In Today’s world we can find anything and everything and to make life more convenient we can even have our purchases sent to our door via the web. We can find goods from all over the world that is shipped via the E-bay or Amazon in the blink of an eye. It may lack the romanticism of patiently scouring antique stores, fashion racks or record shops but it is convenient. It also creates a conundrum for our travels. We want to bring back trinkets that are special and remind us of our journey. But what, how and which items are unique and not readily available online?
Relax, here is my top list on what I look for and where.
It has become a very expensive city but there are still some star buys. It’s worthwhile to always hit Temple Street and the Ladies Market to get great priced silk pjamas. Silk Sheets and cotton are also a great buy here. Just check the sizes are right for your bed. Pearls are still a good price in Hong Kong, just make sure that you find a reliable source. Rio Pearl on Mody Road may not be the cheapest but you will not over pay.
Luxury goods imported from Europe are a no. There’s way too high tax here and that prices the bags or fashions ourt of being worthwhile. It’s only for the Hong Kong locals who only pay 15% income tax that can afford those kind of taxes. Bespoke shirts and suits made to order are however VERY worthwhile. Hong Kong is still the best place in the world for bespoke tailoring. Sammy Tailor on Mody Road is my pick.
Shanghai Tang is like the Hong Kong Gucci with nice designs and great quality products. I always recommend that you look for sale periods or the outlet store at HKIA in Terminal 2 landside. Great home goods, fragrances and Asian inspired clothes. Meanwhile Giordano is local inexpensive clothing for men, woman and children that often has worthwhile items at a very reasonable price.
Bangkok’s iconic brand Jim Thompson is the local designer of choice for very many travelers. The clothes are not always that easiest to wear back home but home fashions are fantastic . Silk Pillow covers and scarves are a must and there is even an outlet far across town on Sukhumvit Road that is a must visit.
Knock offs, counterfeit merchandise and designer brand copies are taboo I know but it’s worthwhile explaining to the uninitiated that there are two types of markets in Bangkok which sell these types of wares. The Pat Pong Market on the street level is all about cheap fakes that fall apart and are very poorly designed. However if you go upstairs to the shops you’ll see the AAA quality bags. From the latest designs hot off the press to old classics, you can find Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and more. Just be sensible and get a bag or two and call it a day. Don’t bring many counterfeits through customs as they will not be happy. And you really are doing everyone a disservice.
Jewelry is very good in Thailand as much of what is sold here is actually made here. A lot of the Sapphires and Rubies in the world’s supply are mined in Thailand. Just find a reliable source. The Thais work very well in silver too and you will find wonderful designs. Check out Praise Gems opposite the Shangri-La and tell Lertchai I sent you. He gives great product and great prices. Herbs and spices are also a good find. Just keep them in a separate bag to check in so nothing spills.
Italy is a dream of luxury brands and local leather. The Italians have great style and love good quality. The fashion is still not as comparitivly cheap as it was when I grew up, but go to the daily street market for brilliant leather and sheepskin goods, such as coats and jackets. The top brands of the world are also near enough to the best price in the world to make them a buy in Italy. Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo and Fend all boast wonderful stores and have their entire selection on display. Most even have outlets a little further out of town. Simply book a car and spend the day sightseeing, shopping and saving.
Everything in the USA is well priced. Living here for almost 10 years, I find everything I want at almost the best prices anywhere in the world. Stores in the USA do not do the European twice yearly sale so be prepared to find deals every day. Brands like Ambercombie and Fitch, Holister, Gap, Banana Republic , Limited, Guess and Rock and Republic are all just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the vast array of companies selling here. Most of the larger US brands are 30% cheaper than in Europe and Asia before any discount so when you see the sale racks, jump on the deals.
For travelers coming Stateside simply bring an empty suitcase to the USA as it is a shopper’s paradise. The department stores are great tin New York and don’t miss the brilliant discount outlet department store near Wall Street called Century City. It has worldwide brands, all discounted heavily. For the serious shopper go to Woodbury commons in upstate NY. Buses go from Penn Station and there are outlets such as Prada and Gucci. Electronics are also a steel in the USA, Just make sure they work on your home system before you purchase.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.