Shopping, Hong Kong
a caveat, all city tours of hong kong whether via big tour group or small ones or personalizd ones have this jewellery factory tour included in the package, and the jewelry factories are located in Hong Kong Island or at at the Hung Hom Area of Kowloon, at the Site of the Old Kai Tak International Airport. They will have a tour around the factories and lecture you about various gemstones and precious and semi precious stones and then let you at the main gallery where you are enticed to buy jewelry products.
Unique Suggestions: just look around the factory and don't buy any item unless you are really interested to buy
Fun Alternatives: don't buy if you are not into jewels
Shopping is a real hassle in HK. We've shopped in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and other places where Chinese rule the roost. Here the mainlanders seem to have run over the entire former Brit colony is large measure. They also sound and behave in a boorish manner, esp the ladies.
The cost they will quote you (through punching a calculator) would be really high for a simple product. The moment you haggle once, they would drop the price marginally through a second punch. Next time you haggle, they would snide at you and wave you off the shop premises without any basic decency. Again, that's something you shouldnt expect. You should walk away before the minute they can stoop to do this.
Some shops with older women literally hold the hand of the buyer (if it's a woman) and then pull them into the shop. This happened to my wife. She will not let go of her and continue to insist buying the stuff you sought out in the first place. But they are very careful not to drop the price at the same time. Now if you cave in, the smiles return. If you persist and move out, be ready for some more insults (i couldnt understand them coz it was in Chinese, so i didnt give a damn anyway).
Unique Suggestions: Look. Quote your intended price once, Walk away briskly if they dont relent. Keep moving even if you hear them calling out to you. Dont worry. No product is Hong Kong is unique and you will ultimately find it in your homeland Chinatown at maybe even the same price.
Fun Alternatives: Visit the "To Do" list. Shopping at these places is not so great, esp in Hong Kong. There are better destinations.
I usually have a long list of dvd's to buy on my travels, and this trip was no different. However, we quickly discovered that no dvd's purchased in Hong Kong are suitable for use in Australia, as they use the wrong region code. Our region code is 4 and all the ones we saw were region code 2 or 3. Even in shops like HMV there were none that we could buy, so that was a bit of a letdown.
Also, (fake) dvd's are not readily sold on the streets either, like in most Asian countries. Apparently the government is cracking down on the sale of copy dvd's. I think we only saw one stall selling them in the whole time we were there, and yet again, the wrong region code.
As most travellers to Asian destinations are aware, the touting on the streets is a very common thing. I think we just need to accept that that is their way of life and how they make a living. I know it can get very annoying to not walk 5 metres without being asked if you want a copy watch, handbag, suit or dvd's, but that is something that does not bother me any more.
What I found in Hong Kong that they are nowhere near as full-on and annoying as shop owners are in other countries. Not even in the main markets, like the Ladies Market and Temple Street night market, most stall owners there were very pleasant and not annoying at all.
HOWEVER .... the one place that became very overwhelming for annoying touters was in and around Nathan Road, and the main offenders were Indians. They were just so "in your face" that you really wanted to tell them where to go .... and not in a nice way!! They were more evident at the harbour end of Nathan Road, which is where we stayed for the first 10 days of our trip, so we encountered them many many times on a daily basis.
Fun Alternatives: Just try to ignore them, I know that may sound somewhat rude, but they will eventually get the hint. It seemed that saying no or shaking our head was not enough to deter them from continually asking us for fake this and copy that!
I had been told that most market/stalls do not hang actual change rooms for you to try on clothes. Even though this was the case, we did come across a few with change rooms.
BUT .... most market stalls also DO NOT allow you to actually try clothes on in the store over the top of the clothes you were wearing! I found this very frustrating and I do not see what the problem with that is. Surely if I was to try something on in the store and maybe damage it, then I would understand that I would be buying it, whether I liked it or not! In light of this, I bought a few items of clothing that when I tried them on back at the hotel room .... DID NOT FIT!!!
People, please do not make purchases at ladies Market and the likes without at least bargaining... unless you do not care about getting a fair deal, or you just do not care.
We travel to HK every 2 years or so and have seen enough stall owners trying to rip off tourists. Example: we were looking at one item a couple weeks ago at Ladies market, the owner offered 120HKD which we knew it was way too much, so we walked. The moment we turned away she dropped the price to 80HKD, still we walked because we haven't checked out the whole street yet. Now, the least expensive price for that item on the same street was 48 HKD. We ended up buying the exact same item a few days later at a street stall in Central, where the price was listed at 39 HKD. We bought 4 for 35HKD each after brief bargaining.
Unique Suggestions: You see something you like at the market ?
- do not show real emotions ...i.e. OMG Hun I love this whatever, honey I gotta have this !
- do not buy it the first time you see it. Don't. There will be others carrying that. Trust us.
- check out the whole market first, and go back and do the bargaining.
- be polite and bargain, and do not feel bad about doing that. It's a market, we all bargain.
- bargain more.
- if they do not give you a better price IYO, just say thanks and walk away. Move on to next.
Fun Alternatives: Try Temple street night market or Central ( they have 2 street market there, smaller , but we find the prices are more down to earth.. always )
*** update *** 19/12/2010
At Ladies Market, the hawker/store owner said 50 HKD, I walked. last price she offered was 20 HKD.
Keep bargaining people ;)
I am a local and if I were you, I would think twice before I buy electronics in HK. First of all and all, do not attempt to look into windows of those neon-lit shops along Nathan Road and other main streets. They are there to trap you only.
1. HK's retail prices are usually more expensive than the US and Japan for cameras and some other electronics.
Demands from China and local market effectively keep stock low despite higher prices. The gap of prices have widen as we appear to bounce faster than most parts of the world, though I don't feel that much of recovery personally. I only know I am suffering from the inflated pricing after all.
2. Even chain shop's listed price can be tricky.
I always recommend shopping from well-known retailers like Fortress, Broadway, Citicall, Wing Shing or Tin Cheong. But amazing, you can get a further discount out of the price tag for less popular items upon asking like "can it be cheaper". Tags like "further reduction" also provide the room for the shop to fluctuate prices a bit. That is utterly inconvenient for fair price comparison.
3. Avoid shopping in small scale computer malls.
It is interesting to walk through, but you never know which shop is honest to you. Overpricing and dishonest descriptions are not common but mostly unobservable. Do not shop unless the price is revealed without asking.
4. Consumer protection is very weak in Hong Kong
If no refund, no return, lack of control over dishonest practices and lengthy negotiation with Consumer Council are not putting you off, make sure you know very well about something before you buy in Hong Kong. A little relaxation can end up in regrettable losses.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you know well about your product, like a reference price from your home country and reviews. Make sure you know what you want.
Only check prices if they are clearly stated on tags at display. Check prices from different retailers, though they tend to be the same if they locate in the same area.
Only visit chain shops or well established retailers like: Broadway, Fortress, Citicall, Tin Cheung Photo Supply, Wing Shing/Man Shing Photo Supply, DCFever.com, DC Career, DSC or department stores.
Try not to be convinced for alternatives, unless there is clear advantage over your decided option. Know well what else you would need to complement your camera. Do not pay unless you know what is it.
Always ask for the lowest available price and free gifts, like camera bag and tripod.
Fun Alternatives: I would recommend you to buy from your home country if there is a competitive market for electronic retailers.
It is not money that matters, but integrity. I hate to spread this sad message around the global forums, but as a working journalist, I also figure there is nothing more important than getting informed.
My last advice is that you should act before our government, on our expenses. Enjoy incredibly bargain apparels and the world's greatest selection of cuisine here, as well as the enchanting cityscape, but don't fall for the shoppers' traps. We are not perfect at all.
There are lots of Jade Factory Tours and Gold factory Tours and Pearl Factory Tours . Just beware they are setting you up for some high pressured sales and they are often accompanied by higher prices too.
Unique Suggestions: If its part of a tour package you are on , just relax and watch the demonstration and keep in mind that you will be a traget for a sales pitch at some point.
Fun Alternatives: I learned , if it wasn't something I planned on buying , I didn't . There is always lots of whatever was being sold around the corner anyway , if I changed my mind!
It's very crowded, the only locals there are the sellers, lots of very aggressive stalls.
I found it a nightmare, lots of schlock and the few things I purchased were less expensive and better quality elsewhere. It was so overwhelming, to me, that I saw only one full lane, and a few short jaunts. It's intense.
I got confused and thought I was buying some things for less than a dollar - so I bought about a dozen, only to find out it was really $5-10 USD each! She wouldn't give me my money back so I had to buy some things I didn't really want, but weren't so out of line.
Unique Suggestions: Tell what price you're willing to pay - or your ideal price. Amazingly, they often go for it; but I hate it.
Know exactly what you're spending, I find it very difficult. I wish I was better at Exchange rates, but next time I'm coming with a calculator.
Fun Alternatives: I suppose Tsim Sha tsui is better, but my favorite was Hudson Centre. We bought a very good suit there and 2 excellent tea shops.
There are some shops in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok and Causeway Bay. They are operated for the purpose of cheating tourists ! Usually, they sell cameras, electrical appliances and jewellery. Some of them sell goods with an extremely high price. They may not allow you to leave if you do not buy goods from them. Or they sell goods at an extremely low price in order to attract you to buy. But the goods are used, are broken or of not good quality. Some of them are even fake goods.
Don't just evaluate the shops by whether it is big in size or not, whether it is clean, well-operated. Most of them are like the most trustworthy shops in Hong Kong !
Unique Suggestions: If you are not allowed to leave from the shop (although it is rare in Hong Kong now), call the police by dialing 999. Most of them will be afraid and give you a way. But please report to the police for their reference.
If you buy goods that are not of a good quality, take the slip(don't throw it away until you are satisfied with your goods), go back to the shop and ask for an exchange of goods. Customers have the right to get the goods that are of good quality. Don't hasitate to argue with them if they refuse to exchange it with you. Some of the shops refuse to exchange the goods by saying that the goods are out of stock. You may simply ask for refund. Remember, you have the right to do so, unless it is specified in the slip that exchange and refund are not allowed.
Fun Alternatives: There is a logo for good shops in tourist sites. The logo should be shown outside the shop and near the cashier. It is gold in colour, issued by the tourism board of Hong Kong. It is suggested to shop in those shops. Please pay more attention when the price of the goods are extermely low, like HKD$99 to get a PS3.
Be a smart shopper in Hong Kong !
Stanely shopping... Unless you have time to kill, the shopping at Stanley is a rip off. You can get all of the same stuff at the Night Market for 1/4 of the price.. WITHOUT bargining!
But it is a scenic drive though the mountains and its nice to look at the water.
Unique Suggestions: The bathrooms were an experience. It was a plastered hole in the concrete with a lever on the wall.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the Ladies Market in Mong Kok... or wait until the day cools off and head off to the NIght Market on Temple Street. You will find the same things.. MUCH cheaper.. and thats BEFORE you start bargining.
Open evening till late..find your tacky pressies and Chinese tourist souvenirs such as tiny teapots with Chinese characters and quick trad style paintings at bargain prices. Fake watches, sunglasses and up to the minute English language dvds. don't forget your flashing lights kits and other dangling mobile accessories for super fluffy dice aficionados!
During my Trip to hong Kong On the Chinese New year Time, I have been to Many Interesting Places and Shopping Malls. While we Was Shopping at Tsim Sha Tsui On the 19.02.2006 at "The Hilton Plaza". As We Walking along in the Plaza, we went Pass a Jewellery Trading Store Named the "Kitty Trading Co.". As I was Checking out the necklaces etc, A Old Saleswomen(Late 50's maybe) appear From No Where? and start Draging me into the Store, so me and My Friends went in and Sat down at the counter. The Old Saleswomen Start to introduce herself, She claims her name is Kitty the Owner of the Store.
After she Introducing herself she start to Convince us to buy the Jewellerys she bought out of the Counter. She Claims All her Jewewllerys areTrade-in(Used) and is has been Renew at the Factory. To Me All Those Jewellerys She Selling is nothing But Scrap, Because all the Jewellery in the Whole Store is very Dull and dirty. After 15mins of Convince, At the End I Told the old saleswomen, We Are No Interest to Buy and about to leave the store. The Salewomen said: STOP! Where are you going? I Reply: We're Leaving to continues Our Shopping. She Reply: After 15minutes Of ****** Bull***, you not Buying anything From Me? Me and My Friends were Shocked for what she Just Said to Us and we leave the Store. And Took an Photo of me outside This Jewellery Trading Store. Tourists Tips! If you not going to Buy at these Trading Store, avoid going into it, otherwise you will get nothing But Insult.
The Shop Located in Tsim Sha Tsui in Hilton Plaza at the End of Nathan Road, cross the Road of the New SOGO Shopping Mall and Tsim Tung KCR Train station enterance.
The people in the vendors, when they see that you are a foreign tourist, they will charge you more than they would normally charge the locals. Of course, you can always try to bargain with them, but just watch out. And sometimes you won't even know that they are doing it, just because the prices are cheap anyway.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you bargain with them. It always works. And just pretend to be walking away if they refuse to bargain with you, they would generally lower their prices a bit.
Fun Alternatives: Of course, in department stores, this won't happen. You also can't bargain too.
Basically everything sold there is marked up in price. Lots of "Ck" underwear, and Ralph Lauren Polo shirts. All fakes of course, so Caveat Emptor. The people will lie to you without thinking twice. You'll hear that it was produced some place else (e.g. Korea) and that they are real (real fake...). Basic items like t-shirts pose no dangers. I bought a pair of shoes for $200 HKD and they broke in 2 days. Just check the quality over before you commit. Bargin, for most things you should be able to at least shave 30% off the price they ask for.
Unique Suggestions: It place is worth seeing, and there are things worth buying. If you are okay with low quality fakes, then buy to your heart's content. Just remember to bargin.
Fun Alternatives: Additional markets like the night market near Jordan. There's another similar market up north closer to Prince Edward.