[Wanderlust Tips November issue] Shopping tourism has grown over the years. While Asian tourists travel to Europe to admire its beauty and hunt for products of luxury international brands, European travellers, on the other hand, want to explore Asia where they can find unique local specialties and exquisite handicrafts that they cannot find in their home countries. Based on criteria such as favourite levels, transportation convenience, and the variety of products, wanderlust tips will suggest some of the world’s most popular shopping paradises which you should not miss.
1. DUBAI, UAE – HOME TO THE WORLD’S LARGEST SHOPPING MALL
Awarded the title “the city of largest shopping malls”, Dubai gradually strengthens its position among the world’s largest destinations for shopping tourism. The business relating to shopping malls in Dubai offers great opportunities for investors, enterprises, and visitors. Long-standing traditional markets, super-modern shopping malls, and promising tax-free sales programs have redefined the whole retail industry of this city.
It is no surprise that shopping has truly become a way of life in Dubai. In early January, Dubai hosted the largest annual shopping and entertainment festivals of the year. This month-long event included exclusive promotions, fun activities for families, world-class events, and participants received prizes in cash, car, or gold.
Being the shopping capital of the Middle East, Dubai is where visitors find countless products such as clothing, footwear, fabrics, carpets, spices, and electronics in bustling traditional markets or crowded shopping centres. You can buy many items at good prices if you know exactly where to go in Dubai.
- Address: Financial Center, Dubai
- Opening hours: 10am – 12am daily. During the religious holiday season of Ramadan, the opening hours of this shopping mall last longer, and shops are open from 10 am to 1 am the following day.
- Tips: Festival time is definitely the best occasion to go shopping in Dubai Mall.
- Address: Near Al Ras Metro Station, Deira, Dubai.
- Opening hours: 9.30am – 9.30pm every day.
- Tips: The gold price fluctuates daily, so it is important that you have enough knowledge relating to this market. It is also recommended that you check the difference in prices of various store owners and also make use of your bargaining skills in order to get the best deals.
MALL OF THE EMIRATES
- Address: Sheikh Zayed Road, Interchange4, Al Barsha, Dubai
- Opening hours: 10am – 10pm from Sunday to Wednesday, 10am – 12pm from Thursday to Saturday.
- Tips: Most of the stores located at the Mall of the Emirates have return policies; therefore, it’s important to make sure you have a good understanding of them in case you need to return any of the items you have purchased. Be sure to keep your receipts or invoices in case you may need them.
2. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA GO SHOPPING IN “THE CITY OF ANGELS”
Considered the “the City of Angels,” Los Angeles became a spotlight among the world’s must-visit destinations since the early 1900s when Hollywood started launching blockbusters that caused a sensation around the world. This place attracts tourists not only because of its beautiful scenery and mild climate but also extremely interesting shopping centres.
When it comes to Los Angeles, we often think of Hollywood or Beverly Hills. However, it is recommended to visit the Avenue of Fame, enjoy the warm weather at Surfrider Beach or Venice Beach, and experience vivid historical events reconstructed at the Jura Museum of Jurassic Technology. Most importantly, in order to fulfill your Los Angeles dream journey, do not forget to go shopping.
Popular shopping destinations in Los Angeles:
BEVERLY CENTER SHOPPING CENTER
- Address: 8500 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles
- Opening hours: 10 am – 9 pm every day.
- Tips: The best way to enjoy your shopping experience at Beverly Center is to take a stroll along the street. However, there are not many dining options here. You can enjoy meals at Cali-fornia Pizza Kitchen and Chipotle Mexican Grill, or try Italian cuisine at Obika Mozzarella Bar and high-end Asian cuisine
- Address: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles
- Opening hours: 10am – 9pm from Monday to Thursday; 10am – 10pm Friday and Saturday; 10am – 8pm on Sunday
- Tips: The Grove is a very popular and crowded outdoor shopping mall, so you may have difficulty finding parking, especially if you decide to visit this mall during peak times, which generally fall on Fridays and Saturdays. In order to avoid this situation, instead of driving, you can take a free tram tour. Another interesting alternative is to walk to The Grove, on the way you will be able to admire a famous musical fountain where the water dances in rhythm with music.
- Address: 10800 West Pico Avenue, Los Angeles
- Opening hours: 10 am – 9 pm from Monday to Friday; 10 am – 8 pm on Saturday; 11 am – 6 pm on Sunday
- Tips: Considered a quality shopping destination that offers affordable prices in Los Angeles, the Westside Pavillion is home to many famous fashion brands. If your budget is limited, you can buy products from affordable brands such as Forever 21 or H&M, which offer more affordable items.
3. PARIS, FRANCE – THE FASHION KINGDOM OF EUROPE
Paris is a destination that bears romantic and charming beauty, which cannot be fully expressed in words. The beauty of France’s capital is contributed by many features including natural landscapes, monuments, architectural works, museums, state-of-the-art shopping malls, and quiet streets. They are built next to each other in a perfect way to create a poetic beauty under the dawn light. The passionate scenery at sunset and sparkling lights at night make Paris even more brilliant and luxurious.
Referring to Paris, it’s crucial not to forget to mention its fashion industry. Considered to be one of the cities of luxury, Paris never fails to overwhelm fashion devotees with its flashy shopping areas such as Vandôme Square, Avenue Montaigne, The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. These are the locations of a myriad of luxury stores: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Le Bon Marché, La Samaritaine, which are associated with world-class fashion brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Dior, Prada, Valentino, Montblanc, and Hugo Boss.
Popular shopping destinations in Paris:
THE AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES
- Address: This avenue runs between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle
- Tips: Discount seasons in France take place in January and July. During these occasions, it is recommended to visit shopping malls that offer a wide variety of goods. Keep in mind that all items sold in this avenue are subject to VAT.
CARROUSEL DU LOUVRE
- Address: 99 Rue de Rivoli, Paris
- Opening hours: 11 am – 7 pm on Tuesday; 10 am – 8 pm the rest of the week.
- Tips: You can go shopping at the Carrousel du Louvre, which is in close proximity to the Louvre museum – a must see and one of the largest museums in the world. The museum is home to world-famous works including marble statues such as The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa painting, etc.
BERCY VILLAGE MALL
- Address: 28 François Truffaut, Paris
- Opening hours: 11 am – 2 am the following day
- Tips: Bercy Village is a well-known shopping district with many restaurants, cafés, and fashion boutiques, located in one-story buildings. However, this area is only for pedestrians. To get there, you can travel by subway to 14 Cour Saint Emilion then go sightseeing before getting lost in this shopping paradise.
4. HONG KONG – ASIA’S SHOPPING PARADISE
Hong Kong is known as the “shopping paradise” of Asia. However, when visiting Hong Kong for the first time, visitors may still be overwhelmed by the large amount of shopping malls and fashion stores which offer wide ranges of anything from affordable to luxurious brands. According to a study by Global Shopper City Index 2011, 87 percent of tourists travel to Hong Kong for shopping, and 76 percent of them express above-average satisfaction on quality of products and money.
In Hong Kong, shopping is no longer a mere business activity; it has become a form of entertainment. The most popular products are clothing, cosmetics, and electronics. In addition to high-quality goods, most shopping malls in Hong Kong have restaurants, bookstores, cinemas, and cafés to satisfy the demand of tourists.
Any season is a good time for you to enjoy your shopping tourism trip to Hong Kong. From May to December, there are many great promotional programs.
Popular shopping destinations in Hong Kong:
- Address: 230-230A Wan Chai Street, Hong Kong.
- Opening hours: 10 am – 10 pm from Monday to Thursday; 10 am – 11 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
- Tips: When visiting any store, it is recommended to carefully check the prices as fraudulent activities happen quite frequently in Hong Kong. Many shops offer travellers prices that are too high, others often don’t even have fixed prices. It is recommended to do some research on the products’ prices and shop around before deciding to buy anything.
- Address: Yau Tsim Mong district, West of Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong
- Tips: Mongkok is a relatively affordable shopping street with a variety of electronic products of diverse models. However, these products also vary widely in quality, so in order to avoid buying poor quality products at high prices, you should consult the prices in advance and check the products carefully before buying.
TSIM SHA TSUI
- Address: Yau Tsim Mong District, Southern Kowloon, Hong Kong
- Tips: This is an extremely popular shopping area in Hong Kong,where chain stores, shopping centres, restaurants, and offices are all in close proximity. It is recommended to visit Nathan street – the main street in Tsim Sha Tsui – as well as the junction of small shopping streets. Most importantly, do not miss the Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard, a popular shopping destination for young people to look for fashionable items.
5. TOKYO, JAPAN – IMMERSE YOURSELF IN BUSTLING SHOPPING STREETS
No one travels to Japan without visiting the noisy and gaudy capital of Tokyo. This city promises to bring you great experiences, pleasant surprises, excellent food, and luxurious amenities. That is why Tokyo has become the dream destination of many people. All features including ancient temples, antique tea rooms, elegant meals, and gentle hot springs draw visitors to Tokyo to be immersed in ancient traditions traditions and unique Japanese culture. Beautiful moments of peace can be experienced by watching the Tokyo sunset while visiting Tokyo Skytree, strolling through Hamarikyu Gardens, sailing on Chidorigafuchi canal, or sipping the sake at Kurand Sake market.
One of the pleasures that no one should miss in Tokyo is shopping. You can find unique souvenirs for your family and friends in typical traditional stores of Asakusa Prefecture or Kagurazaka, where you can experience the atmosphere of the Edo era. It is recommended to buy luxury products at Ginza – a favorite place for all trendy fashionistas. Let Tokyo surprise you by being spontaneous.
Popular shopping destinations in Tokyo:
- Address: Asakusa District, Taitō District, Tokyo
- Tips: Asakusa is one of the rare places that still retains its features in Tokyo. Asakusa attracts visitors because of the many stores that still sell traditional items, souvenirs, and local dishes. Recommended addresses in Asakusa: Tokyo Hotarudas (antique and vintage products), Nakamise-dori (jewelry), Kappabashi-dōri (cuisine).
- Address: Akihabara District, Chiyoda District, Tokyo
- Tips: Akihabara is a famous electronics market in Japan, offering hundreds of stores which sell electronics at extremely good prices. The prices of electronic products are usually 20-30% cheaper than at the market. Many stores offer tax exemption for foreigners.
- Address: Ginza district, Chūō, Tokyo
- Tips: All items here have specific fixed prices and there is no bargaining. Tax exemptions for visitors are applied to all items; refunds range from 5% to 8% depending on each store. Duty-free shops will have “Tax-free” signboard outside, and visitors must purchase a minimum of PYJ5,000 (~ VND1,040,600) in a store to be eligible for tax exemption.
Kim Oanh | Wanderlust Tips