5 days in Hong Kong, 5 places to shop
Hong Kong is one of those vibrant concrete jungles that can appear daunting at first sight. Its skyscrapers stand tall (and I mean tall – at least 52 completed skyscrapers over the height of 200 m) and there are more than 7,687 high rise buildings. There is no lack of human contact at any corners you turn. It is one of the densest cities in the world and feeling minuscule and weighed down by overcrowdedness is something that you soon accustom to.
While deciding on a getaway in March, Glenn and I were beckoned by the idea of food, shopping and easy navigation and this Asian metropolis became a very strong contender. As a first trip to Hong Kong (and Glenn’s second although memories of his previous one are hazy), I must admit that we both had this presumption that the city and its inhabitants would somehow be daggy and dated (compared to say Tokyo or Seoul). How very wrong we were!
We stayed at Hotel ICON, a luxury boutique hotel located in Tsim Tsai Tsui, Kowloon. Thanks to the all glass exterior used by the hotel, we awoke every morning to Hong Kong’s famous expansive view – mountainous silhouette and harbour scenery. What makes this calming scene iconic is the skyscrapers that creates a defiant but magnificent juxtaposition. Another hotel that boasts a spectacle is W Hong Kong. We dropped in for lunch at the hotel’s Cantonese restaurant with the marketing team and was treated to a visual feast of the wet deck on the 76th floor as well as the whimsical design of the hotel.
We spent our time exploring the urban areas, getting lost in gritty back lanes and too much time shopping and trying on every jacket we laid our hands. We wished we had spent some time exploring the nature side of things as Hong Kong is known for some charming hikes and rural landscapes. So take my advice and set some time for that.
The city is based around the harbour and getting around is easy as ABC. A huge part of the population relies on public transport like the MTR, buses and tramways and having lived in Australia for over a decade, it was a blessing that we could jump on board one of these transport that arrives every 5-10 minutes and get any where without feeling defeated. Unlike other popular Asian destinations like Tokyo, there are signs in English so it is difficult to get lost.
Hong Kong has a seedy vibe that is instantly endearing with its stark contrast. The juxtaposition of luxury advertising billboards against decrepit high rise apartments or those that have been cleverly refurbished with pops of orange and red in Causeway Bay against high end stores such as Vivienne Westwood, Comme Des Garçons, COS on the ground level highlights the innovation that urban planners concoct to cope with the dense urban growth.
Clothes shopping in Hong Kong is without a doubt heavenly (and I am talking fashionista style, not your B-class knockoffs which I won’t judge). It is true that Hong Kong is lined with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and all kinds of luxury stores and malls every two blocks but there are also the edgy and independent shops that you can easily find. Of course for the bargain hunters who have no qualms wearing past seasons wares, warehouses abound and it is very unlikely you would return with an empty suitcase so your credit card better be hungry.
Hong Kong is easily one of my favourite cities (even Perry Farrell of Porno For Pyros and Jane’s Addiction fame has made this city his second home). There is a romantic sense of its urban chaos and towering architecture and there is something infectious about its ancient traditions, heavenly culinary and its gritty facade. Food is cheap depending where u go, English is widely used and there is something cool.
Here are 5 shopping destinations that is a must visit:
1) Joyce – a pioneer in luxury and emerging brands, Joyce launched in 1971 and stocks labels like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Jil Sander, Raf Simons, Yoshio Kubo
2) Harvey Nichols – Asian division of the English department store carrying Alexander Wang, Junya Watanabe, Wooyoungmi in a gallery-like store
3) COMME des GARÇONS (Causeway Bay) – renown for its predominantly white interior stores, this one requires you to walk through a concrete entrance
4) I.T – for the edgy lovers, IT is features upcoming and well respected brands like as Andrea Crews, Matthew Miller, Richard Nicoll, Rick Owens
5) Joyce Warehouse – for those who don’t mind past seasons ware, your credit card will be invigorated with all the brands you can’t afford full-price at Joyce