6 Shopping Tips to Remember in Kowloon, Hong Kong
The narrow streets, the rush of midday passers-by and the aroma of freshly cooked rice fill the air as you walk around Hong Kong. It's true, the transport system which includes the tram, the train and the bus are efficient but there's a more romantic feel to walking around, and discovering the real core of Hong Kong living by just taking time to walk around. I bought a Hong Kong train pass but i didn't maximize it to the full. I have all the reasons why. Instead, i was able to navigate along plush roads and intersecting districts in the heart of Kowloon in Hong Kong. I think that alone made a whole lot of difference. Through experience, i was able to learn a few things that i will be sharing with you on how to gracefully walk around and abound while shopping in Hong Kong, minus the swollen feet.
1. Start early to avoid the rush. Be the first customer.
Ask anyone who's been to Hong Kong, chances are they will tell you that the bulk of time spent shopping or roaming is in the afternoon. Mornings are usually left for far-flung out hots pots like the Tian Tan Buddha, Wong Tai Sin Temple and Po Lin Monastery. Why not exchange times? Afternoons have far lesser number of people in temples and more people on the streets. I suggest adjusting your schedule and waking up at 7am and having your breakfast al fresco. Gear up with comfortable clothing. Girls, no peep toe heels please. Guys, you won't have a problem, i guess. Be right there when the shops open around 9am. Please be advised that some shops open not until noon.The first customer who bargains and asks for a cheaper price usually gets it. It's for good luck! Brush up on your bargaining skills and start planning on that piece you've been meaning to buy.
2. Grab quick bites in between to rest and sample the best cuisine.
Around lunch time (after 12NN please), head out to street markets to sample the freshest produce. Whether you fancy dumplings or croissants, it's your call. The tip here is to get as many small bites during the day as possible. It's not only good for those who want to diet, it's also a good tool to sample every good food from world-class restaurants. A good tip is to grab a quick brunch around 10AM. During lunch time, while everyone's eating. You go for the kill on that awesome leather bag. Around 3PM, you go get yourself some steak and fries. Before dinner, you order fresh milk tea and other sweets. Then, you'll have a fancy dinner by the bay around 10pm. An option after that luxurious dinner is to go out for drinks at one of the many stylish clubs in Lang Kwai Fong. You eat when there's not a lot of people, you shop when they're all eating. It's that simple!
3. If you see something you like, buy it.
On many occasions that i have been scooting Tsim Sha Tsui and Lang Kwai Fong, i always find myself salivating on precious items that i want to purchase right away. But the mindset that i can always find it somewhere else always pops in my head. I forgo the item and next thing i know, I'm leaving the airport ended up, not buying anything at all. When you see something you like, and within a few meters you still haven't found a cheaper alternative, buy it! Yes you can bargain but if the lady owner is giving you a hard time, let this be your chance to walk away from the item. But if in the next few minutes, you still can't stop thinking about, it's a sign my friend. You know what to do.
4. Schedule your trips wisely. Shop for souvenirs at night. Big purchases the next day. Shoes in the afternoon.
Shopping is the national sport in Hong Kong. And no matter where and when, there's always something to buy. Plan ahead and schedule your shopping expedition wisely. Don't purchase big items in the morning and end up carrying it until late at night. Shop for souvenirs at night when market sellers are about to close. Bargain! During this time, an item sold whether it's cheaper than that in the tag is still an item sold. As always, learn to purchase shoes in the afternoon when you feet has already swollen. You don't want to commit the same mistake as i did before, buying it first thing in the morning. As advised, some shops open at noon, so never schedule an all out shopping spree in the morning.
5. Do your homework.
Nothing beats someone informed of shopping hot spots. Study the routes to where you want to shop. Concentrate on same district shops and visit them accordingly. Buy guidebooks and grab that free map which you can get at the airport and train stations. Invest time reading and familiarizing yourself at night so that in the morning, you don't have to worry whether you're going in the right direction. You don't want to spend an incredible amount of time trying to get direction from a clueless man.
6. Walk out of the way, and you'll find hidden gems.
Shopping for awesome finds in Hong Kong works in mysterious ways. There are hidden gems tucked away in out of the way places. You'll be surprised how much you can find for more than half the price. The beauty about doing this is the many discoveries and enchantment you will unravel. Remember stores that are found along Nathan road and Pedder Street offer a marked up price compared to those found in little out of the way stores like in Jordan and Argyle. These places aren't easy to find for first timers but the experience of discovering a vintage awesome piece for 80% less is enough to make you say wow!