As the season of big retail discount sales commences, the travel experts at KAYAK.sg reveal the best destinations in the region for a summer shopping spree. From big-name designer handbags to priceless antiques and the newest gadgets, a passport is the key to finding unique treasures and getting the best deals. From handicraft markets to shopping for off-the-rack items at the most renowned shopping malls across the region, KAYAK.sg recommends travel hacks to ensure a fuss-free and enjoyable shopping experience.
Debby Soo, KAYAK Vice President APAC said, “With the summer sales in full-swing, a passport and a plane ticket are the key to finding the best shopping deals and the most unique items around the region. There’s no better time to check out all the malls, markets and boutiques the region has to offer. Singapore travellers who do not want to miss out on deals to their favourite shopping destinations can sign up for Price Alerts to receive notifications when the price drops for their desired flight or hotel. After all, every dollar saved on travel expenses can be spent at the sales.”
Thailand, Bangkok: Chatuchak Weekend Market
The Thai capital is a shopper’s paradise. Chatuchak Weekend Market hosts over 8,000 stalls selling everything from home decor and bathing suits to pet toys. More than 200,000 shoppers descend on the 35-acre market every weekend, but it is worth braving the throngs of visitors to find unique gifts and discount items.
Travel Hack: Shoppers who find an item they like should inspect it thoroughly as some vendors sell factory rejects. Take any claims of “authentic” antiques with a grain of salt. It is possible to negotiate with most vendors, but shoppers should be prepared to walk away if they are not happy with the price offered. Chances are, there’s another stall selling a similar item around the corner.
Hong Kong: Causeway Bay to Stanley Market
Shopping in Hong Kong is more of a lifestyle than a hobby. Shoppers can go bargain hunting for trendy items at Jardine’s Crescent in Causeway Bay, which is known for its fashion-forward finds such as embellished blouses, home accessories and bags. Designer label hounds can head to Pacific Place for high-quality leather and name-brand clothing. Travellers in search of souvenirs like Chinese artwork and silk collectibles should visit the stalls at Stanley Market.
Travel Hack: In Hong Kong, most items—other than wine and cigarettes—are tax free. Look out for shops that are certified as QTS-accredited merchants. These shops pass stringent quality assessments for their customer service and clearly-displayed product information. Prices are clearly marked in shopping centres but there are opportunities to bargain at street stalls.
China, Beijing: The Silk Market and Pearl Market
The Silk Market is one of the Chinese capital’s most famous shopping spots. Despite its name, the market is filled with everything imaginable including clothing, souvenirs, jewellery and electronics. The sellers are accustomed to dealing with foreigners and speak a little English. Hongqiao Market, or the Pearl Market, is a warren of stalls selling t-shirts, silk pajamas, souvenirs, beads and footwear.
Travel Hack: The six-story Silk Market is a great place to practice one’s bargaining skills. A good start is to ask for ten per cent of the seller’s original price and then slowly bargain to meet the seller half-way. Be sure to not overpay for your purchase! Head to the roof of Hongqiao Market for seldom-seen views of the Temple of Heaven.
Indonesia, Bali: Ubud and Guwang Art Markets
Ubud is a treasure trove of Balinese handicrafts, artwork and traditional garments. Shoppers with blank walls and rooms to fill will find wonderful paintings, carvings and unique decorative items in Pasar Seni Ubud, or the Ubud Art Market, across from Ubud Palace. Some bargaining is required to arrive at the best price. In addition, fashionistas will love exploring the clothing boutiques along Jalan Raya Ubud.
Travel Hack: A 40-minute drive south, the village of Guwang’s art market, or Pasar Seni Guwang, offers similar handicrafts and textiles but is much less crowded. Visitors who journey here for the market should also explore the small streets around Guwang to discover artist-owned shops and painting galleries.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Mega Sale Carnival
During the annual Mega Sale Carnival that takes place from June until August, Kuala Lumpur becomes a shopper’s paradise. Travellers can benefit substantially due to plummeting prices in the stores across the city. The Suria KLCC shopping centre, one of the city’s most glamorous malls, is located at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers and hosts stores offering a vast array of up-market and international brands. For local treasures and quirky souvenirs, shoppers should check out Pasar Seni (Central Market), a cultural heritage site that boasts a restored Art Deco facade and dates back to 1888.
Travel Hack: While at Suria KLCC, shop to your heart’s content with 320 high-end local and international retailers. Divided into three sections, KLCC offers everyone a well-deserved dose of retail therapy. At Pasar Seni, head to the Collectables Centre located at G43. Here you will find vintage cigarette tins, oil lamps and antique Nyonya tea sets.