For a slightly quieter shopping experience than Nathan Road head over from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and visit Stanley Market.
Open only during normal business hours, Stanley hosts a wide variety of handicrafts, souvenirs and even a few designer labels. But there are also restaurants and bars and a stroll along the relaxing beach is not out of the question after a hot day of shopping.
Once a quiet fishing village, you can still see evidence of its past in the many paintings of sailing junks set against recognizable backdrops.
Chinese artwork, collectibles, silk… whatever you may be in the market for, you’ll find. Jade, of course, is frequently sought after and available here in abundance.
Wherever you go to shop in Hong Kong, whether on the island or Kowloon or elsewhere, be prepared for crowds and (in the summer) hot and humid weather. Hong Kong is a vibrant, bustling metropolis with small oases of tranquility. A little flexibility and a willingness not to take it very seriously goes a long way here.
To find one of those little oases, stop in at one of the many small temples and enjoy a few minutes of quiet between bouts of bargaining. The Tin Hau, honoring the goddess of the sea, is a good bet. Built in 1767, visitors can step in and see the genuine tiger skin and smell some relaxing incense.
While in the area, check out the Hong Kong Maritime Museum housed in Murry House. Constructed from a hundred-year-old building moved brick by brick, the museum holds over 500 exhibits of ancient pottery. There are also interactive games and displays showing Hong Kong’s historical connection to the sea.
Still in evidence are the remnants of British Colonial rule, and the navy that enforced it. But much farther back the Hakka called Hong Kong home and their history is recorded, as well.
Next to Murray House there’s even a shopping arcade and a community theater, and every Christmas Stanley Plaza hosts a free concert by the Hong Kong International School Band.
Then head out for more shopping where you can find toys, ornaments, and crafts made by the locals. Unlike Nathan Road, the area is frequented as much by locals as by the tourists (at least on the weekends). As with other shopping experiences in Hong Kong, visitors need to be prepared to bargain. It’s expected and great deals can be had for those willing to haggle.
Getting to Stanley is simple via the bus. No. 6 from Exchange Square in Central is one easy route, but be prepared for a lengthy ride. Ride on the top of one of the double-deckers and enjoy the view of Repulse Bay as you go. For a quicker ride, take the MTR subway to Chai Wan Station and catch the No. 16M.