Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hong Kong: Fabric Shopping & Travel Musings

This post marks my last (finally! Sorry for drawing it out, I didn't have the energy to make one gigantic post) Hong Kong travel installment.  If interested, here are the other posts:
Aside from the food, I was most excited about the prospect of fabric shopping in Hong Kong.  After finding this useful post from Traveller's Yarn, I knew to check out Ki Lung Street in Sham Shui Po for good bargains.

Finds from Ki Lung Street in Sham Shui Po

Fabric swatches galore in Sham Shui Po

Where we were - we also noted some street markets in the vicinity selling similar wares as the Ladies Market, but at more competitive pricing.

Recommended by my Aunts, we also visited the Western Market in Central for higher end silks and brocades:
Western Market in Central

Since I'm still not crazy confident in my sewing skills, I wound up buying a little brocade but did not purchase any silks.

Scenic Pics:
 Tsim Sha Tsui on a gloomy day

 Central (or Sheung Wan - I can't remember)

Hung Hom

The rest of this will be a very wordy post, so please feel free to skip :)

HK Preparation
Almost every major decision in my life has been researched first on Google - house hunting, car buying / selling, travel, etc.  It goes without saying that many little things are also Googled first - where to eat, what to do in X, where to find X.  We had originally planned on visiting Hong Kong around my birthday in October.  How apropos would it be to visit your birthplace on your birthday?  My mother has always planned our Asia trips with a travel agent and I wanted to do a pulse-check to see if that was still the best / most economical way to travel.  So I tapped the shoulders of fellow Asia-travel enthusiasts Elle, Cee, and Jean, and found none had gone the travel agency route.  (To appease Mom, I also checked with several travel agents and the prices were the same or slightly higher.  I *think* if you were planning a multi-country trip, the prices might be better.)

I first did some Kayak research which essentially told me October was a semi-pricey time to travel, but March / April had some good deals.  I was excited to see that Singapore Airlines (have always heard such good things about them) had a direct flight from SFO to HKG and went on their website to find out more about their flight "amenities".  To my surprise, the prices on their website were over $100 cheaper than quoted on Kayak!  A bonus was that the A380 also offered bassinets for children under age 2 - perfect for Baby E.

The Flight
Even with 2 little ones, our flights (both redeyes to take advantage of sleepy children) went pretty smoothly.  Our son either slept, watched the bevy of in-flight entertainment options (so many movies and programming!), or played with the iPad.  Our daughter slept for small snippets and had some cranky moments, but we tried our best in entertaining her with family photos / videos and snacks.  Often lauded, the service, food, and options of Singapore Airlines really did live up to the hype.  If given the choice, this will be our go-to HK airline from now on.

In Hong Kong
HK is not much of a morning person.  Most shops do not open until noon-ish, but there are plenty of yummy breakfast places to occupy your time (mostly open at 7 am).  Our daily schedule consisted of cha chaan teng breakfast - nap - lunch - sightseeing - nap/swim w/ the kids - dinner.

I gave up trying to look cute after Day 1 in favor of my running shoes, cropped pants, and loose, flowy tops with a scarf and cardigan at the ready for heavily air conditioned malls / eateries.

Fashion-wise, it appeared as though there were 2 general style populations - those that were uber casual (Converse sneakers, skinny pants, flowy tops, little to no makeup) and those that were willing to suffer for fashion (sky high heels, short and/or body con dresses, very made up).  I quickly fell into the casual one and was thankful I could travel in comfort without looking too touristy.  The amount of walking we did helped offset the mass amounts of food we consumed.  It was that much walking and that much sweating (humid high 80s)!

If you plan on traveling to HK or a similar destination, I would highly recommend the following:
  • Look for hotels within an easy walking distance from the MTR (mass transit rail)
  • Take a little time to map out where you'll be spending your time and where you'll be staying.  You wouldn't want to stay in Tung Chung if you're planning on spending the majority of your time in Kowloon Bay (opposite sides, multiple transfers).
  • Bring your most comfortable shoes
  • Bring weather-appropriate garments (read: hot weather), but also a jacket and scarf.  The temperature indoors is a stark contrast to the heat outdoors.  Garments with pockets are a plus!
  • Be wary of pickpockets when it comes to your wallet / purse.  I wore my crossbody bag in front of me.  Seeing people with backpacks worn in front is a common occurrence.
  • Many hotels now supply you with a converter.  Check if this is offered before you buy one.
  • If you have small children, bring a small, lightweight stroller that can recline.  Between the jet lag and all the walking, they spent a good portion of the day zonked out in the stroller.
  • Bring small "fresh" (either ones they haven't played with in a while or new ones) toys to occupy the children on the plane
Looking forward to going back in a few years!


  1. You're pictures look amazing. Those recommendations seem really helpful, esp the one about wearing comfortable shoes. I know this but every time i travel, I always choose cute over comfort. =\

  2. I've never been. When ever I go to Asia, I always go back to my parents hometowns. And even then, I shop at the same places I've shopped at for the last 20 years or so. I want to visit HK and Taiwan!

    7% Solution​

  3. The Hung Hom picture is especially cool!

    Interesting tip about bringing "fresh" toys for the kids! You just reminded me that I need to look for a new pair of walking shoes for Seattle.

  4. i've been to hong kong, but it's been yearsss... i would love to go back there sometime soon! :D

    <3, Mimi

  5. Brings me back to when I visited HK with my hubs. It's his birthplace too! We went after CNY thinking it'd be chilly but it was so hot and I only bought thin sweaters so I was sweaty and bloated in all of my photos :(. But then the evenings were chilly, so....good job on thinking layers, S! Looks like you had a great time shopping for fabrics, the kids were well behaved (yay!) and it was pretty relaxing too. Even got a nap in? Wow!

  6. You have an awesome blog, would you like to follow each other on BLOGLOVIN? Please let me know if you decided to follow me, so I can follow you back! thank you xoxo

  7. Sounds like you had a great time! My aunt lives in HK, in Discovery Bay? I have heard such good things about the fabric shopping there, if I ever visit my aunt I'll have to get her to take me.

    1. Yes, definitely go fabric shopping and come back please if you find anything noteworthy! :)

  8. WOW! gorgeous pictures! and thanks for the tips! I'd love to go there someday!


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