If the thought of venturing past Mong Kok on the MTR fills you with anxiety at the unknown, I strongly urge you to leave that worry at home, lace up your metaphorical exploring boots and get your butt up to one of my favourite Kowloon districts, Sham Shui Po. This old and traditionally working class neighborhood might seem intimidating at first glance, but with a little help from our handy neighbourhood cheat sheet, you’ll be navigating this market shopping mecca with ease in no time.
DIY STORES & SHOPS
New Universe Co.
Looking to make your own jewellery? Or perhaps you want to mend an existing piece but don’t know where to find the tools or materials? Well, you’re in luck! New Universe Co stocks everything from chains sold by the yard and earring hooks, to clasps, pendants, jewellery wire and more. You can also pick up pliers, glue guns and sorting boxes, which should help ensure your DIY-ing stays as organised as possible.
New Universe Co., G/F, 223A Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2958 1309
This shop is impossible to miss when you’re walking down Yu Chau Street. If you’re looking for crystals, buttons, rhinestones or embellishments, Kiwi is your best bet. The prices here are a bit higher than you’d expect for wholesale shopping in Sham Shui Po, but the quality is that of a higher calibre so you get what you pay for. Time to start bedazzling.
Kiwi, G/F, 219 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2728 2518, www.kiwi.com.hk
Bead Box is filled to the brim with every kind of bead, button, rhinestone and embellishment you can think of. Along every aisle are small plastic bags and the display layout is kind of like a pick and mix, with the prices per gram displayed for each type of bead. All you need to do is help yourself to whatever you like, then the shop assistant will weigh your selections and give you the total price.
Bead Box, G/F, 221 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 3586 2882, www.beadbox.com.hk
Lap Sun Gem Company
If you’re on the lookout for semi-precious stones, crystals and freshwater pearls at wholesale prices, this shop is an absolute gem (pun intended). Find turquoise, rose quartz, agate, onyx, tigers eye, opal and more without having to commit to massive order quantities.
Lap Sun Gem Company, G/F 247 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2725 8319
Shun Cheong Li Full
With the Rugby 7s looming, it would appear the question on everyone’s lips (other than “do you have tickets?”) is “what are you dressing up as?”. Well, if you’re on the lookout for beading, feathers or tulle to make your costume even more fun and outlandish, then this is the place for you!
Shun Cheong Li Full, 206 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2729 0261
Take your gift-wrapping to the next level! This small treasure trove stocks every kind of ribbon you can think of, from lace, fringed and brocade to velvet, grosgrain, silk and more. Ribbon can be bought by the yard or by the entire wheel, plus the ladies who run this spot are super friendly and would happily snip off a small sample for you.
Flying Dragon, Shop D, G/F, 213-217 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, 2708 2528, www.facebook.com/flyingdragon.com.hk
Alri Star Leather Factory
Looking for leather? With a huge selection of leathers, sold by the piece or per metro, Alri also sells the tools you need for leather DIYing, from gouges and cutters to hammers and more. Plus, if you fancy learning more about leather works, Alri also offers on-site workshops!
Alri Star Leather Factory, 236 Tai Nan St, Sham Shui Po, 3791 2217
STREETS & CENTRES
Ki Lung Street
If you fancy a spot of sewing on the weekend, pop by Ki Lung Street fabric market to pick up an array of fabrics at bargain prices. Quite often the stalls will stock seasonal fabrics (so you may not necessarily find velvet in the Summer months) and sell it by the yard. You can also pick up sewing thread, needles, thimbles, sewing scissors and other sewing tools.
Ki Lung Street, between Shek Kip Mei Street and Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po
Fuk Wing Street
Wander down towards Fuk Wing Street and you’ll be greeted by a plethora of shops and stalls selling everything from kids toys, wholesale stationary, gift items, souvenirs and decorations. Anytime a festival is coming up, this is my go-to spot for themed decorations at fantastic prices. Organising a party and in need of party favours? Check out Fuk Wing Street!
Fuk Wing Street, between Kweilin Street and Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po
Golden Computer Centre
We all know the Wan Chai Computer Centre, but believe it or not, the Golden Computer Centre in Sham Shui Po has an even wider range of electronics for much cheaper. From bluetooth speakers and USB chargers, to computer consoles, games, cameras, laptops and more, this maze of a shopping mall is filled to the rafters with everything techie you need!
Golden Computer Centre, 146-152 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po
Dragon Centre is the main shopping mall in Sham Shui Po and is a unique mix of kitsch, old and new. You can find the standard Sasa, Mannings, Marathon Sports and other high street stores here, but one of the main reasons to pop by is for the kawaii-cute ‘Apple Mall’ that has a great selection of Japanese and Korean cosmetics, tech accessories, gifts, jewellery and more. Plus, did I mention there’s an ice rink, 90s-style games arcade and (now defunct) roller coaster on the top floor?
Dragon Centre, 37 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po
The heart of the hustle and bustle in Sham Shui Po, Apliu Street is a boisterous and perennially busy hub where you can find anything from the market vendors that line the street. From cameras and electronics to second-hand goods, leather products and even fishing tools, there’s something for everyone here.
Apliu Street, between Yen Chow Street and Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po
1. Make sure you make a shopping list
I’m a big fan of list-making anyway, but when there’s so much choice available, it can be difficult to stay focused. You may end up leaving with a bunch of stuff you didn’t plan on buying and forget to pick up what you wanted in the first place!
2. Wear comfy shoes
It goes without saying that when exploring, you should wear comfy shoes. Don’t go pounding the pavements exploring street after street and shop after shop in 6-inch stilettos!
3. Bring reusable shopping bags
Again, it goes without saying that we should try to be as environmentally-friendly as possible and unfortunately the shops around Sham Shui Po pass out plastic bags for every little purchase as if it’s going out of style.
4. Bring cash
A lot of shops don’t take credit cards and the ones that do quite often require a minimum spend. There’s a Hang Seng and Bank of China cash point in the MTR station, or you can pop by Dragon Centre for HSBC.
5. Opening hours
Most shops are open Monday to Sunday from 11am till 6pm, however the fabric stalls on Ki Lung Street are quite often closed on weekends, so make sure you time your shopping trip appropriately to ensure the shops you want to visit are open.
Featured image courtesy of Getty.