Hong Kong

They say the only way to get to know a place is to do what the locals do. When in Rome, scoot around on a Vespa and drink espresso. When in Hong Kong, shop. For most people in this city, shopping is a leisure activity, whether that means picking out a four-figure party dress, rifling through bins at an outlet, upgrading a cell phone, or choosing the freshest fish for dinner.

Shopping is so sacred that sales periods are calendar events, and most stores close on just three days a year—Christmas Day and the first two days of Chinese New Year. Imagine that: 362 days of unbridled purchasing. Opening hours are equally conducive to whiling your life away browsing the racks: all shops are open until 7 or 8 pm; many don't close their doors until midnight.

It's true that the days when everything in Hong Kong was mind-bogglingly cheap are over. It is still a tax-free port, so you can get some good deals. But it isn't just about the savings. Sharp contrasts and the sheer variety of experiences available make shopping here very different from back home.

You might find a bargain or two elbowing your way through a chaotic open-air market filled with haggling vendors selling designer knockoffs, the air reeking of the chou tofu ("stinky" tofu) bubbling at a nearby food stand. But then you could find a designer number going for half the usual price in a hushed marble-floor mall, the air scented by the designer fragrances of your fellow shoppers. What's more, in Hong Kong the two extremes are often within spitting distance of each other.

Needless to say, thanks to travelers like you running out of space in their suitcases, Hong Kong does a roaring trade in luggage. No need to feel guilty, though—shopping here is practically cultural research. All you're doing is seeing what local life is really like.

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  • 1. Fortress

    Causeway Bay | Cameras/Electronics

    Part of billionaire Li Ka-shing's empire, this extensive chain of shops sells electronics with warranties—a safety precaution that draws the...Read More

  • 2. Broadway

    Causeway Bay | Cameras/Electronics

    Like its more famous competitor, Fortress, Broadway is a large electronic-goods chain. It caters primarily to the local market, so some staff...Read More

  • 3. Delon Photo & Hi-Fi Centre

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Cameras/Electronics

    Longtime residents ask for popular salesman Elmen Sit when they come to Delon. He'll take you through the range carried here. Sit also demystifies...Read More

  • 4. DG Lifestyle Store

    Causeway Bay | Cameras/Electronics

    As Apple Authorized Resellers, DG Lifestyle stores carry the latest iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch products. In addition to Apple products...Read More

  • 5. Flow

    Central | Cameras/Electronics

    Track down this tiny gem for secondhand CDs, DVDs, magazines, and wall-to-wall used books in English. The range is extraordinary, and the...Read More

  • 6. Golden Computer Arcade

    Cameras/Electronics

    It's the most famous—some would say infamous—computer arcade in town. Know what you want before you go to avoid being dazed by the sheer volume...Read More

  • 7. Hong Kong Records

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Cameras/Electronics

    You'll find a good selection of current local and international CDs and DVDs at this age-old company. A lower profile also means prices are...Read More

  • 8. Photo Scientific Appliances

    Central | Cameras/Electronics

    This is where local photographers come for their equipment. Expect good prices on new cameras, lenses, and accessories. While you're here, pump...Read More

  • 9. Star Annex AV Zone

    Tsim Sha Tsui | Cameras/Electronics

    Right next to the Star Ferry and part of the Harbour City megamall complex, Star Annex has one whole floor, dubbed the "AV Zone," dedicated...Read More

  • 10. Tang Tang Tang Tang

    Wan Chai | Household Items/Furniture

    A regular in Hong Kong high society, Sir David Tang recently opened lifestyle boutique Tang Tang Tang Tang (meant to be sung like Beethoven...Read More

  • 11. Wanchai Computer Centre

    Wan Chai | Cameras/Electronics

    You can find decent deals on computer goods and accessories in the labyrinth of shops spanning several floors. It's not as easy to negotiate...Read More

  • 12. William's Photo Supply

    Central | Cameras/Electronics

    For those who prefer to shop in air-conditioned comfort, this reliable dealer is discreetly positioned on an upper floor of the elegant Prince...Read More

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