Nathan Road, Hong Kong
Along Nathan Road, there are many many shops, especially of the electronic type (cameras etc) where you go in and have to ask the price. They make one up as there is never a mark on the box. You never see the locals in these shops.
One trick they use is to try and sell you the bear item very cheaply, nut ONLY if you buy a whole bunch of extras which they rip you off on (e.g. memory card, case, battery, charger etc etc). Certainly in the UK, many of the extras will already come in the box. See my tip for buying cameras in HK. The shop comes highly recommended on the internet, it has prices marked on items (no haggling at all), they are cheap, and full of locals too.
Unique Suggestions: Shop around in many places, and add up the cost of the total package. Also check the goods you are about to walk out of the shop with are the exact items you expect them to be. Sneaky swaps when you aren't looking are not unheard of!
Fun Alternatives: Wing Shing Photo Supplies Co. (see seperate shopping tip)
Please don't visit these brightly lit electronic shops that have many digital cameras, mp3 players and so forth in the windows. They are situated on the Tsim Sha Tsui end of Nathan Road and are known as mostly rip off merchants. Many say "tax free" but adjust their prices anyway. The salesmen are very pushy and will try and strike a good deal "just for you". Don't be fooled as what you see is not always what you get.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure if you do buy any electrical goods you don't let it out of your site once you have paid for it, many places in this area will use the bait and switch technique where after you've paid for the goods the salesman will take your camera/mp3 player/camcorder into the back of the shop to get the accessories. They will then swap your goods for an inferior or reconditioned one worth a lot less than the one you thought you were getting.
Fun Alternatives: Try and go to the "Fortress" chain of shops which are all over Hong Kong, the salesmen are not pushy and are very knowledgable and you "WILL NOT" get cheated at this shop. The prices are a little higher than in the places I mentioned above but you "WILL" get what you pay for and can take it back and get a refund/exchange if you have any problems. You will also get a gaurantee which is not always the case in the shops I mentioned above. There are also some other reputable eltronic store chains throughout Hong Kong but I'm not sure about names.
One trick of some of the Photography shops in Nathan Road are to sell you a camera/camcorder etc at half the usual price, they take your money and then tell you they haven't got one in stock. You then have to wait for one to be delivered - and it just so happens that it's the day after you've left. BEWARE !!
Also, they tell you that the goods are better than they actually are. - The moral of the story is, Know what you want to buy before you go, Know what price you want to pay and stick to it !!
Be prepared when walking along Nathan Road for the touts trying to sell watches, tailors etc. They are quite pushy and in your face. If you have children with you it's best to forewarn them.
Unique Suggestions: Just a shake of the head and brisk walking eventually gets you by, until the next one.
The lower end of Nathan Road Kowloon used to be known as The Golden Mile. I can only assume that this was because the touts lined their pockets with tourist "gold". It is well documented (by VT members and travel bloggers) that this area of Hong Kong is where tourists are most likely to be parted from their money by dubious means.
By all means join the crowds that jostle for space on the footpath day and night. Its a vibrant area and as you head up Nathan Road you will pass the legendary Chungking Mansions on the right hand side between Middle Road and Mody Road.
Despite it being a fire trap that should really be demolished Chungking Mansions remains firmly entrenched as a tourist attractions of sorts. Its an eclectic collection of retail stores, grimy hole in the wall Indian restaurants and shabby guesthouses. There is nothing to see inside. I would just stop and think "oh that's where the infamous Chungking Mansions is" and then walk on by. Honestly if you can afford to be in Hong Kong you can afford to stay somewhere other than Chungking Mansions. The YMCA in Salisbury Road would be a much cleaner and safer alternative. The Dragon Hotel is also a good budget option.
Unique Suggestions: This is not a reputable area for buying electronic equipment so dont allow yourself to be talked into buying a new camera or even a rolex watch for that matter. Even if you think you are smart enough to know when you are being scammed take a few moments to read tips from fellow VT members about their experiences with camera shops in this part of town.
Touts will approach you but wont harass you so a firm no to their requests to purchase a copy watch or copy handbag is all that is needed. I know they want to make a sale but I think to pass the time they quite enjoy picking out tourists in the bustling crowd. Don't bother trying to blend in, they can spot a tourist a mile away figuratively speaking.
This area is a black hole for all tourists. Still, many are drawn to this place like moths to light. They particularly love to flock around shops with neon lights, get suckered into a bad deal and later whined about being fleeced.
Unique Suggestions: Be familiar with the scam tactics used by these weasels in Nathan Road. Read my local warning tip here.
Fun Alternatives: For pete's sake, just avoid the shops with bright neon lights when it comes to buying a video/camera. Approach the nice staff at any HKTB counter and ask them to recommend a reliable electronic store. If not, use their online search guide.
Gallant store, 80 Nathan rd, Hong Kong. Stay away from this store. They are thieves. They are deceitful and rude. Do not give them your credit card and make sure they open any products in front of you. DO NOT GO HERE. They will surely rip you off.
We were ripped off horribly at New Year 2013 by salespersons in this store. They are deceitful and cheaters. Never give them your credit card and make sure that you check the product model numbers and that everything is included. OPEN THE PRODUCT and do not let them go out the back to repack it. DO NOT EVER GO THERE. They will steal your money. The products we bought were not what they said, twice the price they are in OZ and did not have all information.
Nathan Road is one of the busiest streets in Kowloon, with a high number of Indian salemen lingering seeking out the naive Western tourist, they can be very direct and hands on. Some of the goods can be of poor quality, although there are many good Indian taylors here so don't assume they're all crooked.
There are so many posts here about the dangers of Nathan Road so I'm not going to repeat anything that's already been said several times before.
Even if you know what product you want inside and out, that's just simply not enough. There's a whole bait-and-switch scheme, cross-selling and upselling tricks that they've perfected and you can easily fall victim if you succumb to their charms or their pressure.
Unique Suggestions: Don't be bullied into buying anything and if they don't want to show you the item straight out of the box, then just leave. If they do actually show you the item in the box, examine, examine, examine, test, test, test until you are absolutely comfortable with the product. And then... DON"T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE BOX WHEN THEY REPACK!
Fun Alternatives: Professional photographers in the know will steer clear of Nathan Road entirely and head for just a couple of trusted stores. For an exhaustive discussion, see http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000GnZ
Stay away from PERFECT DIGITAL. People there are liars, thieves, and scammers! First they will lie to you about the availability of the product you intend to buy and its price. When they get you to sit down, they will offer another product that's much more INFERIOR with all sorts of lies surrounding it (that it's newer, it's better, etc) at an EXTREMELY EXORBITANT price - about 5X its actual market value. You will only realize this sadly after you've made the wrong decision to purchase. So please take it from me - STAY AWAY FROM PERFECT DIGITAL! It's a TRAP!
Unique Suggestions: If you have to go to a tourist trap, at least follow these rules
1. Remember to STICK to what you had intended to buy. DON'T BE SWAYED.
2. Confirm the price
3. When they say they have a new stock, CONFIRM the new stock (WAIT FOR IT, inspect it, and HOLD IT IN YOUR HANDS. DO NOT PAY FOR THE PRODUCT/THE NEW STOCK UNTIL YOU HAVE IT IN YOUR HANDS. DON'T PART WITH YOUR CASH/CREDIT CARD UNTIL YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT THEY HAVE THE PRODUCT IN STOCK, and that THE PRODUCT IS IN YOUR HANDS.
4. After careful inspection of the product, only then should you pay for it. TRY TO PAY IN CASH, as you'll never know what they'll do with your credit card.
5. BE DEAF TO THEIR OFFERS TO PURCHASE OTHER PRODUCTS.
6. After making payment, leave.
However, the best advice is still this - STAY AWAY FROM THESE SHOPS!
Fun Alternatives: There are still reputable bargain shops. The best thing to do is to . . .
1. Check out the blogs for the user reviews,
2. Listen to your friends (those who have already gone to those safe bargain electronic / camera shops), or
3. Just go to FORTRESS.
Those annoying little Indian gentlemen that try and drag you off places or try and pester you into accepting their help.
Unique Suggestions: Just don't. If you need directions, ask someone in a shop. Hong Kong is easy to get around despite what it appears like at first.
Fun Alternatives: Get a map and pre-plan your trip!
Nathan Road... perhaps one of the biggest tourist destinations in HK. It's a great place for shopping, but bargaining is a must. Merchants will charge you triple if they can get away with it. This is especially true with electronic equipment. And don't let the 'copy watch' guys get you down. You'll certainly encounter them on almost any corner trying to sell you a fake Rolex. If you're not interested, the best thing to do is simply ignore them.
You will notice sometimes men dressed as buddhist monks, with a metalbowl in their hand asking for money. Please DO NOT give them any money under any circumstances, because 100% ALL of them are fake!!! They are Central china men on tourist visas in HK working as a syndicate to cheat money from unsuspecting tourists. It's pathetic and sad to see they even thought up this cheap trick.
Unique Suggestions: Real monks NEVER asks money on the street, they are too busy with chores at their temples. Btw, buddhist temples never had to resolve to this kind method for donations, there are enough devotees from everywhere to provide them that. Just smile and walk away, call the police if they pester you further.
Fun Alternatives: By giving money to beggars, you are not helping them at all. Instead, they think this is a real easy way for some quick cash (and often it's true). Idf U had to show your kindness, at least pick your subject, like buskers who at least making an effort by playing some music.
BEWARE! Please do your homework and compare prices. Do not succumb to their friendly but deceiving tactics. I was a victim. The guy cheated me into buying a digital camera double its price. Cant express my anger enough. As a consolation, I have the photo of the guy who cheated me. The shop is at Nathan Road directly opposite the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station near the Kowloon Mosque. The face of a cheat