One of the benefits of business travel is the ability to buy LEGO in different places, which also gives one a nice diversion from work when out and about in foreign lands. Lately I have been lucky to return to Hong Kong – and would like to share a few notes with you.
Before getting started, if you have any general questions about Hong Kong – visit their excellent travel guide website. If you find any of the information on this post has become out of date, please let us know. I don’t take an responsibility for any of this information changing, so you may want to double-check if planning a special trip.
When shopping for LEGO, always have your smartphone ready so you can look up the price at home or at least get the Bricklink new/used sales average for your area for the last month. You may see a set while abroad and want it NOW – however once you’ve done the currency conversion and stuffed it into your suitcase – it could have been cheaper or simpler to just order it from home.
There are three main reasons to buy LEGO in Hong Kong:
- HK is on a different release schedule so you can get sets earlier than in Australia
- There is an excellent retail second-hand and old set scene
- Typhoon alert has sounded and you want something to do in the hotel room
Note that there is no GST/VAT/sales tax in Hong Kong. There is also one reason not to buy LEGO in Hong Kong – new LEGO is expensive. The market is supplied (I think) via an importer and not LEGO themselves (same as in Malaysia and other countries) so RRP may be higher than you expect. So when you see the following sticker on your set – get ready to pay:
One random example was set 60153 “Fun at the beach“, a new set available for HK$369:
At the current exchange rate this is around AU$67, nine dollars dearer than our RRP. You can get this set here for around $48 after a few minutes effort. Interestly enough this pricing didn’t stop the locals, at every store I visited they were doing a roaring trade!
Speaking of which, a rundown of the stores I visited…
Toys ‘R Us
Just like seagulls, TRU is everywhere and has a few outlets in Hong Kong. They run their own promotions, such as free polybags with themed sets – so if there is a store nearby, it won’t hurt to check it out.
The LEGO store
There is an “official” LEGO store in the Langham Place shopping centre in Mong Kok. Click here for the map. Apart from at least fourteen levels of shops there are also plenty of food options and retail opportunites for the non-LEGO fans.
The LEGO store is on level twelve, at the highest point of the level. (The levels are all built on a slight angle, totally nuts but you’ll understand when you see it). When choosing a lift at the ground floor – choose the correct lift! Not all of them stop at all the levels, for example:
Same with the escalators, they skip levels and the whole place in general is an omnishambles. Perfectly designed to trap you inside and intimidate the new visitor. However once you crack the code the store will present itself:
Inside the store you will find the full LEGO range available for the HK market, a “Pick-a-brick” wall, a few sets exclusive to LEGO stores and the usual oddities such as pens and keyrings. There’s a few displays of Nathan Road in LEGO which are very well done, for example:
They do not have the self-portait set facility as done in London and in general as an experienced AFOL it was a little bit of a let-down. Again, a store for the locals which is a success. So have a look around, check out the new sets, maybe get some bricks. There is a nice coffe shop across from the entrance with comfortable seats for you to relax in for a while.
Let’s Go LEGO
We’ve been here a few times, they’re a great independent LEGO retailer with not only new sets, but a great range of older new sets that may tickle your fancy:
Plus some nice displays from the local LEGO clubs. Well worth a visit! At the time of my last visit they were just about to move location, so ask them for the new address via Facebook.
In’s Point Arcade
I have left the best until last. In’s Point is a creepy little arcade of tiny stores located on levels of 530-538 Nathan Rd, Yau Ma Tei. Click here for the map. The closest MTR exit is Yau Ma Tei A2. Then walk along Nathan Road until you see the following above two tiny lift doors:
All that neon doesn’t mean “Awesome LEGO arcade”, it’s the sign for a restaurant on the top floor. Head up to level two and start exploring! There’s two levels of tiny, tiny stores offering all sorts of toys, and around one-third of them had LEGO of some sort.
From minifigs to huge sets, old to new – it was all there. Except Fabuland… which doesn’t need an explanation. One example that caught my eye (but not my wallet) was:
A BNIB (Brand New In Box) 6891… HK$3500 which is around AU$636. Bricklink new average was $AU$439, so perhaps a deal there for the hard-core classic space fans.
Personally I went pretty hard here, and staggered out with the following haul:
The stores are mostly operated by people with day jobs, so most will not open until after four or five o’clock – so you may want to visit during the day, and again in the evening. Closed stores usually have a means of contact posted in the window. Furthermore – take cash. I couldn’t remember seeing an ATM up there so be prepared.
Speaking of being prepared, Hong Kong is a hot and pushy place at the best of times. Stay hydrated, keep your energy up and if you’re not in a mad rush – life will be easier if you let people zoom past you.
Buying other brick-style construction toys.
If you want a fleet of Horizon Expresses without the real-train price tag – it’s time to venture off into the markets and scope out the “other” sets. To save repeating myself, check out this older post.
So that’s all I have for you this time. There may be more stores, so if you have any additions or errata, please let me know via email – john at ozbrick dot com.
In the meanwhile, have fun and make something.