Top 10 Asian cities for shopping
This article initially appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald
It's official: Hong Kong is the hottest shopping neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region.
"The food, the shopping, the views, the energy, the noise, the waterways - HK's alive and buzzing 24/7," says design tracker Anne-Maree Sargeant, on our panel of shopping experts who share their secret haunts and favourite hot spots in the region's top 10 shopping cities, according to a Global Shopper survey (globeshopperindex.com).
The cities were chosen based on their visitor numbers - Sydney is the only Australian city to make the list - and each city was marked out of 100 based on its affordability, shops, convenience, hotels, transport, climate and culture.
1. Hong Kong, 69/100
The insider: Art and design journalist and hunter Anne-Maree Sargeant (thesnapassembly.com).
What's hot: Best in show for its fashion, electronics, watches and jewellery. 83/100 for the shops.
What's not: Pricey hotels that are permanently booked out. 58/100 for retail affordability.
The address book: Hit Cat Street Gallery for emerging and mid-career artists (thecatstreetgallery.com) and the inaugural Hong Kong art fair (May 23- 26, 2013), run by the hugely influential new owners Art Basel and Design Miami (hongkongartfair.com). Stylish superstore Lane Crawford is stacked with luxury brands and designer offerings. Check the capsule store featuring furniture and lighting from favourite Brit designer Lee Broom (lanecrawford.com). Get your fix of Harvey Nicks at The Landmark, the Asian Harvey Nichols flagship store for revered luxury and designer offerings (blog.harveynichols.com.hk). Monocle Shop is the first of a new "retail/news" concept for British style tome Monocle (shop.monocle.com).
Staying there: The 117-room Upper House hotel, designed by architect Andre Fu, sits above Pacific Place Shopping Mall, Admiralty, Hong Kong Island (upperhouse.com).
More info discoverhongkong.com/au.
2. Kuala Lumpur, 65/100
The insider: Belinda Jackson, travel writer and former international shopping columnist.
What's hot: Low prices in great malls and off-the-scale seasonal sales. 76/100 for shops.
What's not: Sticky climate and few attractions. 50/100 for climate and culture.
The address book: Malaysians do shoes, led by the master, Jimmy Choo, in luxe mall Suria KLCC (jimmychoo.com). The new Choo is said to be Lewre Lew, found in Parkson department stores (lewre.com). Buy batik shoes from Jimmy's fave designer, Fion Poon, in the Central Market (fionpoon.com). Brothers Charles and Keith Wong's Charles & Keith are unmissable for affordable, high-style shoes and accessories (charleskeith.com). For stingray clutches, head to Klutched in Mid Valley Megamall (klutched.com). High-energy Low Yat Plaza has every computer invention at one-third of the price of Singapore, with one floor dedicated just to repairs (plazalowyat.com). KL is justly famous for its malls - hit the strip of Bukit Bintang for big-dollar Starhill and Suria KLCC, chic Pavilion, street-smart Fahrenheit88, Lot 10 and perennial bargain fave Sungei Wang.
Staying there: The Westin Kuala Lumpur is at the start of Bukit Bintang, making it ideal for shoppers (starwoodhotels.com).
More info tourismmalaysia.com.au.
The insiders: Fashion designer Alex Zabotto-Bentley and events director Anna Patterson of AZBcreative (azbthecreative.com).
What's hot: International brands, affordable hotels and long shopping hours. 84/100 for hotels and transport.
What's not: Nasty sales taxes. 59/100 for affordability.
The address book: Spend a weekend afternoon at the iconic Dong Tai Lu Antiques Markets. Enter from Xizang Lu into Liuhe Lu, near Xintiandi, and haggle. Spin has amazing handmade ceramics: think industrial chic meets a Chinese art gallery (360 Kangding Lu, near Shanxi Bei Lu). Casa Pagoda is the ultimate in East meets West, with exotic fabrics, old lost-and-found furniture and homewares (casapagoda.com). We love Madame Mao's Dowry for womenswear and Chinese kitsch for the home (madamemaosdowry.com). The streets Xinle Lu and Changle Lu in the French Concession have amazing women's fashion, cafes and art deco furniture. Try The Villa for high-end international fashion (shopthevilla.com).
Staying there: For immaculate location and architecture, stay at the Waterhouse at South Bund (designhotels.com).
More info cnto.org.au.