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Winner: Hong Kong
It was a close-run vote with Tokyo, but hometown pride won out for Marco Polo Club members. People have long flocked to Hong Kong to shop, whether for luxury fashion, electronics or antiques. And with a growing independent scene coupled with thriving traditional markets, it remains a shoppers’ hotspot.
‘It may not boast the cut-price deals on tech it once did, but Hong Kong’s shopping has broadened out to encompass some amazing home-grown brands as well as the global labels.’ – Adam White, group editor of Cathay’s inflight magazines, and part of our panel of travel experts.
Leading international labels, sprawling malls, independent boutiques, markets for everything from antiques to fabrics, pearls to quirky souvenirs, Shanghai and shopping go hand in hand.
From luxury brand shopping in Ginza and artisan crafts in Asakusa, to independent design in Kuramae, Shibuya’s youth fashion and Omote-sando’s hip design, Tokyo has it all and more.
Not only is Bangkok home to malls that range from bargain-friendly to high-end, but the Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the world’s largest markets selling everything you didn’t know you needed.
Some go for the electronics, others for antiques, arts and crafts, apparel or accessories; many home in on the beauty products. Whatever your retail calling to Seoul, there’s something for everyone.
The handicraft skills of Laos’s artisans make the ancient city of Luang Prabang a paradise for shoppers in search of something distinctive. Handmade arts and craft pieces, textiles and jewellery are among the standout items for shoppers to choose from.
Osaka has shopping to rival Tokyo’s with districts dedicated to youth fashion, sophisticated shoppers, and electronics aficionados, among others. It’s also home to Japan’s longest shopping arcade, and department store flagships including Takashimaya.
From the old town to the casinos, Macao’s shops run the gamut with locally designed homeware and fashion, antiques, reproduction Chinese furniture, traditional food items and clothing and cosmetics brands from high-street and high-end labels.
Chengdu’s status as a hub for creativity makes it one of China’s coolest cities for shopping, with boutiques by local designers interspersed amongst international brands, and local highlights ranging from Shu brocade and embroidery to ceramics and lacquerware.
Home to Orchard Road, one of Asia’s most famous shopping streets complete with a multitude of malls, Singapore also has distinctive retail districts like quirky Chinatown, colourful Little India, hip Haji Lane and diverse Bugis Street Market.