Buying swimwear in Hong Kong is no mean feat if you are:
a) over a UK size 8
b) in need of a bra AT ALL TIMES when out and about in order to avoid startling passers-by.
While there are a great options at the higher end of the price spectrum, the bargain cossies that I miss from the UK are few and far between. I personally hate buying swimwear online as it’s pretty much impossible to guarantee a decent fit. So what to do if you’re unwilling to part with $$$ but want to avoid the Shamu look on your next holiday? Take a trip down the Island Line to North Point.
I’d heard rumours of a magical swimwear expert camped out east via the all-knowing oracle that is the HK Moms Facebook group. Seriously, about 99% of all worldly knowledge is contained within this magic portal… along with 99% of everything head-scratching about the internet. The ability to scan effectively, plus a stopwatch is necessary if you’re planning on signing up to this forum of over 11,000 Hong Kong parents (EDIT – you can tell this post was written a while back as HK Moms now numbers 20,000 parents, and growing every day). It’s brilliant and VERY addictive, as all the guiltiest pleasures should be!
Anyway, I gathered my data, called tame North Point resident, friend and business partner Rach to help me on my mission/console me with cake afterwards as applicable, and set off in search of perfect togs.
Ms Ching, as I now know she is called, is tucked away in a nondescript building just opposite exit B1 of North Point MTR. She has two tiny cubicles packed to the rafters with swimwear; mostly for ladies, although there are also some kids and gents options, including rash vests and full UV suits for the little ones. Roll up your sleeves and get hunting – whether you’re after one-piece, bikini, tankini or cut-out styles, you’ll find them here, in a huge variety of colours, prints, styles and – crucially – sizes.
What you won’t find are specific maternity styles, although many of the costumes I saw would probably be easily adapted. Neither will you get the really big brands (though there are a few names you’ll recognise), so if you’re hoping to score a discount designer bikini, you’ll be disappointed.
Although she doesn’t speak much English and my Canto is pretty much limited to “jo sahn” and “lei dou”, Ms Ching immediately found about twelve suitable costumes in my size and style, and was very happy for me to try these on, giving me some honest feedback, (“yes! Very good!”, “oh NO!”) along the way. I finally alighted on a style I liked by UK brand French Connection… except for the fact that the neckline plunged to the naval. Not a good look post breastfed baby, I’m sorry to report. Not an issue. Ms Ching whipped out her pins and thread and was making on-the-spot alterations before I knew what was happening, leaving me with a respectable, but still stylish suit.
I have to say, I did get a little carried away and, although I’d only originally come in for one item, ended up leaving with three: the French Connection one-piece in two colours, plus a basic black tankini which fit like a glove and, at $160, was too good a bargain to pass up.
So the final reckoning? Three swimsuits, all double-lined and tailored to fit in 10 minutes: $580. Yep, less than 50% of the price I’d anticipated having to spend on ONE suit, and altered while I waited. You really can’t say fairer than that.
If you’re off on holiday, want a change of style or just love a bargain, I’d highly recommend investigating Ms Ching’s North Point hideout as there’s just so much to choose from. Spend your savings on cocktails round the pool.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 11am – 6pm(ish).
Room 123, 1/F, Plaza 888, 441- 447 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong; 9088 6693 (text your enquiry and Ms Ching will ask her son to translate for you).
From North Point MTR, take exit B1 and cross the road at the crossing in front of you. Plaza 888 is just along the road to your right and Ms Ching’s is on the first floor above what I think is a lighting shop.
Would big boobed ladies find something there? Might have to pay her a visit!
Certainly will Nicola! From *ahem* personal experience I can confirm that there’s a pretty generous size range.
And once again, you’re telling me this now? 😉
I know, I’m sorry! I think back at all the awful/awfully pricy swimsuits I’ve owned since I’ve been in HK and wish I’d heard of this place sooner!
At least in Europe you’ll be spoiled for choice!
Do you know the opening hours or the phone number to the shop? Want to go there this Saturday 🙂
I’m afraid I don’t have a phone number and would advise heading there in the afternoon as I don’t think it opens early. Sadly my Cantonese doesn’t stretch as far as finding out the details!
Good luck – I hope you find a great swimsuit!
No prob, will go there in the afternoon then, thanks! 🙂
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Oh, I never got the chance to mention, I went to the shop couple months ago and saw that great selection you mentioned. Not only I could try out all the different swimsuits with no bad look from sales, I was able to mix and match similar bottom and top as certain styles fit my body but not the whole set. As I was chit chatting with the store lady I told her about your blog, and she was so happy cuz she has been wondering how come there’s so many foreigners that started going to her store, LOL! She told me to thank you for spreading the words for it. I got her name card, thought it would be easier for others to know where it is, the address is: Room 123, 1/F, 88 Plaza, 441-447 King’s Road, North Point. Her number is 90886693, she said anyone could message her, she might only know minimal English but will get her son to translate the message for her if she really doesn’t know what it means. Her shop opens by 11am-6-ish. There’s no rush being at the place, but there’s only one changing room, so if there’s more than just you, then may need to wait. I took my time to try on the suits, I was there for almost 1.5 hours LOL
THANK YOU for this update! I’m so thrilled that she’s had a little bit more business as she’s really lovely and definitely deserves it! I’ll update the opening hours on the post too — thanks for that!
Hope you found the perfect swimwear and thanks again for reading!
Went back to this place after some time and sadly it is no longer in business. I’m gutted!!
Ah, that is so sad!