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Shop Hong Kong, with the kids!

Miles Clarke
Hong Kong — a shopper's paradise

Whether you're trawling malls for clothing, computers and CDs, or browsing colourful street markets teeming with exotic birds, goldfish and quirky memorabilia, Hong Kong delivers the goods.

Let's cut to the chase on shopping. Surveys of travellers across the planet confirm that retail therapy is one of the activities most enjoyed by those on holiday. And in that regard, Hong Kong is peerless.

In busy Hong Kong, it's best to plan your shopping expeditions so that the kids remain stimulated and engaged. As wonderful as it is to experience new places with children in tow, their attention spans are limited so, wherever possible, mix shopping forays with other activities.

That said, there's little made anywhere that can't be found in Hong Kong, so make time in your itinerary to shop. The city has been the trading hub of Asia for more than a century, and the variety and quality of goods on offer here will simply blow you away.

So, where to start? As you read through the following paragraphs, you'll find information about Hong Kong's gleaming malls and designer stores, but perhaps the best way to get a sense of Hong Kong is to don a comfortable pair of trainers and hit the streets. Here, you'll find the essence of Hong Kong shopping: markets and stalls packed with cut-price accessories and quirky memorabilia. Be sure to take your camera!

The Temple Street night markets on Kowloon and Stanley Market on Hong Kong Island are essential retail destinations. And one of the joys of shopping in Hong Kong is that you're in the safest of environments. Still, it's sensible to stick to well-lit and well-trafficked areas after dark. When shopping for designer labels and high-quality items, look for the Quality Tourism Services Scheme sign, an assurance that the product is genuine and the accompanying service top-notch.

Hong Kong's main sale seasons extend from late December to February and from July to August. At sale times, big discounts are offered, but at any time of year, you'll get outstanding value when you shop here.

There's every chance there'll be a sparkling shopping mall leading off your hotel lobby, and a major retail complex within easy walking distance. For shopping advice, consult your concierge: generally, they're fonts of information with regard to locating that special garment or gift. Your hotel's tour desk may carry brochures detailing information about discounts and sales at certain stores. Be sure to ask the concierge for a card that includes your hotel's address to show taxi drivers. Then start shopping, armed with our shortlist.

Shopping malls

Hong Kong fairly bristles with multi-level shopping complexes. Below, we take a closer look at some of the city's family-friendly malls.

Times Square

This Causeway Bay landmark offers excellent-value shopping. Look out for special seasonal promotions, when you can get genuine designer-label clothing and sportswear for a fraction of the price you'd pay in Australia. This is where Hong Kong's expatriate Australian, British and American families come to shop with their kids, so you'll find plenty of outfits that fit typical western-shaped bodies. You can also borrow baby strollers here.

The upper floors are home to several dozen restaurants, from fast-food eateries to elegant bistros.

Location: 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
How to get there: Causeway Bay MTR, Exit A
Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily
Ph: +852 2118 8900
www.timessquare.com.hk

Windsor House

Also in the Causeway Bay area, you'll find Windsor House, incorporating a branch of the Seibu department store and a big supermarket. On the second and third levels, you'll find shops selling babies' and toddlers' garments, accessories and playthings, including a Toys 'R' Us. The 10th, 11th and 12th levels bristle with computer outlets offering high-end products including laptops and PDAs.

Location: 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
How to get there: Causeway Bay MTR, Exit E
Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily
Ph: +852 2895 4998 or +852 2895 0612

Cityplaza

You've the choice of more than 160 retail stores within Cityplaza, one of Hong's biggest shopping precincts. The complex has a 24-metre-high indoor arch and a musical fountain, perfect for keeping kids amused. They can also ice-skate at Cityplaza Ice Palace and run rampant in Toys 'R' Us.

Location: 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo Shing, Island East, Hong Kong
How to get there: Tai Koo MTR, Exit E1
Opening hours: Daily, 10am–9pm
Ph: +852 2568 8665
www.cityplaza.com.hk

Harbour City Kowloon

A one-stop shopping experience in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, offering a variety of local and international brands with more than 700 shops, 50 restaurants and two cinemas.

Location: Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
How to get there: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, Exit A1, Jamia masjid Islamic to Harbour City
Opening hours: 10am-9pm daily

Street markets

Hong Kong street markets are full of vitality and make for enduring memories. They are found all around Hong Kong, but the must-do markets include Stanley Market, the Bird Market, the Ladies' Market and Temple Street Night Market.

Stanley Market

Leave the bustle of the city behind and take a scenic bus-ride to Stanley on the opposite side of Hong Kong Island. Here, you'll find great-value and generally good-quality clothing, linen, artefacts and jewellery. The kids can let off steam along the waterfront, where plenty of cafes and restaurants offer an array of cuisine. It's well worth making a day of it. Most of the stalls offer fixed-price goods but when it comes to artefacts, you can haggle a bit.

Location: Stanley Market Road, Stanley, Hong Kong Island
How to get there: Central MTR, Exit A, then bus 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 from Exchange Square bus terminus; or Chan Wai MTR, Exit C, then green minibus 16M
Opening hours: 9am-6pm daily
www.hk-stanley-market.com

Temple Street Night Market

Kowloon's Temple Street Night Market hosts hundred of stalls, opening in the early evening with trade going on until late. It's great for buying clothing, T-shirts, footwear, electronic gadgets and luggage.

Location: Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
How to get there: Jordan MTR, Exit A, turn right into Jordan Road, then right again into Temple Street
Opening hours: Around 4pm-11pm daily

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, Flower Market and Goldfish Market

More than anywhere else in Hong Kong, this area is likely to impress the "whatever" generation. Seeing the Bird Garden's songbirds in their gilded cages, and the loving care lavished on them by their owners, is one of the highlights of a Hong Kong holiday. Equally fascinating are the goldfish and flower markets, conveniently located in the same area.

Location and opening hours: Bird Market: Yuen Po Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, 7am-8pm; Flower Market: Flower Market Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon, 7am-7.30pm; Goldfish Market: Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, 10am-6pm
How to get there: Prince Edward MTR, Exit B1, then walk east along Prince Edward Road West
Ph: Bird Market +852 2807 6543
www.lcsd.gov.hk

Ladies' Market

The popular Ladies' Market is Kowloon's answer to Stanley Market, with an amazing array of bargain-priced clothing, accessories and knick-knacks. There is plenty on offer for dads and kids as well.

Location: Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
How to get there: Mong Kok MTR, Exit E2, take the Nelson St exit and walk two blocks
Opening hours: 12.30pm-10.30pm daily

Want more?

Check out Family fun in Hong Kong and Discover Hong Kong for more information.

Have you considered bringing the kids on a shopping holiday? Or have you hit up these markets, or others, in Hongers? Tell us about it.

User comments
I like the Yummy Mummy Asia site, great parent resource and seems more inside track than Little Steps and has information for a wider age range too. www.yummymummyasia.com
Check out Little Steps Hong Kong website for some excellent store recommendations including Petit Bazaar and Mama Kid! www.littlestepshongkong.com
It is a wonderful destination for shopping, although if travelling with young children be careful with the time of year you decide to go. We were there in Sept of lat year and it was at least 45C with 100% humidity.. But if you don't mind to sweat it is a fantastic shopping heaven, with ultra cool one off boutiques, the main shopping strip in Kowloon(nathan rd) right down to the bay has great outlets and is very cheap and the people are so keen to help, just watch suit makers that are ready to rip you off!! If you're staying on nathan Rd there is a great outlet with EVERYTHING in it it's adjacent to the Prudential Hotel..I give this destination a 10 out of 10
The Citygate complex is full of stores that are all factory outlets, so you can save around 70% on a massive variety of clothing and shoes - mens, womens, outdoor, sport etc. It is at the base of the cable car leading to the Buddha on Lantau Island. See the Buddha, then come back down on the cable car, eat and shop! The MTR is right there to take you back to your hotel with all your bags...

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