In a city as frenzied and fast-paced as Hong Kong, it’s hard to escape the feeling that somewhere just around the corner, you’re missing out on something incredible. It was that niggling feeling that first inspired menswear designers, Ellis Kreuger and Alex Daye, to start producing a Hong Kong city guide for their bespoke tailoring customers.
Since the pair arrived in the city from New York seven years ago, they’ve become almost as well known for their insider take on Hong Kong as for their hip menswear boutique, Moustache. Kreuger and Daye’s guidebook stands out from all the other guides because it’s a truly personal take on all of Hong Kong’s best bits; celebrating the grubby and the bizarre in the same sentence as the glossy and glitzy.
We couldn’t think of anyone better qualified to let us in on the top places to take your credit card for a whirl in one of Hong Kong’s hippest districts – take a look at their essential Kowloon shopping guide for some unique fashion finds.
Master Zee’s Shoes
This emporium of handmade shoes is a must on any Hong Kong shopping itinerary. Master Zee (who’s in his seventies) makes beautiful bespoke shoes and luggage for women and men and can work from a photo or a sketch.
Zee’s Leather Co., Shop 18, G/F, 5-6 Middle Road, Far East Mansion Arcade, Tsim Sha Tsui.
K11 Shopping Mall
Hong Kong has abundant shopping malls, but this art mall is a little different. Skewed to a younger audience, it houses not only major brands, but also lots of local designers and more offbeat offerings. Scattered around the mall you’ll find lots of art, for a shopping and culture fix in one.
K11 Shopping Mall, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
You probably know this behemoth from the Wong Kar Wai movie, the Chungking Express. The Mansions have recently had a bit of a clean up though, and aren’t at all dangerous or dingy anymore. Along with some of the best curries in town, you’ll find African fabrics, Indian trinkets, all kinds of cut-price electronics and a whole heap of other things that you had no idea you needed. Once you’re all shopped-out, pop across the road for high tea at the Peninsula Hotel to see Hong Kong at its schizophrenic best.
Chungking Mansions, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Prince Edward Flower Market
The Prince Edward Flower Market is a real joy. Even if you’re not buying, you can enjoy the heady fragrance and riotous colour of the stunning selection of blooms and plants.The bird and goldfish markets are also just around the corner, which make for a photographer’s paradise.
Ki Lung & Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po
These two streets and the surrounding area are the centre of the garment district. If you’re visiting a local tailor while in Hong Kong, shop for your fabric here. You’ll also find ribbons, buttons, beads and all the necessary trimmings to DIY any craft project imaginable.
The section of Shanghai Street from Jordan station down to Yau Ma Tei is home to incense stores and local Indian shops selling spices, henna and saris. Down in the section towards Yau Ma Tei are the best kitchenware stores in Hong Kong – stock-up on baking essentials, beautiful ceramics and chopsticks at a snip. The Public Square Street intersection leads you to the Broadway Cinematheque – Hong Kong’s only art house cinema – and the Kubrick Café & Bookstore.
Kung Sheung Cycle Company
A great bike shop that sells all you need to live the two-wheel life in Hong Kong. Best of all, they import the traditional Phoenix Bicycles from Shanghai. The bike brand, which has been in business since 1958, manufactures the bicycle of China. For less than US$100, you can take one of these beauties home yourself.
Kung Sheung Cycle Company, 39D Battery Street, Jordan.
And, after you’ve shopped”¦
Refresh and refuel with an iced milk tea and French toast at this Hong Kong institution. The fabulously old-school tilework and furniture have featured in many a film and photo shoot and although the Canto-Western cuisine may not be gourmet, a pit stop here is a quintessential Hong Kong experience.
Mido Café, 63 Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei.
Wander the Chinese walled garden and hang out with the flock of flamingos in this urban oasis in the heart of Kowloon. There’s also a great public swimming pool where you can catch some rays and take a dip.
Kowloon Park, 22 Austin Road.
The Hong Kong Museum of History
Take a side tour to this very kitschy monument to Hong Kong’s history. Starting with prehistoric diorama, it meanders through the evolution of Hong Kong via recreations of the 19th century waterfront, a Cantonese opera house and a room packed with 1960s fantastic plastic. Not to be missed!
The Hong Kong Museum of History, 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Still looking for more Hong Kong travel tips? The Fourth edition of the Moustache Guide to Hong Kong is available now. You can buy your bound copy in store, or simply download it for free from the Moustache website.
Virgin Atlantic operate daily, direct flights to Hong Kong from London Heathrow.
Do you have any insider’s tips to add to our Kowloon shopping guide? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Natalie Robinson