#toyhunt: Nori Takes Hong Kong by Josh Coldiron (Part 1/2)

This week we welcome Josh Coldiron (of Nori Toy), who brings us along on his #toyhunt in Hong Kong, in this special 2-part adventure! And check out GoogleMaps here to navigate … ONWARDS!

A guide for a hasty trips to the toy capital of the world.

Ah, Hong Kong, my mecca. There is plenty to do there; the fashion, the night life, the food—but if you're reading this, you are like us and are going for the toys. This is my second trip to Hong Kong and I have learned from past experience, you bring an empty luggage. I usually pack my clothes in one luggage, and place that into a larger luggage, so I can bring back as many toys as I can safely pack. The first trip allowed more luggage, but the airlines have tightened their belts on how much cargo we can haul. We have to be more creative these days.

This guide is not the end all, be all toy shopping experience to Hong Kong. This trip I had my baby with me, and a lil’ kaiju. It really added to the effort of pushing through HK to find these places. This guide is really a way to get the most out of a one or two day visit to HK to hunt for toys. I verified most of these places, and have mapped them out.

The first thing you need to know is how to get around HK. The MTR is the most efficient, cost effective way to get around. Keep in mind, it can be extremely crowded so keep a close eye on your belongings. They offer multi-day unlimited passes, which are great and allow you to make as many trips as your want to most places. Depending where you stay in relation to the areas I show you, you can consider just walking if the weather is on your side.

The next very important thing, possible the most important thing, is the be mindful of the shops’ hours. Many shops are open all day, every day. The bulk of your shopping is done at shops that are open after 6pm, and many only open on weekends. Friday and Saturday are the best days to go out from my experience, but its hard to be patient during the day waiting for stuff to open, so that is the time to be a tourist. Just keep in mind, HK is fast moving and you may not get a lot of chances to stand still to take photos and stare at things. Just find the flow and go with it.

Some of these places will haggle and discount some for bulk buys, but the negotiations did not go near as well as they did during my first trip. I think online sales has affected the super deals you can get in HK, but the prices are still good. I made an excel document on my phone with the retail prices of stuff I was looking for and their HK exchange rate. I wanted to be able to quickly decide if it was a good deal or not. Some places raise the price when they see a foreigner and you have to be able to walk away sometimes.

I had another document on my phone to track locations I went to, and the price of items I wanted. I had not originally planned to do that, but I am glad I did as it saved me a bit on some items that I was able to apply to others.

Many people do speak English there, which is great but keep in mind most speak Cantonese. Some might speak Mandarin, and the writing tends to be in Chinese. There is enough English around to get to where you need to go. If your limited in your communications, just be patient and friendly and you should be able to work out the exchanges. Its easy to find locals or other tourists that might point you in the right direction.

The area I am going to cover is Mong Kok. Toy shops span across the land mass there, but for a quick trip, you can get the most out of it if you concentrate in one area. I would had ventured out further like my first trip, but with the baby in tow, I wanted to play it safe. In this area you have In’s Point, CTMA, Ginza Place, and Sino. They are all walking distance from each other, so if you take the MTR to one stop it will be simple to get to to all these shopping centers.

Most of these shops only take cash. Luckily money changers are everywhere. Some have good rates, and others very poor. At the time of writing this, I found the best rates outside of In’s Point. A 7.6 exchange rate was the highest I found. Some had as low as 7.0. The better the rate, the more you can buy. Our credit card did have an even better exchange, but the places that do take CC may want to charge you around 3% to use it. If its a high dollar item, you might be able to negotiate that out.

The CTMA building is a great place to start. The main shops upstairs are open during the day, but the basement doesn’t open up till the evening. The whole spectrum of toy collecting is covered in this building. This was also one of the few places I noticed a fair amount of vinyl art toys, though mind you they are Eastern Vinyl. Most toy shops are clustered together, but there is one robot shop on the 9th floor worth checking out.

Superman Toys. If for no other reason, you should visit this shop just to see their display case on the right. It is so chocked full of rare vinyl it will blow your mind. Half the store is more towards Eastern Vinyl and the other to robots and action figures. Many large high end items are only preorder.

This Shop (above) carries mostly Sentinel and Kidslogic figures. All very high quality stuff. I had not seen these since I was kid (Below), yet a whole store here is dedicated to them. Downstairs is all sorts of shops at night (Bottom). From anime artbooks to all sorts of robots and figures.

*Next week we continue with Josh's #toyhunt adventures!*

- This #toyhunt article is authored entirely by Josh Coldiron for TOYSREVIL!
- All images via Josh Coldiron and are used with kind permission.
- To see more images from this trip check out Nori’s instragram @noritoy
- If you have questions about these shops direct them to @noritoy on Twitter.
- Find Nori here
- Josh blogs @ noritoy.blogspot.com
- You can also reach him via email at info@noritoy.com if you are interested in contracting illustration or design work.