Hottest Shopping Destinations In The World
Travelers come in various shades – there are the tourists, who follow the travel guide to the ‘T’, the adventurists who like to explore the off-beaten path, the backpackers who globetrot on a shoestring budget and of course, the credit card wielding variety called the “shoppers”. If you are among those who have never heard of the term “buyer’s remorse” and invariably end up paying for extra baggage on your way back, you will find perfect delight in our top five picks for the hottest shopping destinations in the world.
If you haven’t heard of ‘Dubai Duty Free’, you probably belong to another planet. From high-end fashion, breathtaking jewelry and perfumes to designer handbags, gadgets and exotic spices, Dubai is indeed a shopper’s paradise. The city is dotted with gorgeous malls that just draw you in with their sparkle and splendor. Be it the waterways inside Souk Madinat or the indoor ski slope at the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai knows how to lure shoppers in style. The Dubai Mall, which is incidentally the largest shopping and entertainment destination in the world, houses a full-fledged ice-rink and underwater zoo within its premises. Many would agree that shopping in Dubai is more of an experience than a tourist activity. Even if you are not buying anything, trawling through stores and marveling at the breathtaking displays is a joy in itself. In fact, shopping is such a major highlight of Dubai that they actually have a whole ‘Dubai Shopping Festival’ dedicated to it! Visit during January and February to catch the hottest sales and bag the best bargains.
Hong Kong is to shopaholics what Disney World is to kids. In fact, in Hong Kong, shopping could easily become a full-time occupation if you set your heart to it. Try Apple Mall for pocket-friendly designer wear, Harbour City for big brands and the 15-storeyed Sogo Departmental Store for just about anything under the sun. However, the real fun of HK shopping lies in the lively and bustling street markets that promise to make a decent haggler out of you, if you aren’t one already. From pet hamsters to bridal couture, Hong Kong likely has a whole street dedicated to (or in some cases, named after) whatever you are looking for. Shop for artistic knickknacks and curios at Cat Street or find unbelievable bargains on electronics at the Apliu Street Flea Market. If you are a fashion pilgrim, you will find your utopia at Hit Cheung Sha Wan Road, which boasts of the best in street fashion. Foodies will revel in the sights and smells of Dried Seafood Street and Tonic Food Street, which abound in exotic oriental eatables.
The only challenge while shopping in NYC is to stop yourself from going crazy. Pick up knick-knacks and memorabilia from the quaint little shops on SoHo or hit Saks Fifth Avenue, which is the favorite place in the world for all the big-brand lovers. Fifth Avenue also has some delightful boutique shops, where you can find exquisitely crafted leather goods and quirky accessories. Shopping in NYC may sound like an expensive proposition but you will be surprised to find a bevy of outlets such as Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets that let you have your share of high-end labels at a fraction of the price. Upper East Side, Garment District and East Village are also lined up with stores that promise a rare blend of exclusivity and affordability. Rummage through the Green Flea Market to land the bargain of your lifetime or stroll down Madison Avenue for some serious indulgence. While you are at it, take some time to visit the FAO Schwarz, which is touted as one of the most famous toy stores in the world, to reawaken the child within you.
If retail therapy was an actual medical treatment, Bangkok would be just what the doctor ordered. MBK may be a haven for bargain hunters, but The Emporium and Siam Paragon are the places to be if you are looking for luxury and glamour. The highlights of the Bangkok shopping trip, however, are the colorful night bazaars that come alive only after dusk. Patpong Night Market is famous for its bars as much as it is for its clothing, accessories and electronics stalls, while the Suan Lum Night Bazaar has plenty to keep the whole family entertained. For everything quirky, kitsch and vintage, you simply must visit the Rod Fai Market, Papaya Vintage and Siam Vintage. The Chinatown Market is well worth a look for its old-world charm and ethnic appeal. You cannot go to Bangkok and not stock up on electronics. Real, fake, illegal, legal – the Pantip Plaza is where is action is at for techno-freaks. It takes a serious shopper to survive the chaos of Chatuchak Weekend Market, which can overwhelm even seasoned shoppers with its vastness and sheer variety.
London may not be the most economical in terms of shopping but who’s counting the cash when there is so much awe-inspiring luxury around? London is so synonymous with fashion that even window-shopping at some of the high-end stores like Harrods makes you feel like a superstar. If the price tags everywhere else seem too steep, head straight to Topshop & Topman, Dover Street Market or Primark, where you will find everything from designer wear, shoes and fashion accessories at a reasonable price. If jewels and baubles turn you into jelly, get a taste of Lesley Craze Gallery. Crazy for vintage shoes? Try Absolute Vintage – an absolute paradise for shoe lovers, where everything around you looks like a “must-have”. Camden Market offers an interesting mix of food, fashion and fun, and you can hope to pick up some eye-catching décor pieces, exotic candles, crafts and the like. Lastly, don’t forget to feast your eyes on the stellar designer stores that London is home to – a peek into Vivienne Westwood, Coco Ribbon, Agent Provocateur, Aram, Stella McCartney and Meet Bernard is enough to make your jaws drop.