Tag Archives: hong kong

Homeless in Hong Kong

I heard a lot about Goods Of Desire (G.O.D.) before I made my virgin trip up to Hong Kong. Waayyyyy back in 2010, it was a great place to shop for kitschy, unconventional, quirky stuff for the home. They’ve since set up shop in Singapore too, but sadly I find the selection here not quite as happening as what I seem to remember in HK.

During this latest trip, I made a lucky find while having lunch at Sing Heung Yuen. The Foursquare entry for this hole-in-the-wall eatery had a tip that suggested shopping at “Homeless” across the street.

Watch out for the construction!
The Homeless storefront

That neon sign + industrial material is eye-catching, and you can’t help but wander into the warmly-lit store with your wallet open.

Wasn't sure if I was allowed to take pictures, so I missed the front of the store!
Walk a little further in and the store opens up

There’s really quite a lot to see, and I really took my time looking through everything to make sure I didn’t miss any of the little gems everywhere.

Guess what I bought here?
Mobile phone and tablet accessories, but not of the night-market knock-off variety
Guess which one I bought here??
Ice can be a great conversation starter if it comes in the right shape
Tick tock
A few cool clocks
Optical toys
Kaleidoscopes (can’t remember exactly how much, but they’d make pretty nice gifts, methinks)

 

Came mighty close to getting this!
DIY Cat Playhouse comes in Fire Truck, Tank, & Plane variations!
Cute overload
Brilliant if DJ Mao actually takes to scratching this!

There are stores in Singapore that carry some of these items like Molecule, Totally Hot Stuff, and other smaller players who I can’t remember. But I don’t think any of them have the sheer concentration of “I-want-to-buy-this!!!” items that Homeless carries.

The address for the Central Flagship store(s) i.e. the one described above:

28 & 29 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong (It’s actually 2 stores facing each other!)
Tel: +852 2581 1880
Opening hours: 11.30 – 21.30hrs (mon – sat), 12.00 – 18.00hrs (sun & holidays)

Also visited the Tsim Sha Tsui Flagship store, which I felt was more mall-ish, and hence more sterile than the Central store. And for good measure, checked out the Causeway Bay Store too. This one is up a few flights of stairs and is cramped. Careful when you make any sudden movements with your backpacks & shopping bags! Didn’t spot the sign, but “You break, you buy” likely applies here too.

Tsim Sha Tsui Flagship store
L8, The One, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2997 8192
Opening hours: 12.00 – 22.00hrs (sun – thu), 12.00 – 22.30 (fri & sat)

Causeway Bay store
1 – 3/F, 19 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2890 8789
Opening hours: 12.00 – 21.30 (mon – sat), 13.00 – 21.00 (sun & holidays)

Visit their website (www.homeless.hk) for more information (there’s one other store in Shatin and they operate F&B outlets too apparently)

Now to back to G.O.D.

The rate at which Hong Kong moves is brutal, and it was quite sad to see the G.O.D. at Silvercord having a “removal sale”. Remember getting quite a few things there during my last trip. There wasn’t very much stuff left by the time we got there. This was a potential candidate for purchase, but even it didn’t work out.

Monkeys everywhere
Paul Frank sheets – but they don’t come in King size because it isn’t a very common bed size in HK apparently.

Darwinism applies to retail too, I guess.

Survival of the fittest...
Bye bye Silvercord G.O.D.

Hong Kong 2012: Apps for Eating & Shopping

Stuffing your face, and taking the stuffing out of your wallet. Fortunately (or unfortunately). there are apps to help you for both.

Google Maps: This is a pain in the a$$ when you have lots of places listed on one map and need to scroll up and down. Workaround for me is to go into “Edit” mode, but then it’s easy to accidentally move location pins and the lag is just awful. Doesn’t work well at all on the iPhone and iPad. If you have access to a proper computer during your visit, I recommend moving the places you intend to visit for the day at the top of the list (left column). Still looking for a zoom-able itinerary mapping that can be stored offline (i.e. no internet connection required to access), but until I find a better solution, here’s a rudimentary map for Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau.

Google Map of places to go in HK, Shenzhen & Macau
The list on the left column keeps bouncing back to the top when you try to scroll down on your ipad/iphone

Open Rice: Just like Singapore’s Hungrygowhere, it pulls up the name, location and reviews (if any) of eateries around you. Not as many reviews in English as there are in Chinese/Cantonese. Pronounced “Hoi Fan” in Cantonese. (Available for iOS, Android and Window Phone)

Open Rice Hong Kong
A reference guide to Hong Kong eateries
Open Rice
Launch screen of Open Rice

Foursquare: The grand-daddy of location services works well in HK too, especially if you can’t find reviews in English for Open Rice. (Available for iOS – no dedicated iPad version, but iPhone version blown up works too, and Android)

FourSquare
Foursquare is still going strong

Price.com.hk: Great guide to have if you’re looking for electronics (cameras, phones, A/V, appliances, video games) and strangely, kids stuff too. It’s essentially a listing of the best prices being offered by various merchants. Of course, it’s susceptible to being used by scammers who bait and switch, e.g. you go to a store because of a product being advertised as HK$XXX but the store says it’s out of stock and offers you a “similar” product, or just say that the price isn’t updated and quote you a higher price. My suggestion is that you use your local SIM card to call up the shops before making any trips. If the stores/sellers don’t list a number or shop address, I wouldn’t waste my time. Best to use the app as a rough guide. No English version, so hopefully you know some Chinese. Otherwise, it’s fairly intuitive based on the icons/graphics used. Do we have a Singaporean version of this? If not, maybe I should quit my job and get it done. (Available for iOS, Android)

Price.com.hk
Price.com.hk
pricehk1
Price.com.hk
Price.com.hk
Note the orange “行” boxes come with warranty, whereas the ones with the blue box “水” indicate “water goods”. These are usually for export and don’t come with warranty.

Got any other apps to recommend?

Hong Kong 2012: How to stay online

Back from my second HK holiday. Less of a newbie though my cantonese still sucks. Dreading to see the credit card bill. Here are some basic tips if you’re heading to stay connected while in Hong Kong:

Telecommunications

I can’t imagine how people used to travel without Google Maps and apps. Compass? Paper maps?? Seriously??? To think I used to do orienteering back in school in the wilderness. Anyway, here are some modern options for the generation that’s perpetually logged on to the interwebs.

1) Roaming with your SG telco (more expensive): You could also get one of those global roaming deals if you’re on M1 (Unlimited Data Roaming) or SingTel (Bridge Dataroam). M1 users have it good. You’re only charged a maximum of $15/day if you bust the data limits. No need to inform M1 of your trip either. SingTel to activate the service BEFORE your trip starts, either by calling them (which I recommend, even if the waiting time can be ridiculous) or using the app (I’ve never gotten it to work). Even when I’ve gotten the confirmation over the phone, I was once slapped with a ridiculous bill after my previous trip to HK. Benefit is you only carry one device, as opposed to 2 (See next option)

Price:
S$75 for 5 days unlimited roaming in HK for SingTel (CSL is their HK partner),
S$15 per day for unlimited roaming in HK for M1 (SmarTone is their HK partner)

2) Prepaid HK SIM (cheaper, more reliable): In this day and age, you’ll probably have a spare phone somewhere at home. Reason for this is that you’ll want to use your current phone as your data device in HK, and stuff your existing SIM card into your spare phone for urgent calls from the boss/clients/wife/… The stinker is that unless you have a dual-SIM smart phone, you’ll need at least 2 devices if you want to remain contactable on your regular number while having access to cheap data. (List of top dual SIM phones doesn’t look promising)

Price: HK$198 3G Rechargeable SIM card deal (approx S$31) gives you unlimited data for HK$18/day (Approx S$3). Also allows for voice calls.

Image

I got the prepaid HK$198 microSIM from 3 that I used on my iPad, with my Samsung S3 still on SingTel with dataroaming disabled.

Where to find a prepaid HK SIM card at HK airport

Once you clear customs at Chek Lap Kok with your bags, head up to the 7th floor (Departure Hall).

There are escalators, but given you’ll probably be hauling luggage, one of the elevators might be a better idea.

Elevators
This elevator is in the center of the Arrival Hall. Note the 7-Eleven in the background as your reference point.

Once out of the elevator, walk forward towards the shops and make a right. You’ll soon see a 1010 store and a 3 store. There’s a Tissot store (expensive Swiss watches) opposite both of them.

The telco units are just opposite these shops
You’re on the right track! Look opposite…
Step right up
The 3 store

Tips:
– For 3 customers, in case your data connection suddenly goes dead, check your APN setting. It should be imobile.three.com.hk and NOT mobile.three.com.hk. If you really need someone to check your phone, here are the 3 store locations around HK.
– If you need to top up your prepaid 3 SIM card, go to one of their stores instead of the 7-11 because they’ll give you bonus credits at their own stores.
– You can keep your Whatsapp messages coming to your existing phone even when you’ve swapped the SG SIM card for a prepaid HK SIM card. There’s an option when you load up Whatsapp that you can select.

More detailed information on getting a prepaid SIM card at HK airport from BeReady.net (Note error that the stores are on Level 7, NOT Level 6 as they mentioned – There is no Level 6!)

Wifi is available throughout the airport (#HKAirport Free Wifi). Just need to open up your browser and agree to the terms and conditions.

More on shopping and eating to come..