If you’re a fashionista who loves collecting passport stamps as much as pretty shoes and clutches, then you’ll agree that no travel itinerary is complete without a shopping spree or two.
Everyone knows that some of the world’s best shopping can be done in chic cities such as Paris, New York City and London, but what about other shopping destinations closer to home? Pack your bags (and leave lots of extra room for the shopping you’ll do) cos we talked to the style-savvy girls of TheLuxeNomad.com who shared their fave destinations to do some serious shopping.
Bali is known for its breathtaking sunsets, white sand beaches and cliff-top villas, but when you’re not working on your tan, you can find some gems at Seminyak’s designer boutiques. Be sure to stop by our favourite surfer-chic shop Drifter where you can grab a fresh smoothie or cappuccino before browsing an eclectic collection of bikinis and beachwear. You can also put your bartering skills to the test at Ubud’s local markets which has an endless array of kimonos, bargain sunnies, handcrafted jewelry and more.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Possibly one of the world’s most underrated destinations in general, Hoi An is a delightful heritage spot with an old-town character and amazing street food (try the Cau Lao!). The town’s picturesque historical homes are a retail haven, jam-packed with galleries and clothing shops that go beyond your typical souvenirs. Hoi An is also known for its legendary tailors – this is the place to go if you have a distinct design in mind that you want to see brought to life. You can have custom clothes and shoes made in less than 24 hours, for a lot less than what you’d pay back home!
A relaxed riverside getaway with the friendliest of locals, this former French trading post has a reputation for being the world’s most laid-back capital. Despite its relatively small size, Vientiane offers a huge selection of shopping options for you to fill your suitcase. Head to the city’s main shopping streets Samsenthai and Setthathirat to find quaint outlets that specialise in elaborate handicrafts and couture-quality textiles, or the Morning Market for great deals on genuine hill-tribe silk. Speaking of silk, Ministry of Silk in the city centre has a fab collection of bespoke garments.
Forgo the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and head to Thailand’s more serene ‘second city’ nestled at the foothills, where you can get some serious shopping done with the lowest prices in the country. Chiang Mai is known for its handicrafts in Asia, but you’ll also find plenty of fabric shops, tailors, jewellers and gem dealers. For quirky shops, go to Warorot Market in Chinatown; for bags and beachwear, stop by Kad Rin Come Fashion Market. Of course, you can discover the city’s best shopping at its legendary Night Bazaar which takes up several blocks along Chang Klan Road every evening.
A ‘mecca’ of swanky malls and luxury fashion boutiques, Hong Kong is quickly earning itself a place amongst the world’s most elite shopping destinations. Central and Causeway Bay are Hong Kong’s main shopping districts, where you can get your luxury fashion fix at Landmark, IFC Mall or Pacific Place, plus the island’s biggest department store Sogo. You can also head to the small island of Ap Lei Chau where you’ll find 28 floors of shopping at Horizon Plaza. Be on the lookout for home-grown brands such as Shanghai Tang.
Insider tip: The W Hong Kong recently launched a ‘shop ‘til you drop’ room package to give guests exclusive shopping privileges at Elements Shopping Mall in Kowloon.
Tokyo isn’t the only fashion hot spot in Japan. While Kyoto is known for its beautiful shrines and temples, it also has a great shopping scene, and its more compact size makes it easier to hit all the shops in one go. Wander down Teramachi-dori where you’ll find endless rows of shops; look for the Kyoto-based boutique Sou Sou for an amazing selection of vibrant Japanese patterns and fabrics. More serious shoppers will love Takashimaya department store in downtown Kyoto; be sure to get a shopper’s card from the Tax Refund counter on the 1st floor to get a five per cent discount. Don’t forget to buy a kimono, cos you’re in Japan after all!