quality heart shaped coin purses with locks and labels, patent leather. 120 yuan ($18)

Shop 1A+1 Lihong Leather (in corridor against wall)

Nice quality pebble leather similar to Hermes passport case 70 yuan ($10)

Shop 2A203 Li Li Leather Co.

Absolutely stunning patent leather with suede leather lining similar to Jimmy Choo bag.  Amazing quality!!! 450 yuan ($68) What a bargain!!

I also bought a PU patent leather similar to Dior bag (I know it was PU and as the lady told me!) for 200 yuan ($30).  Also beautiful quality for this price.


Clothing

There is also a lot of clothing shops in this area, a lot imported from Japan and Korea.  They are stunning and if I had more time a would have looked further. 


Leaving Guangzhou


Guangzhou Eat Railway Station
If you are going back to Hong Kong, you will leave from the Guangzhou East Railway Station.  If you are going through to Shen Zhen then you will leave from the Guangzhou Main Railway station.  Allow plenty of time in case there is a traffic jam. We left our hotel at 9:00am to depart on the 10:39 train. It is the same process as leaving Hong Kong (all signs are in English)  You will go through customs here for Hong Kong as well. 

Back to beautiful Hong Kong!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Eating and Drinking

Although I am sure this list could go on and on, here are a few recommended places that we have been to and have enjoyed.


Tsim Sha Tsui Area


View Kowloon in a larger map




Intercontinental hotel- On the harbour opposite the Peninsular...for drinks and the view! Especially if you are there for the 8pm light show. Order the Cosmopolitan!

Peninsular Hotel- Salisbury Road- High Tea $40 per person



Peking Garden - For authentic Peking Duck with pancakes. As you walk towards harbour City from the Star Terminal, Lane Crawford is on your right, turn right before the entrance along the path way, past Starbucks and enter the building that says Star House.  It is on the Third Floor. This place is not cheap but worth it for the experience. It is often booked but they will tell you to come back in 20 minutes or so.  One Peking Duck with pancakes (just enough for a family of 4) 320HK ($41). We also ordered a few side dishes and drinks for a total of 616HK ($80)


Red Ant Restaurant

Ashley Road Restaurants- (off Peking Road) There is a selection of cheap restaurants along this road.  We went to Red Ant twice which is great value and something for everyone, including beer for the boys. 215HK ($27 for a famiily of 4 with drinks) The kids liked the tree in the restaurant.

Aqua Bar -night club- 1 Peking Road....without kids.  Most amazing views.  Wonderful for a drink! Try the Porn star cocktail. cocktail with a champagne chaser  (see...I said no kids)

City Super Food Court (In Harbour City, just ask for the food court)
It looks like your typical shopping centre food court. There is Vietnamese, Japanese hand pulled noodles, Chinese.  170HK ($20 for family of 4 with drinks) Lots of little plastic dishes displaying the food.  Go up to the counter you like, tell the lady the number dish you would like and what drink.  She will then give you a green form to pay at a communal counter.  Then take your slip back to her and wait for your meal.  OR... even better, try to find a table while you are waiting.

plastic food displays

Added restaurants from a local.......Thank you Johnny!

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰 (Chinese food: Taiwan, Shanghai)
Address: Shop 130, 3/F, Silvercord, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes: Special Xiao Long Bao (hand pulled noodles)

Mochi Cafe萬豚屋 (Japanese food, Udon)
Address: G/F, 19-23 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes: Udon

Good Satay 好時沙(Singaporean & Malaysian)
Address: Shop144-148, Houston Centre, 63 Mody Square, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes: Satay, Hainanese-style chicken rice, Laksa
Comments: Hainanese-style chicken rice is so good and you must try!  And the food is not expensive here

Triple O's by White Spot(American: Hamburger)
Address: Shop 3001, 3/F, cooked Deli by city'super, 
Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Comments: the best hamburger I ever had.

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood 吉日本吉列專門店餐廳(Japanese food)
Address: G/F, 100 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes:Fried Pork Chop Set
Comments: this restaurant is famous for the Japanese Deep-fried food

Spring Deer 鹿鳴春(Chinese food: Beijing)
Address: 1/F, 42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes: Beijing Peking Duck

 Outback Steak House(Australian food)
Address: Shop UG23-28, Tsim Sha Tsui Centre, 66 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
and
Shop 1, 2/F, Oterprise Square, 26 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes: Honey Wheat Bushman Bread, Scrumptious Onion
Comments: quite good Australian food and not expensive, the portion of the dishes is larger.

Japanese Restaurant Doraya 定食Doraya(Japanese food: Sushi, Sashimi)
Address: Basement, 10 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes: Raw Tuna Rice set
Comments: very large Raw Tuna serve with rice, very good!

Khyber Pass咖哩王(Indian food: Curry)
Address:Shop E2, 7/F, Block E, Chungking Mansions, Tsim Sha Tsui
Comments: very good and traditional Indian curry!

Wei Yi Noodles唯一麵家(Chinese food)
Address: G/F, 10 Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes: Dumpling
Comments: the food is good but cheap, good for lunch.  But this shop is small so I am not sure if the waiter know English.

 Crystal Jade 翡翠拉麵小籠包(Chinese food: Shanghai)
Address: Shop 3328, 3/F, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Signature Dishes:Special Xiao Long Bao
Comments: not expensive(cheaper than Din Tai Fung) but also delicious.

Yau Ma Tei/Mongkok Area


Temple Street- You must eat at the small restaurants huddled around the Temple Street markets.  They are mostly seafood.  Tourists and locals go here.  The food is fresh and superb.  The tables are on the streets and very simple, but clean.

Temple Street restaurants
blt and 711 supermarkets on Nathan Road are very cheap to stock up on fruit, snacks and alcoholic drinks for the mini bar.

Tim Ho Wan
Tim Ho Wan- 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok. Dim Sum-Walking distance from the ladies Markets. -One of the only 1 Michelin star restaurants in the world. Right near the Ladies Markets and worth the wait.  Huddle in with everyone else and enjoy the most amazing selection of Dim Sum. Take a number and spend your time at the Ladies Markets waiting for your table.

Coffee

We didn't like the taste of Pacific Coffee Company or Toast box.  In fact the only coffee we could drink was either Starbucks or believe it or not....McDonalds latte! Tasted almost like Australia.  Starbucks in Hong Kong tasted better than Australia.

Added restaurants from a local.....Thanks Johnny


 澳門翠苑茶餐廳(Portuguese: Curry)
Address: Shop 8, 2/F, Cooked Food Market, Mong Kok Complex, 557 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok
Signature Dishes: Curry in a bread bowl, beef brisket and macaroni in tomato soup

Seam Eett Taiwan Noodle西門町台灣麵食(Taiwan food)
Address: G/F, 2N Hung Kwong Building, 2 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok
Signature Dishes: 魯肉飯(pork with rice), 擔擔麵(noodle), 雞絲拉皮(chicken with a special noodle), 牛筋牛肉(beef tendon and beef ), 涼拌茄子(cool eggplant with sauce)

 Applegreen(American food)
Address: Shop 713-715, Grand Century Place, 193 Prince Edward Road West, Mong Kok
Signature Dishes: Asian Nachos, Applegreen Crisp, Guacamole

Gong Cha 貢茶(Taiwan: drinks)
Address: Shop 43E, Dundas Street, Mong Kong
Signature Dishes: Bubble Mile Tea
Comments: popular drinks in Hong Kong now and it taste good.

 Mi-Ne Sushi峰壽司(Japanese: Sushi bar)
Address: G/F, Chong Hing Square, 601 Nathan Road, Mong Kok

Tong Pak Fu 糖百府(Hong Kong: dessert, sweet soup)
Address: G/F, 99 Hak Po Street, Mong Kok
Comments: Good place to try the traditional and new Hong Kong style's dessert

 California Pizza Kitchen(American: Pizza)
Address: Shop A, 1/F, Ka Lok Shopping Arcade, 56 Dundas Street, Mong Kok
Comments: the pizza is good and not expensive

  Orchard Garden Cafe & Restaurant 風月堂(Japanese Cafe)
Address:1/F-2/F, 24-26 Argyle Street, Mong Kok
Comments: fusion of western and japanese food, taste good

 Satay King(International)
Address: 1/F, 24 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok
Signature Dishes: Fried Pork Chop in White Curry Sauce with Rice

 譚仔雲南米線(Yunnan: Rice Noodle)
Address: G/F & 1-2F. 101 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok
Comments: Rice Noodle is a famous food in China and if you like spicy very much, you can try the most spicy rice noodle.

 Pier 88 稻香超級漁港(Guangdong, Dim Sum Restaruant, Hot Pot)
Address: Shop B, 3/F, Grand Tower, 639 Nathan Road, Mong Kok
Comments: You can have dim sum for breakfast or lunch, and you can have hot pot, one of the popular food in Hong Kong, at the night time

Hong Kong Island 


View Hong Kong Island in a larger map

China Tea House- Pedder Street off Queens Road in the Pedder Building.
Pedder Building
 Landmark Hotel- 'Mo Bar'-15 Queen's Road central. A groovy place for drinks

Mo Bar-Landmark Hotel-Hong Kong Island
Hopewell Centre-Wan Chai MTR

Huge Dim Sum restaurant in the Hopewell centre. Very good food and very cheap.  Mainly locals and business people go here but anyone is welcome.

Citygate Outlet Shopping and the Big Buddha


Getting There:

MTR: Tung Chung Station (takes 1/2 hour to get there)

Citygate is Hong Kong's outlet shopping mall.  Click on this official link to see the shops and map.  Citygate Outlets


View Citygate and Big Buddha in a larger map

Prices


Nike Shop- Not a huge range of shoes or sizes.  make sure you know your prices. Women's 3/4 running lycras 199HK ($25) $80 in Australia. Zip up sleeveless vest 189HK ($23)  Nike basketball hi Tops 400HK ($50) Over $150 in Australia

Samsonite Shop-Amercian Tourist series, samsonite brand 538HK ($67) Pay over $159 in Australia at bag outlet shop.

Mango(MNG) clothing outlet. Owned by Zara. Tops 70HK ($10)

Pedder Shoes- Beautiful range of high quality brands including their own.  Dr Martens 400HK ($50)

Also high end clothing and handbags at very reasonable prices. 



The haze is air pollution
 Check out their website for all the details. Big Buddha-Ngong Ping

The Crystal Cabin
You go up the escalators to the ticket office. 3 Adults were 507HK ($63) total cost. For some reason our 12 year old was free that day so it ended up being cheaper than the normal car! Not sure why the deal was on, but lucky.  We went on a Monday at 10:30.  Next time I will make sure I get there by 10:00 to queue as it took us over 45 minutes to get on the crystal cable car.  We were told it is much quicker to pay the extra however there are 5 normal cars to one crystal, so I am not sure how much quicker the queue is.  The scenery is beautiful.  make sure you look down after the ocean and see the old family graves far down below.  Also make sure you pay to go to the Po Lin Vegetarian Restaurant.  The food is excellent. 240HK $30 for family of 4.