Shopping in Hong Kong...2007
Another really wonderful place
to go bead shopping if you want a change from Europe is Hong
Kong the shopping jewel of Asia.
View of Hong Kong island from
pearl building (see pearls in
Hong Kong was a British Colony that returned to China in 1997
as a special economic region which means capitalism will
continue unabated for the next 50 years. Communicating is no
problem as English is widely spoken, especially in the tourist
areas, and most good restaurants have English language menus.
As for beads, the place to be is on the Kowloon peninsula,
which is the residential district of Hong Kong, and home to most
of Hong Kongs teeming millions.
The pearl District is located in Tsim Sha Tsui, a 6 block
area bordered on by Chatham Rd, Nathan Rd, Cameron Rd and the
water front/Salisbury Road.
You will fly into the large International Airport and catch
a shuttle bus or taxi into Kowloon. Most of the good hotels are
on Nathan Road, which is conveniently located to the Jade market,
Tsim Sha Tsui , Hung Hom district and the button and trim district
which is located in the New Territories.
Walk down Nathan Road towards
Cameron Road, passing hotels, shops, McDonalds and Starbucks
by the dozens, constantly being solicited by Indians offering
you tailor made custom suits, shirts, leather jackets, shoes,
or a referral into a massage parlor or restaurant hidden down
an alley or tucked away on the 5th floor of a building you would
never find by yourself, until you come to the pearl District,
Tsim Sha Tsui. There you will find tall sky scrapers filled on
almost every level with pearl showrooms stuffed with millions
of dollars of pearls, ranging from 1mm seed pearls to keishi
pearls, stick pearls, baroque, South Sea pearls, Tahitians, cultured,
freshwater, even glass faux pearls. If you cant find it
in Tsim Sha Tsui, maybe it doesnt exist. For the most part,
you dont need an appointment to get in the front door of
the showroom, just a business card and an interest in pearls.
Once inside, you will be overwhelmed with sacks of pearls from
floor to ceiling, stacked on top of each other, or on shelves
People will be sorting and grading
pearls, filling orders, telephones will be ringing off the hook,
people taking orders, running around with armfuls of pearls,
customers digging in sacks of pearls at tables, on the floor,
suitcases on wheels everywhere for transportation of purchases
back to hotel rooms for later shipment back home. Chaos? Sure.
Fun? Better than a barrel full of monkeys. Exhausted by the end
of the day? Yeah, but then there is the best Chinese food in
the world waiting for you to taste and sample. Or Japanese sushi,
or Indian, or Thai
..Aaah! (look for the white table cloths
on tables and you will know you found an excellent restaurant).
If its stone beads you are looking
for, then the Hung Hom District is the place for you. Just a
short taxi drive away, the Hung Hom District is home to hundreds
of stone bead showrooms just like the pearl district. Some of
the stone showrooms are a bit stand offish to allow you entry.
You may have to explain what you are looking for in order to
start shopping. Because of limited space, Hong Kong is a vertical
city, with tall building everywhere. Just enter any building
and browse the lobby directory to find any number of manufacturers
showrooms for stone beads, silver findings, jewelry
Artist with J-ME and Guy - Temple Market
Hung Hom District Kowloon.
Most of the stone and pearl dealers will accept credit cards
for payment, of course all will accept cash (US dollars) some
will accept business checks, and if you are planning to ship
your beads home instead of carrying them home in your suitcase
then they all will accept wire transfers from your bank to theirs.
A few will accept travelers checks (but getting less all the
Nothing is produced in Hong Kong
it is the sales capital of Asia. All the factories for
pearls and stone beads are across the border in Shenzen and Ghangzhou
which require a tourist visa ahead of time to be able to enter
If it is buttons and /or fabric and trim you are looking for
, then the Sham Shui Po District is definitely for you. It is
located in the New Territories just a short taxi drive away from
down town Kowloon.
Sham Shui Po district
10 Blocks of button/fabric/trim shops, the Sham Shui Po district
is a wonderland of mother of pearl buttons, metal buttons, lace,
trim, fabric, fur, silk
you name it. You will do a lot
of bargaining in this area.
Two blocks off Nathan Road is Temple Street in the
morning it becomes a busy farmers market, with street vendors
hawking everything grown under the sun, fruit, vegetables, live
animals, fowl, dead animals, sea creatures, some unidentifiable,
some very scary looking. Pavement restaurants are open and doing
a fine business. The street is packed.
And then round 5pm, Temple Street transforms itself into a
flea market with junky Chinese toys, clothes, paintings, dust
collectors, trinkets, things you cant do without, stuff
you dont want, and at one end near the Jade Market all
the arts and craft dealers with hand made artwork and carvings.
The street becomes so packed you cant walk. Pavement restaurants
are open and doing a phenomenal business.
It turns out that apartments in
Hong Kong are so small no one invites friends home to entertain,
they all go out to eat and socialize. Better restaurants are
inside buildings, and because Hong Kong residents love fresh
seafood, most restaurants have aquariums in their lobbies filled
with live lobsters, prawns, tropical fish, which they catch and
cook as the orders are placed from the customers at the tables.
The Jade Market is next to Temple Street, 2 blocks off from
Nathan Road at its northern end. It is several buildings filled
with vendors and dealers of mostly jade merchandise ranging from
tea sets, crockery, jewelry, statues, knick knacks and other
assorted goodies. It is a retail market, but wholesale is available
and good negotiations on prices make for a fun day of buying
and haggling for unique items.
Other than beads, Hong Kong is a fun, exciting city to visit
and shop in (especially for clothing). It is tax free, and prices
range from cheap to very expensive.
Spend a day being a tourist take a bus ride north through
the New Territories to a fishing village, right up to the Chinese
border, visit a Buddhist Temple, see the worlds largest Buddhist
statue, take the cable car up Victoria Peak for an amazing view
of Hong Kongs financial district on Hong Kong Island and
Kowloon Peninsula, enjoy the wonderfully friendly people who
live here. (If you want to talk to a stranger, just stand on
a street corner and open a street map. Some one will almost immediately
offer to help you.) Hong Kong is a safe city to visit. It is
a late night city too, with crowded streets of people all talking
on cell phones. You will probably be the tallest person you see.
And if this isnt enough
for you, Hong Kong hosts one of the largest trade shows in the
world in September in the Hong Kong Convention Center in down
town Kowloon. Venders from all over Asia attend this show, and
customers from all over the world attend to buy.
Enjoy, and see you there.
J-ME with some of our beautiful
Wild Things Beads is a small Family owned and run American
importer of glass beads and buttons from the Czech Republic,
precious and semi precious stone beads from India and China,
and pearls. They are situated deep in the Sierra Nevada mountains
of Northern California, and can be reached by phone at (530)743
1339 or on the web at www.wildthingsbeads.com. Their warehouse
is available by appointment only.