A weekend spree in the region’s shopping meccas

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A weekend spree in the region’s shopping meccas

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An advertisement for Tangs in Singapore during a sales season.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore are places you shouldn’t miss if you have a long weekend free and your bank balance is healthy enough to support a moderate spending spree.

Tokyo

There are two sale seasons in Tokyo: January and July. There’s a 30 to 50 percent discount rate during the first sale season and for the rest of the items, you can get 80 to 90 percent off.

In the country of otaku, people with obsessive interests, there are lots of limited editions that you can’t get in other countries. So one of the main reasons for shopping in Tokyo is digging out rare items.

The famous shopping areas in Tokyo are Harajuku, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Odaiba.

Around Harajuku, you should check out Gap, Zara and the department store Laforet, which is loved by fashion-conscious people for its collection of unique brands.

If you are a lover of vintage, check out Hanjiro, which has five stores in Tokyo alone. There are so many unique items here. Many Korean vintage shop owners buy items for their own shops here.

The hippest shopping area is Omotesando Hills, a series of urban developments in the capital. Originally a decrepit apartment complex, it became the hottest shopping mall in Tokyo after it was redesigned by architect Ando Dadao.

Here you can find Shibuya109, which houses trendy clothes; Loft, a lifestyle shop for singles; and Beams, Tokyo’s biggest select shop.

Shopping is not limited to just buying clothes. There is no place like Tokyo to “shop art,” for those who want to mix culture and shopping. Places to buy art and shop include A to Z Cafe run by pop artist Yoshimoto Nara and Roppongi Hills’ Mori Art Center, 21-21 Design Sight of Midtown and Art Triangle of the New National Art Museum.

Hong Kong

Most luxury brands here are cheaper than in Korea and you can get a 10 percent discount if you join as a member.

The biggest shopping mall is the IFC Mall, which is like a mega version of COEX in Korea. Patterson Street in Causeway Bay is a perfect place for women shopping abroad during the weekend. Independent stores such as Isabel Marant, A.P.C. and Sumori Jisato are found here.

A.P.C. clothes are suitable for slim men, so you can buy sweaters or jackets for your boyfriend or husband.

In second-hand stores specializing in luxury brands such as See by Chloe or Baby Jane Cacharel, you get a bargain because the goods are so much cheaper.

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Causeway Bay, below and far left, a densely packed shopping district in Hong Kong.



Bangkok

Department stores in Bangkok give you a 5 percent discount card if you show your passport, and if you spend more than 2,000 baht (64,806 won, $58.33), you get 7 percent back, giving you a 12 percent discount overall.

Bangkok’s most popular shopping area is around Siam subway station. On one side, there are street shops similar to those around Ewha University or Myeong-dong in Seoul. On the other side are three mega shopping malls: Siam Center, Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery.

Local brand Gray Hound, which is classic like Banana Republic with a hint of Southeast Asia, is recommended by many people in the fashion industry. You should also check out girly but not childish Seneda and the attractive Orientalism of Baking Soda. In Discovery, you should buy interior decorating items at lifestyle shops such as Habitat and Loft.


Singapore

On Singapore’s Orchard Road, the city’s most crowded shopping area, try the department store Tangs, which carries local brands, in addition to Paragon or Dakasimaya, the Japanese department store. Tangs has unique patterns and vivid colors, from different lifestyle brands to chopsticks and plates.

Dempsy is a hip place for locals that is not well known to travelers. There is only one place to shop here, One and Only Designer Collection, the select shop selling imported luxury goods such as Dolce and Gabana, Prada and Gucci from Europe. It is reasonably priced and fun to watch model-like people strutting around.


By Hong Joo-hee JoongAng Ilbo [estyle@joongang.co.kr]
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