We tell you geeks how to have “real” fun at some of the most popular destinations in Asia.
Singapore is considered a shoppers’ paradise. Two major electronic attractions are Sim Lim Square and Funan DigitaLife Mall. Sim Lim Square, spread over 390,000 sq. ft, has seven storeys of nothing but tech oozing out of every corner. Be prepared to walk a lot, and don’t forget to bargain. The place is humongous, and you could spend days there without visiting the same shop twice. Most shops stack products from different vendors, making them a one-stop shop for all your gadget needs. Consider this: You’ll find 23 shops selling GPS devices and over 35 selling audio and video equipment. Remember, these “shops” are not like our corner shops that sell mobiles, mice and keyboards, they’re actually more like “showrooms”.
Sim Lim Square sells Apple products cheap, and Apple paraphernalia even cheaper. It’s situated near Little India and is accessible via MRT, the local train transit system.
Gadget heaven: The Pantip Plaza in Bangkok
Another great destination for electronic products is Funan DigitaLife Mall. Considered an upmarket competitor of Sim Lim Square, the biggest tech shop here is Challenger Superstore, which occupies almost the entire sixth floor of the mall and is open 24 hours.
A big store worth trying out here is Harvey Norman. The mall also hosts regular promotional events and exhibitions for new product launches.
Tip: Singapore is a little cheaper in terms of MP3 players.
Bangkok is a popular vacation spot, and although its popularity is not really due to tech, the locals thankfully are tech-crazy enough to warrant some of the best shopping in South-East Asia.
Your first stop should be Pantip Plaza, which is basically a mall dedicated to gadgets.
You will find large stores from Hewlett-Packard, Canon and Brother on the ground floor. The rest of the mall is filled with dealers who sell high-end computer gear, scanners, laptops, printers, etc. Data IT is a mini computer superstore on the second floor, and you’ll find pretty much anything you need there.
The third floor is pirate heaven, and although we expect you to walk straight up to the fourth floor, something tells us you won’t. You will get absolutely everything under the sun in terms of software and games here. The IT City is the entire fifth floor; it sells pre-built computers, and hosts exhibitions.
Digital Gateway is a four-storeyed IT hub in Bangkok. You’ll find all the latest gadgets and IT-related exhibitions here. Most big technology brands have stores here, including Samsung, Sony and Fujitsu. Of course, you will also find independent IT dealers. In addition, there is the Fortune Town IT Mall, which offers friendlier services than Pantip Plaza, and if you’re looking for some family time out topped with some electronic shopping, then head to MBK Center.
Tip: Look for shops where the locals are buying stuff from, chances are you’ll find the best bargain deals there.
Hong Kong has been synonymous with cheap electronic shopping. However, there isn’t as huge a difference now as there used to be between it and other Asian countries.
The spirit of shopping in Hong Kong lies in its street culture—you can find anything from trinkets to expensive gadgets piled one on top of the other at these markets.
Golden Computer Arcade is where you’ll find independent shops selling almost everything that has a chip in it. A few attractions of this place are inane toybots. If you’re a die-hard gamer then this is the place where you’ll find salvation. The price margins are pretty tight, so the quintessential bargaining techniques might not work. Be prepared for a sensory overload as you’ll see more tech products than anywhere else. Visit the Central Field store, assistants there know their stuff and aren’t pushy.
Tip: Look for international warranties while making a purchase.
Plan your travel around these events
What: CeBIT Australia 2011
When: 31 May-2 June
What: Computex 2011
When: 31 May-4 June
Where: Hong Kong
What: Hong Kong Electronic Fair
When: 13-16 October
What: SITEX IT Show
When: 24-27 November
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