16 August 2016 - Causeway Bay, home to some of the highest paid rental spaces for retail in the world, is recognized as one of Hong Kong’s major shopping paradises. Within this paradise exists a unique ecosystem, primarily consisting of upscale retailers clustered around the large and grandiose malls that are sporadically scattered across the district. Malls such as: Times Square, Lee Theatre, and Hysan Place draw merchants and shoppers indiscriminately, like moths to a flame.
Though it is primarily a shopping haven, Causeway Bay is by no means a one-trick-pony, so to speak. With scenic getaways like the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, its abundance of Michelin starred restaurants, and doses of culture with the Noonday Gun ceremonies, Causeway Bay has ways of offering reprieve to both non-shoppers and fatigued shoppers alike.
If you want to know more about what Causeway Bay has to offer, read on for what we think are especially noteworthy attractions within the area.
When people think of Causeway Bay, one of the first places that comes to mind is Times Square. With its iconic clock tower situated right outside it, the mall is one of the most designated locations for people looking to meet up in the area. The open space around the clock tower is frequently used for open exhibitions, public performances, and buskers looking to make it big. As for the actual mall itself, it consists of 16 floors of upscale retailers and restaurants, and it is one of the very first megamalls in Hong Kong. With brands such as: Lane Crawford, Armani Exchange, Max Mara, and Hugo Boss making their home in Times Square, this ranks as one of Hong Kong’s best when it comes to shopping destinations.
The fact that it houses an Apple store is enough of a solid argument for the case that Times Square, as large and well established as it is, is by no means the only noteworthy shopping destination in Causeway Bay. Hysan Place shares the same “easy-to-recognize” attribute as Times Square with its relatively unique architectural design, with multiple escalators attached to the sides of the building in a way that’s very much akin to badges on a Boy Scout (haphazard and everywhere!). Boasting 17 shopping floors, along with a food court and a rooftop bar for those who need a break from shopping, the mall itself is replete with many attractions that aim to distinguish itself from nearby competition, including a bookstore that occupies floors 8 through 10 (the Eslite Bookstore).
Unsurprisingly, Lee Theatre historically had its beginnings operating as a theatre rather than as the shopping mall it is today. This transition happened in the 90s and it has been a shopping center ever since. Though its halls are not replete with luxury brands, that by no means diminishes its value as a shopping destination. Shoppers curious enough to venture into Lee Theatre will find that what it lacks in upscale fashion retailers, it makes up for in spades with its unspoken yet pervasive theme of Korean and Japanese fashion and goods. With brands from Japan’s UNIQLO to the Korean boutique ALAND, Lee Theatre offers very solid options for those pining for the fashion of the Far East.
SOGO Hong Kong
So big that there are two malls touting the same name, Causeway Bay’s SOGO was the first of the two stores to be established in Hong Kong in 1985. SOGO Hong Kong itself claims that the SOGO mall holds the current record for the largest Japanese-style department store in Hong Kong, boasting dimensions of 400,000 square feet. The mall has become almost synonymous with “Japanese-style” goods, and makes for a hotspot for the resident Japanophile.
Of course, no list regarding Hong Kong shopping destinations is truly complete without mentioning a street market. Located outside of Hysan Place, Jardine’s Crescent is a ladies market that offers a slice of the traditional Hong Kong shopping experience that many may rightfully feel is absent from the aforementioned modern malls; open-air stalls, the sounds of housewives haggling and bargaining piercing the air around you, cheap merchandise, and playing the little game of discerning which goods are counterfeit products and which are domestically produced merchandise. Whilst these traditional shopping locations have mostly given way to the newer malls that have sprung up throughout the city, for many, these bazaars bring about a sense of nostalgia and cultural pride. In a city inundated with multicultural influences, few things ring true of being uniquely Hong Kong.
Michelin Starred Restaurants
In the almost miraculous event that none of the previously mentioned malls had anything that particularly stuck your fancy, there are alternative ways to tease your money out of your wallet. When we think Michelin, we think of French cuisine. And how are we to blame? The guide was conceived by a French company. Furthermore, if we were to jump on to a particular train of thought that others have espoused, if there was indeed a particular prejudicial bias in favor of French cuisine by Michelin, then perhaps one would be of the notion that any Michelin starred restaurant in Hong Kong is but a place for Francophiles and those looking for the bragging rights; a restaurant that is wholly out of touch with the way that most Hong Kongers approach and eat their food. Why, then, would one participate in such an exercise, to eat in an expensive restaurant that pays no mind nor respect to our regional culture and heritage?
Thankfully, this perception is hyperbolic at best. Hong Kong has a slew of Michelin starred restaurants whose menus span and represent many cultures in addition to that of the French. In Causeway Bay alone there are a sizeable number of local, Japanese, and Western styled restaurants that have made it to the status coveted by ambitious chefs worldwide. To take a more in-depth look for yourself, click here to see where in Causeway Bay you can find places where food transcends into an art form.
The Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter and the Noonday Gun
Home to a menagerie of yachts and boat dwellers, the typhoon shelter has made its name not for the functional purpose that it provides, but rather its location as a scenic seaside breathing space away from the sometimes overwhelming business endemic not just to Causeway Bay, but Hong Kong overall. Located in the near vicinity of the shelter is the Noonday Gun, a tourist attraction whose function is rather self-explanatory. Fired at noon by the company Jardine Matheson, the daily event never fails to attract a small crowd of curious tourists and locals alike.
Ready yourselves, shoppers. If you are looking to conquer Causeway Bay, you have set yourself quite the task. We hope that this article narrowed down your list to something more manageable, all the best in your shopping!