Chris Lynch dives head-first into the retail heaven that is Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay is located on Hong Kong Island. It's a great place to stay, particularly if you don't have much time, but still want to experience a little bit of everything Hong Kong has to offer. It's not quite as "local" as Kowloon, which is on the mainland opposite side of the Victoria Harbour, but there's enough of a local vibe to get you out of your Western bubble. Many roads are bigger and wider than in Kowloon. In fact it feels spacious, if there is such a thing in Hong Kong.
The Olympic games of shopping
If shopping were a sport, Causeway Bay's the home of the Olympics. This city is unashamedly commercial. Every available square metre is devoted to worshipping retail. Even though Causeway Bay is a relatively compact area, it would still take at least an entire day to work your way through its endless shopping malls, department stores, boutiques and market stalls.
If you get tired of navigating crowds, it's worth riding on the double-decker buses.
They're a great for sightseeing and they're cheap to ride.
The city's main focal point is Time Square. It's an incredible shopping complex. It's not as big as the other Time Square, but it's just as exciting. The mall is a good reference point to help you find way around Causeway Bay, but it's easy enough to get lost inside and spend hours just window-shopping. It's the largest shopping mall in the district, with an incredible 230 stores with everything from luxury fashion to more than 20 restaurants.
It's hard to miss, given its elaborate LED display above the entrance.
If the thought of a large mall sounds exhausting, there are plenty of smaller stores, knick-knack shops and side markets to keep you curiously entertained.
Personally, I preferred the Time Square mall and went there twice in two days. I visited around mid-morning on both occasions. At this time, it's quieter inside than outside.
If you're after fine fragrances at bargain prices, make sure you head into the Sasa store. They're scattered throughout Causeway Bay and sell heavily discounted genuine branded perfumes and the biggest range of cosmetic products I've seen.
Sometimes trying to figure out what local cuisine to choose can be exhausting, particularly if you're not used to 35C heat in 90 per cent humidity. I gave my brain a break on occasions and visited Starbucks to rev up before heading out into shopping land.
Where to eat
If you're looking for a dining experience and not just a quick bite, head to Crystal Jade Jiang Nan in Wan Chai. This restaurant offers a fantastic selection of tasty dim sum food.
In Tai Yau Plaza in Wan Chai, Crystal Jade Jiang Nan distinguishes itself from traditional Chinese restaurants with stylish and contemporary Chinese decor to create a cosy atmosphere. Crystal Jade Jiang Nan provides generous portions and the food is absolutely delicious. Try its homemade wine-flavoured egg and jellyfish bulb tossed with scallion oil.
The deep-fried baby yellow fish is also delicious, as is their braised pork ribs. If you're wanting to sample cuisines from different regions of China, and feeling adventurous, this restaurant is worth visiting.
Where to sleep
In keeping with the New York theme, and just a five-minute walk from Time Square and conveniently located to the city's main Causeway Bay train station, is the very trendy J Plus by YOO. I decided to stay here after reading fantastic reviews. The suites are spacious, and it's no wonder the Independent ranked it among the top five boutique hotels in Greater China. Users of TripAdvisor voted it one of the trendiest hotels in Hong Kong and China.
It has a fantastic open-air terrace, perfect for pre-dinner drinks. Speaking of drinks, J Plus by YOO offers complimentary wine for an hour each evening.
There's a decent-sized gym to keep you in shape after eating your way through the city.
And to celebrate the creative roots of the hotel, there's a dedicated art space in the lobby showcasing pop-up art exhibitions. The aim of this space is to foster the burgeoning art scene in Hong Kong and create a space for artists to showcase their work to travellers from around the world.
It's fantastic exposure for up-and-coming artists and the installations enhance the hotel's trendy urban decor.
IF YOU GO
flies daily from Auckland to Hong Kong.
Further information: See discoverhongkong.com.