Fashion capitals and their annual shopping carnivals beckon the most dedicated shoppers. But some of the truly unique pieces in a fashionista’s closet seldom emerge from London, New York or Paris. Here are some destinations that are a fashion-monger’s delight.
SAN FRANCISCO, USA
The colourful city welcomes the bohemian chic to indulge in its grand department stores, flea markets and funky boutiques. Each neighbourhood in the city has its own distinct character and this reflects in the overwhelming choice of different shopping districts in San Francisco.
When the pockets run deep, you should head to the opulent Westfield Centre, where a plethora of tiny fashion vaults come to your rescue. Noe Valley offers quaint and quiet boutiques.
Bargain hunters can dig through record shops and thrift stores in the Mission district and the Haight. The local shopping opportunities are a true reflection of the city’s various personalities, from the anarchist bookstore to the mouth-watering food at the Ferry Building.
What you’ll definitely need to bring on this holiday is an empty suitcase. When your inner shopper needs a break, head to the Marina district, which boasts trendy bistros and postcard-perfect views of the Golden
Swimmers and surfers should head to the eastern beaches.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO
Strolling, shopping and sipping tequila along the Malecon boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta sounds like the ideal vacation. Courtesy of the steady stream of cruise liners passing through its harbour, Puerto Vallarta is geared toward the shopper, with anything Mexican-made being readily available.
Shopping here is fun in terms of what you can buy, but more in terms of where you can find it. Unique artefacts from all over Mexico await you in both ultra-modern and traditional stores and galleries spread throughout the city.
The Municipal Flea Market offers a bevy of colourful stalls while the downtown Malecon and the streets surrounding it are rich with galleries, jewellery stores and designer shops specialised in casual wear.
The charming cobblestone streets of Old Vallarta are perfect to browse handmade crafts. Whenever you want to put your shopping bags down, the calm, warm waters of the Bay of Banderas make for excellent diving. The cluster of fine art galleries in El Centro are perfect spots to have a self-guided art tour. Owing to its arsenal of great restaurants, it’s often contested whether Puerto Vallarta is a shopper’s heaven or a foodie’s paradise.
HONG KONG, CHINA
Its incomparable skyline, floating islands and delectable dim sums are just some of the attractions that bring millions of visitors to Hong Kong each year. This is indeed a destination for the experienced shopper.
Tsim Sha Tsui offers the densest concentration of shops in the crowded city. Take ‘dense’ as an enormous variety of almost everything under the sun. But those who want a more relaxed experience can try the Central Area.
Most goods from all over the world, except wine and cigarettes, are tax-free and prices are relatively low. The best three buys are clothes, cosmetics and electrical appliances. Canton Road and Beijing Road have the famous brands while Granville Road has cosmetics and factory outlets.
Along with the shopping spree one gets an eyeful of traditional Chinese architecture in Ngong Ping Village and the tram to Victoria Peak offers some truly unparalleled views.