Tag Archives: Shopping

We Love to Shop – Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong

By Lakshmi:

Shopping – the very mention of that term gets a lot of women very excited.  Therefore it should come as no surprise that shopping is a much loved activity during our sojourns in Hong Kong.  While we span the gamut of stores from the huge shopping malls such as the Harbor City Mall, to chains such as Bossini, Giordanos, etc, the Temple Street Night Market is just one of those special brand “Hong Kong” shopping experiences.

As the name suggests, the Temple Street Night Market comes alive each night at Temple Street.  Time Magazine describes the market as, “looks like every B-movie director’s dream of Chinatown”.  Small stalls overflow with merchandise ranging from suitcases, handbags, trinkets, electronics, knock off CD’s/DVD’s, paintings, artwork and gimmicky home fixtures such as a giant toothpaste shaped toilet paper dispenser.

We usually go after sunset, starting at Jordan Road, finishing many hours later…the ritual always the same; take a walk down to see what is available, bargain, walk away and then come back to scoop up our purchases.   Here are some of our collective favorite experiences:

  • People watching as locals and tourists converge to have noodles and beer in small roadside stands/restuarants with outdoor seating.
  • Going to the same backpack vendor each year to buy really rugged khaki backpacks.  We sure have a collection going!
  • Buying a suitcase after much haggling to bring home our finds.
  • Buying some absolutely gorgeous oil paintings signed by an unknown artist, including one of TinTin.
  • Drooling over all the bags, realizing that I am going to have to restrict myself to three at most.
  • Getting funky tshirts that seem to last forever no matter how much you abuse them at home.
  • Buying the funkiest slippers, including ones that resembled mushrooms from Super Mario Brothers.
  • Bringing home gag gifts of toilet roll dispensers that take on the look of everyday objects…toothpaste, toilets, soaps, etc.

Most of all, beyond our finds, it is the feeling with which we leave the market that is priceless.  Coming back to a favorite place, finding comfort in knowing it and yet discovering new things, fulfilling a favorite pastime called shopping and of course feeling like we can’t wait till we are back next year.

Going Up to the Peak in Hong Kong – Takes our Breath Away Every Time

The Peak, Hong Kong

By Lakshmi:

Ask any visitor to Hong Kong what he/she must do before they leave the city and two attractions are bound to feature on the list – The Star Ferry and The Peak.  The Peak is the highest mountain on HongKong Island.  Many a travel article have waxed eloquencies on the entire Peak experience and it is featured on the famous list of 1,000 places to see before you die.

Our first foray to The Peak was over a decade ago when we did the must-do tram ride from Central.  This funicular railway has been in place for over a century and transports passengers from the base of Central to the top of the mountain.  As we went up, we marveled at the skyscrapers that appeared to lean as we zipped by.  And when we got to the top on a clear day, we were taken aback by the absolutely breathtaking 360 degree vistas from the top.  While there are many places in the world that offer beautiful views from a high point, Hong Kong sure had the jewel in the crown.

Like many a tourist, we crossed it off our bucket list and went back down.  The next time I was in Hong Kong, we celebrated a very successful business trip by cabbing to the peak close to midnight for dinner.  The night time views of a city that never sleeps coupled with the superb food made for a moment of tremendous joy and gratitude.

For many years now, Hong Kong has become an annual pilgrimage for the Paupers.  And The Peak is a must do on our list, now elevated to the status of a half day or day long excursion.  We take the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Central and then take front seats on the upper deck of the 15c bus that slowly transports us to the top.  We look at the store fronts in Central, survey the new additions or restaurants we must add to our list, smile as we pass the now familiar Gurudwara as the bus takes hair pin turns weaving its way to the top.  We  absorb the locals boarding the bus, the nannies and chauffers taking kids to school, children playing outside and of course the apartment complexes and homes that house Hong Kong’s wealthiest in some of the toniest, most expensive real estate in the world.  All this happens while we admire the absolutely gorgeous collage created by the ascending peak, the harbor, the skyscrapers, and the people.

Once at The Peak, our first order of business is always to pay obeyance to the views from the top.  The next several hours are spent eating and shopping!  We fuel ourselves with a good cup of capuccino and then invariably end up at the same stores every year that we simply know as our favorites.  Baleno for t-shirts and sweatshirts, a small store with the quirkiest tech accessories, a handbag store run by a woman who knows we will walk away with at least a couple of collage handbags of beautiful places and people, and of course the home decor store for one more piece to add to our collection.

Several hours later, as we walk out debating whether to bus or cab it down, the song “You Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun plays in my head.  Yes, without a doubt, The Peak does this to me each year.

To learn more about The Peak, click here: