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Shop Away at Hong Kong’s Stanley Market

October 15th, 2010 by

Hong Kong is full of incomparable delights around each and every corner. One must simply know where to look. Of course, there are the usual malls and roadside stalls that sell all manner of knick-knacks. But if one is game to go a bit further, superb Stanley Market awaits.

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Stanley is a lovely peninsula town in southeast Hong Kong.  While light years in appearance from the brilliant skylines of Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui, the Repulse Bay point of interest is easily accessible from Kowloon or Central. As a result, Stanley is a favorite stop for visitors and locals in the know.

While Stanley’s two beaches and tidy ensemble of historic landmarks draw perpetual interest, the town’s famous Market is by far the most popular draw. Visitors to Hong Kong can reach the open-air street market via myriad means.

For the budget conscious, catch buses 6, 6A, 6X, or 260 in Central at Exchange Square terminus.  Bus 260 conveniently stops in front of Pacific Place.  Commuters from Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon can take bus 973 from Mody Road.

Another inexpensive mode of transport to Stanley is via MTR from Chai Wan Station Exit C.  From here, it is easy to catch green mini-bus 16M directly to Stanley Market.  Those who have a bit more money to spare can simply hail a taxi from any hotel in Hong Kong and ask the driver to head to Stanley.

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The trip, which can take about 30 to 40 minutes, is an adventure in itself, complete with sharp curves and  twists in the road.  Travelers surely welcome the change in scenery as they depart the business end of the city and enter the waterfront peninsula.

Stanley Market is basically a small marketplace in the traditional mold of others in East and Southeast Asia.  The fact that it exists on the breezy and sunny side of Hong Kong Island however, sets it apart from others.  People flock here to enjoy Stanley’s relaxed atmosphere and most importantly, to take advantage of crazy rock-bottom deals on bags, luggage, footwear, clothing, and assorted accessories. Apparently, a lot of items are sold in the shops at extremely low prices not offered anywhere else.  Of course, negotiation is part of the experience and a great day at the market depends largely on how well one can haggle.

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In addition to garments, there are also shops that sell all sorts of souvenirs; from embroidered fabrics to framed Chinese art, beaded products, to delicate handicrafts.  There are numerous treasures to uncover such as intricate jewelry and decorations for the home.  My personal favorite would have to be the name stamps.  Stamp makers offer to translate names to Chinese characters and prepare a personalized stamp complete with pad and red ink.

As with any purchase, it is important to ensure that all goods are in tip-top shape prior to purchase.  Stalls here do not accept goods for return or exchange.  Remember to double-check for uneven hemlines or stains on garments.  Electronics should be tested before handing over any money.

I prefer to visit Stanley Market in the morning when it is not so hot and humid. Browsing through the various stalls can take about half a day, with a stop for lunch.  From here, I usually move on to nearby tourist spots like Aberdeen and sample scrumptious Cantonese cuisine.

The shops at Stanley Market are open daily from 10:00 a.m to 6:30 p.m.

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