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Place: Hong Kong

Hong Kong Shopping in a Nutshell
by Jeremy Lee

If you are a women, or just love to shop you will definitely LOVE Hong Kong.Central Hong Kong's Central district houses many shimmering skyscrapers and marbled shopping atriums and malls. Hong Kong has over 35 shopping malls and is growing daily. I would estimate that every luxury brand in the world has a footprint in the retail segment of Hong Kong at one location or another.

The contrast between the old world markets and designer boutiques provides variety and excitement to any shopping day. Scattered among the government headquarters and financial and banking houses are a wealth of opportunities for any shopper. The Landmark, The Galleria, Prince's Building, Alexandra House and the ifc mall are the main shopping centers, with designer shops and exclusive brand names in abundance.

Two parallel streets in Central known as "The Lanes", Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West are a riot of stalls hawking everything from inexpensive clothing, watches and costume jewellery to luggage and shoes. Situated between Queen's Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central, the market is open daily from 10am to 7PM.

Stanley Street is known for its range and reasonably priced photographic equipment. Hollywood Road winds above the Central business district and is Hong Kong's antiques row. Farther west towards Sheung Wan is a bustle of sidewalk hawkers on Central's stepped "ladder" streets.

Western Market in Sheung Wan is a handsomely renovated Edwardian building filled with Chinese handicraft stores and fabric shops. It is situated at the corner of Connaught Road and Morrison Street, Sheung Wan. The area to the west is famous for its small Chinese-style shops selling dried seafood and medicinal herbs.

Cat Street bazaar, or Hollywood road, is best known for stalls and shops selling antiques, such as watches, old coins and stone carvings The area is also home to many interesting Chinese herbal medicine stores.

Admiralty too is famous for its brand-name luxury goods.Admiralty Pacific Place, one of Hong Kong's most popular malls, is the ideal place to go in this area. You'll find perfect gift ideas within its 130-plus outlets, including the Lane Crawford and Seibu department stores and top designer labels. Pacific Place is connected to the Admiralty MTR Station Hong Kong's well-designed shopping mega-malls cater to every taste and budget. Hong Kong's well-designed shopping mega-malls cater to every taste and budget

These vast emporiums combine boutiques from a Who's Who of the international designer scene with brand names from every corner of the world. Enjoy the fine dining and gourmet food outlets in Hong Kong's malls, offering everything you could ever desire under a single air-conditioned roof.

Duty-free Prices on almost all goods, other than alcohol and tobacco, are tax-free. This makes Hong Kong one of the world's most attractive shopping destinations.

Your best strategy for shopping because of the diversity of the shops is to compare prices,check different shops to compare prices of items you want to buy. Department stores and chain stores also clearly label their products. Smaller shops and street market stalls often do not mark product prices providing a great opportunity to practice your bargaining skills. You can barter in the street shops, but obviously you would not want to barter in the main luxury shops..

Make sure you know what you want in terms of models, features, price, accessories and warranty such as terms and geographical coverage, especially when you buy electronic goods. When you buy Chinese medicine and dried seafood, please check the product's unit price and the method used to measure the weight of the goods. If you have any queries about prices please contact the Consumer Council, wholesaler or agent, or visit the manufacturer's showroom for further product information.

Parallel imports are items brought into Hong Kong by someone other than the official import agent. While these products can be cheaper, they often offer restricted guarantees or limited after-sales service. Check the product and ask the sales staff before buying.

Some merchants display ambiguous prices or request a deposit on a product only to claim later that only an inferior or more expensive product is available. In order to avoid these bait and switch tactics, be sure to shop at outlets where product price is clearly displayed. You should also compare prices to get a better idea of the product's price and features before purchasing it. You should also verify and understand exactly what you are buying and what the price covers. We recommend that you patronize QTS-accredited merchants only.

Check the product before paying and make sure you have all the accessories that should be included. Check the product you have bought again before you leave the store.

You should always get a sales receipt (street stalls sometimes do not provide them). Check to ensure that all details and verbal agreements are fully listed on the sales receipt. Make sure the product details listed match the product you have bought.

Most Hong Kong shops accept credit cards. Check the credit card slip before signing it and remember to take your receipt. Credit card companies and/or banks issuing the cards may charge a currency-exchange fee on overseas purchases. Please check with your credit card issuer for further details.

All travel agent members of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, telephone: offer a 100% refund guarantee to visitors who patronize shops in tours arranged by travel agents. You are entitled to a full refund within 14 days of purchase, provided that the goods sold are returned intact and unused. If you're not satisfied with a purchase during shopping activities arranged by your travel agent, you should first approach your guide for assistance. Don't forget to keep original copies of your sales receipts.

If you have any problems, keep your receipts and call the Consumer Council Hotline for assistance. You will be able to find all this information in the travel and promotional magazines in your hotel rooms or at the front desks of the hotel. You could literally begin your shopping jaunt in the morning and not return for days, or until your credit card runs out. Shopping info, attractions and more can be found in detail in the links in the Authors Bio below..

About the Author
Jeremy is a travel writer and frequent traveler to Hong Kong. He is contributing author to http://www.travel-hong-kong-guides.com and the http://www.travel-the-world-guides.com series. For more in depth info on Hong Kong click on the links above.