Hong Kong Is Happening: The Ideal Itinerary
Shopping isn’t just a form of recreation in Hong Kong, it’s a national sport. With some of the world’s best shopping malls on both Kowloon and Central islands, along with outdoor markets and sidewalk vendors, the culture of consumption is as palpable as the city’s vibrant pulse. In the center of town, luxurious department stores like Lane Crawford and Harvey Nichols along with freestanding luxury boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Dior, Celine, and Bottega Veneta, to name a few, are as ubiquitous as the local 7-11 and Wellcome, and just as well-stocked.
One of a kind, smaller stores also abound in Hong Kong and are equally interesting to visit. Men will find that a stop at the stylishly curated The Armoury, with branches inside the Pedder building and Landmark, is a good enough reason to go shopping with their wives on a Saturday afternoon.
On offer is a wide selection of tailored suits, shirts, sport coats, and trousers from smaller labels from around the world, as well as a sophisticated range of sportswear and accessories. At the lifestyle emporium of Sir David Tang and his daughter Victoria, Tang Tang Tang Tang offers fun furnishings for every room in the home and a range of clothing and accessories. Located in the now hip and fashionable.
The selection at The Armoury
In Wan Chai, the products are practical and chic with a distinct Chinese aesthetic. For more homeware, Lala Curio, with branches in Wan Chai and Central, is a haven for decorative accessories including cloisonne tiles, wallpaper, furniture, and home decor.
For essential food and drink provisions, Sunday’s Grocery in Kennedy Town is the bodega brainchild of the guys behind the popular Yardbird and Ronin restaurants. Serving takeaway sandwiches, other pantry staples include shelves of Japanese whisky, small-batch spirits, and beer.
Outside Sunday's Grocery
When you just can’t shop any longer, it may be time to spend an afternoon taking in some art and culture. As international art fairs like Art Basel continue to make Hong Kong their hub in Asia, there has also been a more active international art market year-round. Global auction houses like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Bonhams have set up shop and are largely responsible for many of the region’s most exciting auctions. Check their online calendars for the schedule of events. Throughout the year international galleries Gagosian, White Cube, and Ben Brown as well as local players such as Pearl Lam, Galerie Du Monde, and Sin Sin Fine Art stage shows for both local and foreign artists.
An exhibit at Pearl Lam
Inside Galerie du Monde
Another creative afternoon or evening may be spent at PMQ, a house for creative lifestyle experiences. Housed in a historic building that once served as a police dormitory, the building has been revitalized and is currently a collective of design studio shops, pop-up stores, and casual eateries.
SHOPPING PRO RECOMMENDATIONS
A fashion executive for Celine in Hong Kong, Manika Yujuico Kwan gives us tips on where to go for stylish finds.
- My friend Mal introduced me to a consignment shop called La Place. they sometimes have some good finds like old and new Chanel jackets, Valentino shoes, and Celine bags.
- I love buying flowers and often go to Prince Edward Flower Market. Prices are much better than anywhere in Central. I bought some trees for our flat last year and the vendors usually deliver, too.
- Gough Street and Tai Ping Shan are cute little areas that have quaint shops, perfect to walk around on a nice afternoon. Check out Woaw for quirky things and grab a coffee at Elephant Grounds while you’re at it.
- I love a good outlet! Head over to Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau for kids, home, and fashion finds. I like the Joyce and Marni outlets, as well as the many floors of home furnishings. There’s also a Prada outlet nearby.
TOP TIPS FROM A LOCAL
Cathy Feliciano chon, founder and managing director of Catch on Marketing communications, has resided in hong kong for the past 20 years. She shares the makings of a perfect weekend in one of hong kong’s less explored neighborhoods.
On weekends, we avoid the crowds of Central and Causeway Bay and favor quaint neighborhoods devoid of ubiquitous luxury brands. A favorite lately is Sai Ying Pun. This is a gem of a neighborhood just west of Central and down the street from Hong Kong University. The district used to be an obscure little enclave favored by old-time locals, but in the last few years it’s been the hub for quaint stores and cafes. It’s Hong Kong’s equivalent to Paris’ Marais district, where old and new, grit and gloss mix.
We’ll often start with brunch at Ethos, a creative place that combines a café, store, and art space. Then we’ll walk down the hill to one of my favorite little shops Get. Give on Po Tuck Street, where the owner Kate Jones picks every single item. Imagine utilitarian wares like household cleaning brushes made of supple wood wrapped in furoshiki bags. While on Po Tuck, I usually duck over to Teakha Café for a masala chai and tea cakes. If the kids are with me, they’ll want to pop in to artisan room for éclairs in flavors like sweet potato, salted caramel, banoffee, and matcha.
For a slice of old Hong Kong, we’ll saunter down to Sai Ying Pun’s wet market and the streets around it—Koh Shing Street, where Chinese medicine is made and sold, and Dried Seafood Street, where you’ll find all kinds of seafood ingredients traditionally dried on the roofs above. Just follow your nose.
There’s also Potato Head in Sai Ying Pun. In addition to a cool bar/lounge and a music room, it has a retail space selling handcrafted artisanal home ware, and a modern Indonesian restaurant.
HONG KONG WITH KIDS
Yvette Rodriguez Schroeder navigates the city with children in mind.
Lantau Island (Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Cheung Sha Beach)
This could be an all-day affair if you plan to see the Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, and Cheung Sha Beach all at once. The fastest way to get to the Big Buddha is by taking the MTR to Tung Chung station (orange line), then taking the gondola up the mountain. If the line is too long (or if it isn’t a clear day), there is also a bus that gets you up there. the food options there aren’t great, so I suggest packing a lunch, snacks, and water. This is best suited for kids a bit older so they will actually appreciate the Buddha and the monastery. Chung Sha beach can be reached directly by bus, and if you can manage to hold off lunch, it’s worth it for lunch and cocktails.
Take a cable car up to the peak then hike on Lugard road which is gentle and paved, excellent for little legs. If you manage to pack a scooter, kids love doing that too. On a clear day, the view is spectacular.
Forget the fancy kiddie stores, the kids’ allowance will be gone in minutes. My kids love browsing around the various markets, and I don’t mind doing some shopping myself. The markets on Fa Yuen Street (Prince Edward station), Sham Shui Po (Sham Shui Po station), the Jade Market and Temple Street (Jordan station) are high on our rotation. they are all on the red line (Tuen Wan line) so getting there by MTR is best.
Ocean park isn’t your normal marketing fueled amusement park with giant characters walking around. the main attraction is really the animals. My personal favorites are the cable car ride and visiting the jellyfish, the grand aquarium, and the pandas. There are roller coasters for older kids, but even the younger ones can participate in most activities here.
Dragon’s Back + Shek-o Beach
This is manageable for little kids yet challenging enough for the older ones. The starting point is on Cape Collinson Road and the hike can take up to two and a half hours.
The views are awesome and you will feel compelled to take lots of pictures. Best to do this when the sun is not too hot. Post hike, take the bus to Shek-o beach where there are good restaurants near the beach. You can sip some wine while the kids roll in the sand, or enjoy a barbecue in the area.