Ultimate Hong Kong shopping guide: Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay may be the shopping mecca in Hong Kong, but arriving for the first time, all most people see is an overwhelming ocean of humanity circulating around seemingly bland shopping centers.
After Causeway Bay overtook New York's Fifth Avenue as the priciest retail area in the world, it's true that many local stores closed or were forced out by high rents and international chain stores.
But only out-of-towners dismiss Causeway Bay as one big tourist trap.
There are still plenty of treasures and, yes, bargains, to be found in this labyrinth of commerce. That's why you'll find it crowded with shoppers even at 10 or 11 on Sunday and Monday nights.
You'll need faith and the stamina of a marathon runner, but good things can still happen in Causeway Bay.
Here's how to find the biggest and best shops (not always the same thing) and get a head start on the competition.
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SOGO Causeway Bay
Department store (A on map)
Even if you don’t shop in SOGO Causeway Bay, know this: its main entrance is an iconic meeting point for locals.
Opened in 1985, SOGO is the biggest and the most popular Japanese department store in Hong Kong. Its 12 stories (including two basement floors) include everything from high fashion to cosmetics to electronics to toys for kids.
SOGO Causeway Bay, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2833 8338; open Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday, Saturday and day before public holidays 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; www.sogo.com.hk
Island Beverly Center
Shopping malls can be monotonous, but Island Beverly Center is different. Located next to SOGO, it's a four-floor treasure hunting adventure.
The small mall has around 100 boutiques that sell local, Korean and Japanese fashion, as well as communal consignment stores in cubicle cells that sell goods from toys to cosmetics. This is where to check out the best (and sometimes worst) of local trends.
Items are generally inexpensive, but fitting isn't allowed.
Island Beverly Center, 1 Great George St., Causeway Bay; +852 2890 6823; opening times vary but usually from afternoon till late; www.discoverhongkong.com
Causeway Place and Laforet
Malls (C for Causeway Place and D for Laforet)
These two mini-malls nearby are cousins of Island Beverly Center.
Compared with the other two, Causeway Place has more shops for men and some designer knockoffs.
Laforet, on the other hand, sells mostly women's wear, from clothes to cosmetics to undergarments.
Causeway Place, 2-10 Great George St., Causeway Bay; opening times vary but usually from afternoon till late; www.causewayplace.hk
Good Old Days at WTC More
Antique watches (E)
Hidden in a corner of a shopping mall, Good Old Days is a small shop cramped with about a thousand antique watches.
Well-dressed Ping-sing Szeto opened the shop 25 years ago to sell precious timepieces that he collected around the world when he was a professional cyclist.
Century-old, diamond-studded watches and even older pocket watches are the kinds of things you'll find.
Good Old Days, Shop P408A, WTC More, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2116 0088; open daily 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; www.wtcmore.com
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From vintage to restored vintage to imitation vintage so convincing you can’t tell they’re imitations, Retrostone is a one-stop location, especially for rockers.
Retrostone made its mark in Hong Kong by importing secondhand band T-shirts from the United States. Although band tees are still the major attraction, the shop also sells a lot of leather products and small vintage design brands from overseas.
Retrostone, 1/F, 504 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2838 6419; open daily 2:30 or 3:30-10 p.m.; www.facebook.com/retrostone
Retrostone, 2/F, 1 Cannon St., Causeway Bay; +852 3107 9131; open daily 2:30-10 p.m.; www.facebook.com/retrostone
Kid's stores/Mall (G)
Parents see this congregation of kids stores as heaven or avoid it like germs.
There are more than 20 stores to please tired travelers' energetic offspring.
You'll find organic children's clothes, educational toys and even corrective shoes.
Windsor House, 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2882 3603; opening hours vary but generally open from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m.; www.windsorhouse.hk
To meet a celebrity or just dress like one, Liger is the place.
Local fashion icon Hilary Tsui and her business partner have just opened their third Liger store, pleasing celebrity and fashion-forward clientelle.
The sleek shop carries a range of uncommon international and local brands, such as Alice McCall, Rue Du Mail and Joanna Ho, as well as the in-house label, Oh My God.
Liger, Shop A & C, 55 Paterson St., Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay; +852 2503 5308; open noon -9 p.m. daily; ligerstore.com
Liger, 1/F, 11 Pak Sha Road, Causeway Bay; +852 3483 3948; open Monday to Saturday 12:30-9 p.m., Sunday 1-8 p.m.; ligerstore.com
The stylish store is a hidden gem adored by local celebs -- see all their signatures on the wall.
The store mainly carries younger, high street fashion brands from Europe and Japan, such as KTZ and Henrik Vibskov. They also revamp classics (platform Vans’ sneakers, anyone?) for their own label, Yah.
KniQ, 4/B, Vienna Mansion, 55 Paterson St., Causeway Bay; +852 2881 7903; open Monday-Saturday 2-10 p.m., Sunday 2-9 p.m.; www.kniq.com.hk
At this avant garde shop you can see the latest fashion K-pop stars like G-Dragon wear.
The store stocks labels like Haider Ackermann, C. Neoon and Toga Archieves.
The interior design is amusing. The store on Cleveland Street has a ceiling knitted from 900 white strings.
Shop B, 5-7 Cleveland St., Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay; +852 2890 8261; open daily from 12:30-10 p.m.; www.shinegroup.com.hk
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Despite being the first venture from local fashion newbies, Keith Cheng and Grace Lee's elegant store aims high.
Opened a month ago, Jexta features bold designs with subtle details and the occasional vintage touch.
Elegant fishtail dresses, vintage brooches and high-quality leather shoes highlight the goods.
“We source different local tailors for different designs, depending on what they are good at,” says Cheng.
1A Cleveland Mansion, 5-7 Cleveland St., Causeway Bay; +852 2972 7893; open daily from 2-10 p.m.; jexta.net
eslite, Hysan Place
Eslite is the largest bookstore chain in Taiwan and the Hysan Place store is its first overseas branch.
The 3,800-square-meter (41,000-square-feet) bookstore offers an extensive selection of Chinese books and a decent selection of English books.
More importantly, it’s the home of the best bubble tea shop, cha FOR TEA, in town.
eslite, 8-10/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay; +852 3419 6788; Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday, Saturday and eve of public holiday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m., www.leegardens.com.hk
Street market (M)
Given its location behind the giant Forever 21 outlet and in the vicinity of the eye-catching Hysan Place, it’s easy to walk past Jardine’s Crescent without seeing anyting special.
Jardine's Crescent is a long and narrow street market cramped with clothing, accessories and tacky souvenir stores at good value. It’s a place to polish your bargaining skills.
There are more shops behind the stalls on the side, too.
Jardine's Crescent, Causeway Bay Station Exit F, entrance next to Forever 21
You already know Forever 21.
But this one stays open till 1 a.m. daily.
Capitol Centre, 5-19 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay; +852 2890 4791; open daily from 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; www.forever21.com
Bespoke tailor (O)
Frustrated by the long process to get a custom-made shirt, Ian Fong founded Cuffs, a modern place for bespoke tailoring.
A genius shirt bar and suit bar illustrate the steps to customize your shirt, with a finely curated selection of patterns and fabrics. Cuffs recently collaborated with local design store G.O.D. to play with classic Cantonese designs on fabrics.
Shirts (HK$500-600/US$64-77) take around 10 days to make. Suits (HK$3,500-5,000/US$450-645) take two to three weeks.
Cuffs, 3/F, 27 Lee Garden Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2413 6033; open daily 1-9 p.m.; www.cuffs.hk
Lane Crawford, Times Square
Specialty stores (P)
If you want to eavesdrop on the latest gossip from Hong Kong socialites and tai tai (well-off wives), you can hang out where they shop -- Lane Crawford.
Founded in 1850, Lane Crawford is still Hong Kong's leading luxury fashion and lifestyle specialty store, offering the best of designer fashions.
In addition to womenswear and menswear, there are departments for shoes and accessories, home and lifestyle and an extensive area for beauty and cosmetics.
Lane Crawford, Times Square, 1 Matheson St., Causeway Bay; +852 2118 3638; open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; www.lanecrawford.com
Sweet and strong -- this is how Pink Martini describes itself.
The funky store with a pink neon sign and always charming window display sells the ideal wardrobe for the city’s trendy youngsters.
Products range from the shop's own playful label, Daily Dolly, famous for its redesign of classic brands, to French chic designs from Japanese brand Duras Ambient.
Pink Martini, Shop 2, 3 Yiu Wa St., Causeway Bay; +852 2574 1498; open Monday to Saturday 1:30-10:30 p.m., Sunday 2-10 p.m.; www.pinkmartini.com.hk
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White Noise Records
CDs/Vinyl records (R)
Almost 10 years after opening, White Noise Records still attracts lots of indie-music addicts who share music on a 19th-floor shop on Yiu Wah Street.
White Noise doesn't just stock great music; its great music that’s hard to find elsewhere.
“If you’re looking for Pink Floyd, you ain’t gonna find them here,” said Gary Leong, co-owner of White Noise Records. “Why would you come all the way to look for something you can find in HMV?”
Leong says visitors should check out the best Asian indie bands and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendation.
The shop also sells some vinyl and band T-shirts and organizes gigs for bands.
White Noise Records, 1901, 19/F, Workingview Commercial Building, 21 Yiu Wa St., Causeway Bay; +852 2591 0499; open daily 1-9 p.m.; www.whitenoiserecords.org
Men's/Some women's (S)
Founded six years ago, Oldies Co. was one of the very first fashion tenants in Yiu Wah Street.
The small shop stocks secondhand leather jackets, secondhand dresses and imports Homage USA retro T-shirts. It also designs vintage biker jackets and leather jackets under its own label.
Oldies Co., 1/F, 28 Yiu Wah St., Causeway Bay; +852 2575 8775; open Monday to Friday 3-11 p.m., weekends 1-11 p.m.; www.facebook.com
Phone cases in the shape of handbags, fortune cats or other clever designs can be found in this small corner store on the second floor of Sharp Street East.
Despite being founded by a Hong Konger, the colorful store made its fame in Japan long before setting foot here.
The shop has just expanded its business to add housewares and accessories made of silicone. Some items are exclusive to Hong Kong.
Plus side: You’ll never have trouble finding a phone you buy here. Down side: You may need to shop for a bigger bag, as well.
Candies, 2/F, 9B Sharp St. East, Causeway Bay; +852 2354 9228; open daily 1-8:30 p.m.; www.candies-gifts.com
Unless you’re a Polaroid enthusiast, Causeway Bay isn't usually a destination for new cameras.
But ::mint:: is Hong Kong’s only Impossible Project partner store -- a company that replicates the out-of-production Polaroid film for Polaroid 600 and sells secondhand SX-70 cameras.
It’s also one of the world’s biggest restoration centers for the SX-70. Hong Kong was a major Polaroid trading port, and ::mint:: has recruited a team of retired Polaroid technicians and possesses a few hundred restored SX-70s.
::mint::, 2/F, 26A Russell St., Causeway Bay; +852 2720 0222; open daily 1-9:30 p.m.; www.SX70asia.com
Caroline Haven Community
Men's/Women's/Accessories/Variety Store (V)
Neat cafes, galleries and stores have started popping up in this little upcoming neighborhood along Haven Street and Caroline Hill Road.
The stores are mostly hidden in the old, once-deserted mall of Lei Shun Court (entrance at Haven Street).
InBetween, founded by two designers, amasses interesting items from 1950s posters to retro lamps and eyepieces designed in-house. It hosts mini-exhibitions for local artists in the shop or with other shops in the area.
Shop 12, Lei Shun Court, 1 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay; +852 9751 3644; inbetweenshop.com
Bunkaya Zakkaten is a popular Japanese store that sells an amazing amount of zakka, or variety goods.
11A Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay; +852 2808 0304; open daily noon-9 p.m.; www.facebook.com/bunkayazakkaten
Luddite has a thrilling mix of collectable clothing and interesting accessories. There's also wealth of blue-collar worker attire and military accessories.
15A Haven St., Causeway Bay; +852 2870 0422; open daily noon-9 p.m.; www.facebook.com/luddite1811
Hola Classic offers quality tailoring for men looking for the nostalgic style in their suits.
17A Haven St., Causeway Bay; +852 2870 0245; open daily noon-9 p.m.; www.facebook.com/HOLAclassic
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