See the pros in action in one of the world's greatest retail meccas, writes Belinda Jackson.
Hong Kong's big boys of shopping are undoubtedly Lane Crawford (HK's answer to David Jones, found in Pacific Place and Times Square) and the Japanese brand SOGO (Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay), allegedly HK's biggest department store. The super-fun Shanghai Tang was born here, home of fly fashion, lovely leather bags and adorable notebooks: not cheap but fabulous (Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central). Cravings for Marks & Sparks knickers can be sated (Central Tower, 28 Queens Road, Central) and mall withdrawal eased at IFC Mall (Finance Street, Central), chocked with Boots chemists, Zara ad nauseum.
Electronic equipment, particularly camera gear, with latest models and prices way below those in Australia, even tax-free. Avoid the shonky dudes on Nathan Road and get an international guarantee (to avoid returning to HK for repairs). Shops with HK Tourism's Quality Tourism Services (QTS) accreditation are a good start. There are reputable dealers in the Harbour City Ocean Terminal (off Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui) and Wing Shing for semi and pro gear (55 to 57 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok). Omnipresent Fortress has lashings of compact cameras but ho-hum service (3 Queen's Road, Central).
We don't advocate design theft but a quick walk down Ladies Market in Mong Kok and you'll be mobbed by traders thrusting pictures of bags under your nose. You'll also find vast arrays of sunglasses, locally made clothes, gift sets and great kids' cotton pyjamas. Open from noon to almost midnight (MTR Mong Kok, exit E2, walk to Tung Choi Street). Hardened shoppers daytrip to Shenzhen, on mainland China, for its vast fake designer bag and shoes markets.
Snap up jade earrings and trinkets at the Jade Market (MTR Yau Ma Tei, exit C, walk to Kansu Street) or upmarket Chinese-style gifts at Stanley Market (MTR Hong Kong, exit D, then bus 6, 6A, 6X, or 260 from Exchange Square Bus Terminus). Trashy Temple Street Night Market kicks off at 4pm for street snacking and budget men's gear (MTR Jordan, exit A). The steep lanes (Li Yuen Street) between Queen and Des Voeux Roads, Central, are a budget gift-hunter's paradise.
HK's artsy shoppers head to Sun Street, in a leafy Wan Chai enclave for tiny boutique shops, cafes and galleries. Step into gorgeous little Kapok, the newly opened interiors sister to the fashion brand, two doors up. Snap up cute cards and VOID watches by David Ericsson and give the espresso machine a workout (3 Sun Street, Wan Chai).
GOD - Goods of Desire - does budget-friendly homewares amid a strip of antiques (48 Hollywood Road, Central), while Ovo is fun for a hit of Asian home style (16 Queens Road East, Wan Chai). And don't let Homeless's name put you off; drop by for Scandi-inspired goodies (29 Gough Street, Central).
Fash and trash
Brand queens head for Chater Road and Des Voeux Road in Central, Yun Ping Road in Causeway Bay and Canton Road and Peking Road in Tsim Sha Tsui for the big guns: Burberry, Chanel, Prada et al. Locally, Joyce Ma defined HK for fashion decades - cruise her lines in Lane Crawford's. Other names to watch are William Tang, Ika Butoni and Dorian Ho. Score the one-season bag in Ap Lei Chau, where high-end outlets sell off Europe's last season's stock, which happily coincides with this season in Australia. If your credit card has lost its shine, shimmy down Fashion Walk in Kingston Street, Causeway Bay or Granville Road in Tsim Sha Tsui for designer brand samples and vintage gear. Sam's Tailor is HK's most famous men's tailor (Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui).
Cosmetics shopping. Keep your eyes peeled for Sasa outlets for bargain cosmetics. There are a gazillion alone in the streets of Causeway Bay, or try 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
The fine print
The MTR metro is the fastest way around, while the iconic Star Ferry zips between Hong Kong Island (Central, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai) and Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok). The HK Summer Spectacular runs from June 11 to August 31. Watch for shopping discounts at discoverhong kong.com.