How To Shop Like A Boss (On The Cheap) In Hong Kong
A budget-conscious traveller's guide to bagging bargains.
Hong Kong is a mega-city, exploding across the banks of Victoria Harbour like a year-round firework. Encased in Babylonian towers of steel and glass, it’s a big money society – cocktails in breathtaking sky bars at sky-high prices are the norm and hipster culture is hard to find.
As big earners, the business people of Hong Kong are also big spenders, and they love luxury brands. Hong Kong is a fashion lover’s paradise if you have deep pockets but, for the budget-conscious traveller, the whole place can feel like Rodeo Drive – crazy expensive and comically out-of-reach.
But there are sneaky ways to enjoy haute couture in Hong Kong – just follow this handy guide.
On the casual side, there’s Fa Yuen Street, a total dream for sneakerheads and lovers of street culture. Stretching along more than eight city blocks in Mong Kok, on the Kowloon side of the harbour, Fa Yuen Street has the largest concentration of sneaker stores in the world – the sheer volume and variety is mind-blowing.
Adidas and Nike have flagship stores with plenty of stock at discount prices, but the big players rub shoulders with several dozen tiny shops stocking thousands of top brands at bargain prices – every Puma, New Balance, Converse and Tiger the world has to offer, and the occasional rare gem from Alexander McQueen or Rick Owens.
Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau
On the far south side of Hong Kong Island, secreted away in a weird residential park, a nondescript skyscraper is home to 28 floors of outlet stores. There’s virtually no signage, the lobby is musty and unadorned, but climb into the lifts at Horizon Plaza and you’ll climb out in a budget fashionista’s paradise.
Many of the floors are given over to furniture and homewares, but the Lane Crawford outlet and the Joyce Warehouse hold masses of high-end labels, at up to 70 per cent off the original retail price. The end-of-season and out-of-season ranges are totally haphazard, but the labels they stock are fairly consistent. Find everything from Chloe to ACNE, Commes des Garçons to Givenchy, Alexander Wang to Stella McCartney, all beautifully made and heavily discounted.
Horizon Plaza is by no means cheap, but it’s a relatively affordable way to wear high fashion.
Citygate Outlets, Tung Chung
At the far end of the Tung Chung MTR line, you’ll find the biggest outlet shopping mall anywhere in Hong Kong. Citygate Outlets has around 80 stores selling well-known international brands at a 30 to 70 per cent discount, from Calvin Klein to Crocs, Escada to Esprit, Levis to Lacoste.
A more traditional shopping experience than Horizon Plaza, the Citygate mall includes multiple food courts, a cinema and an on-site hotel, and brands that are more street-friendly than catwalk-chic. Best of all, if you make it this far, you’re just a death-defying ride away from the Tian Tan Buddha – one of the must-see sites on any visit to Hong Kong.
Prada/Miu Miu Outlet, Aberdeen
Just around the corner from Horizon Plaza is a shop formally known as Space, housing end-of-season, out-of-season stock by Prada and Miu Miu. Again, this gem of an outlet store is located in a totally random and confusing location, but it’s absolutely worth the hike (about 30 minutes on a bus, or approximately $15 for a cab ride from the other side of Hong Kong Island).
This is a dazzling pit stop for haute couture lovers, but the heavily discounted stock is on the pricier side of a bargain. You can buy a Prada key ring cheaply, if you’re desperate.
I.T. Outlet, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hidden in an impossible-to-find corner of the Silverchord mall, in the dazzling neon fever dream that is Kowloon, the IT Outlet delivers wild hipster fashion at discount prices. Rammed onto a dozen-odd rows are cutting-edge clothes and shoes from the likes of Kurt Gieger, Alexander McQueen, Boy London, Cheap Monday, Opening Ceremony, and Rag & Bone.
If you like clothes, the prints, cuts and general craziness will leave you drooling. It’s hard to find hipster culture in Hong Kong, but the I.T. Outlet has more than its share.
(Lead image: Mitch Altman / Flickr)
This article was updated in April 2018.