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Harbour City Hong Kong
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrHarbour City is Hong Kong’s largest shopping complex and considered by many to be a holiday destination in its own right. It stretches for nearly a whole kilometer along the Kowloon waterfront and comprises over 450 retail outlets, 50 restaurants and cafés, three hotels and two cinema complexes. For shopaholics, this is by far one of the most enticing attractions in the entire city.
Where You’ll Find ItIn Tsim Sha Tsu district, sitting snugly on the eastern bay of Kowloon, between the Avenue of Stars and the western part of Kowloon Bay.
A Bit of HistoryHarbour City is the name given to the wharf area which formerly held the Star Ferry pier and was the busiest trading port in the city during colonial times. Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong , used to only cater for passenger and cargo ships, until it was expanded to include extensive retail space in the mid-1960s to cater for the needs of sailing travelers. At the time of construction, it was the largest shopping mall in Hong Kong with over 100 stores. Although the terminal has been the main docking point for cruise liners for almost half a century, it is set to take a back seat in coming years. Its 50-year-old construction has not been able to meet with astronomically growing demand, and a much larger overseas' passenger terminal has been built to facilitate access to Hong Kong.
The newly built Kai Tak Cruise Terminal , only a few kilometers to the east (on Kowloon Bay proper) has been specifically constructed to lure some of the world’s largest cruise liners, attesting to the fact that Hong Kong, and Asia in general, is set to become the world’s most sought-after cruising destination.
Yet the future for Ocean Terminal looks as bright as ever. Now that it is part of the rebranded Harbour City, it is renowned as a shopping destination first and foremost, offering visitors an incredible opportunity to indulge in high-end shopping and dining.
Harbour City Shopping EmporiumStepping into Harbour City may seem a little overwhelming at first, as the entire complex is essentially a collection of four distinct shopping malls: Ocean Terminal, Ocean City, Gateway Arcade and Marco Polo Hotel Arcade, although it’s near impossible to ascertain where one ends and another begins. Much effort has gone into the grouping of boutique styles and each section is color-coded, so ascertaining which parts you will likely be interested in is relatively easy. There are info desks at every possible entrance, so make sure you grab a colored map as soon as you arrive. You’ll also no doubt come across staff members whose sole job is to help tourists who get hopelessly lost, so don’t forget to take full advantage of their friendly service.
The main shopping sections are divided into: fashion (clothing and accessories), electronics, beauty and skin care, jewelry and home furnishings. Considering the size of the mall, there aren't nearly as many eateries as one would expect, yet the quality of the food served certainly makes up for the (lack of) quantity of establishments.
The only section which is particularly unique is Ocean Terminal, which is the only one set along the water’s edge on two sides.
What You’ll Find at Ocean TerminalThe terminal building comprises five floors, three of which are solely for retail. The top two is where you’ll find an array of great eateries, cafés, bars, all offering fantastic views over the extensive harbor. The shops on the first three levels in Ocean Terminal are still geared to cater for the needs of passing cruise passengers, so here you’ll find mostly mid-range fashion and accessories, along with a plethora of souvenir shops. The ground floor of Ocean Terminal is where you’ll find Hong Kong’s ToysRUs as well as a plethora of kid’s boutiques including Stella McCartney’s latest flagship store. Sporting and casual gear is found on the first floor, while the second is an LCX-monobrand store, a Chinese brand favored by hip and trendy local teenagers.
The main section of Harbour City, and by far the most popular, is that dedicated to haute couture and designer gear; name a famous designer and chances are you’ll find his/her boutique here. YSL, Ferragamo; Versace, Ralph Lauren; Burberry, Prada and many more of the world’s top designers are all represented here. It should be noted that although you will find the latest collections, they will likely cost much more than they do in Europe, unless you travel to Hong Kong during the sales. The city has two sale periods: winter sales are on from late December to February, and summer sales are on from July to September. It should also be noted that this shopping mecca is insanely popular with mainland Chinese, who flock here by the busloads (quite literally) to shop until they drop. At the most popular time of day (between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) don’t be surprised to see queues emerging from the most popular stores. Just a single afternoon here may leave you gobsmacked at the sheer magnetic pull of consumerism en masse. Visiting at this time is not for the faint-hearted but if you’re a shopper with a purpose then you’ll no doubt be able to plough through the masses.
How to Get ThereBy ferry: if you’re coming the to harbor on the Star Ferry, you’ll find the southern entrance a merely two minutes’ walk away.
By MTR : get off at East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, take the L6 exit and walk right along Salisbury Road until you reach the water, the Ocean Terminal will be on the RHS. If you take the L5 exit, you’ll come out at Peking Road, in which case you can simply walk in a westerly direction, until you come face to face with Louis Vuitton.
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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Jan 27, 2015