If you’ve spent any time in Asia, you’ll know that shopping in most large Asian cities is ten times better than any American or European city – hands down. Even in Asia though, not all cities are created equal when it comes to shopping, some are better than others. In fact, these five Asian cities are the best in the world when it comes to shopping and I should know. I’ve shopped in all of them.
Bangkok, Thailand – Recently voted the #1 city in the world to shop in by members of TripConnect.com, Bangkok has everything. I’ve lived in Bangkok for six years and find, when I travel anywhere else, the shopping just isn’t remotely comparable. In Bangkok, you not only get variety and excellent quality but prices are cheap too. The best things to buy in Bangkok include Thai silk, gold, jewelry, clothing, Thai handicrafts, tailor-made clothing, shoes, DVDs and CDs, computer games, food and lots more. For the best places to shop try MBK Mall, Central World Plaza, Chatuchak Market, Pratunam and Bobae markets, and any street stall.
Hong Kong – I visited Hong Kong for the first time a couple of years ago and could immediately see why it is one of Asia’s top cities for shopping. Shopping in Hong Kong is wonderful and, as it’s much smaller than Bangkok, even though there isn’t the variety of Bangkok, it is easier to get around. In Hong Kong, look for unusual Chinese food and snacks, Chinese medicines, designer clothing (Hong Kong stores have amazing sales three or four times a year), electronics, purses, Japanese fashions, BAPE clothing, Chinese silks, Chinese art, household furnishings and high fashion. Best places to shop include Causeway Bay, SOHO, and Kowloon.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur is one of Asia’s top cities for shopping because of the shopping malls. Kuala Lumpur has the second best shopping malls (behind Bangkok) that I’ve ever seen. Great things to look for in Kuala Lumpur include t shirts, belts, computer games, DVDs and CDs, costume jewelry, books (has some of the best bookshops in SE Asia), designer brands, Malaysian handicrafts, batik, wood carvings, electronics and even cigarettes and liquor. Best places to shop in Kuala Lumpur include KLCC mall (underneath the famous Petronas Towers), Petaling Street in Chinatown for a huge night market, Sungei Wang Plaza and Berjaya Times Square (an absolutely enormous mall).
Singapore – Next to Bangkok, Singapore was the second city I ever shopped at in Asia. For Bangkok expats, Singapore is famous for English bookstores as, before Kinokuniya opened in Bangkok, Singapore was just about the only place that had huge English bookstores offering everything you could want. Singapore is also an excellent place to shop for clothes (designer brands and young fashions), as tiny boutiques are everywhere with one-of-a-kind clothing, and don’t forget to check out Orchard Road, Singapore’s most famous shopping area for up to date fashion. Also buy electronics, Oriental rugs, unique accessories, eyewear, fine arts, and Chinese handicrafts. Orchard Road is where everyone shops, but go to Centrepoint, Far East Plaza, and Tanglin Shopping Centre.
Tokyo – One of the best cities for shopping in Asia is Tokyo, especially if you’re really into Japanese design, like half of Asian teenagers are. Tokyo is the place for Japanese fashion (changes weekly, so there are always new trends), music, Japanese manga, Hello Kitty, Japanese snacks, electronics (computers and cameras are sold at lower prices than in many other Asian cities if you shop at the right place), kites, origami, pottery, kimonos, rice products, lacquer ware and Japanese handicrafts. The most amazing thing about Tokyo (and Japan) though is, no matter what you buy, it comes in the most beautifully packaging you’ve ever seen. Don’t miss the Shibuya area for fashion, Omotesando for international fashion and cute cafes, and the best place of all the 100 Yen Store. Everything in there is 100 yen (about $1) and you’ll find some of the coolest Japanese gadgets you’ve ever seen.
Asia is famous for shopping but these five Asian cities offer the top shopping venues in the world not just in Asia. You can’t beat Bangkok but the other four cities also have world-class shopping and, because of the Asian lifestyle, shopping areas are open longer than in the US and UK so you can shop almost any time you want to.