Counterfeit Shopping in Asia – Where To Buy Cheap Designer Fakes

in Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam

We all know that counterfeit goods are bad, but those affordable handbag copies and super-cheap pirated DVDs hawked in Asian marketplaces are mighty tempting.

While we’d never encourage loading up your suitcase with these faux products, if you can’t help yourself we suggest frequenting the following cheap and cheerful shopping centers.

Thailand is the king of the counterfeiters, with most of them doing a roaring trade in Bangkok. The latest bootlegged albums and even fake IDs are available on Khao Sarn Road. Factory seconds and other cheap gadgets are sold at Pantip Plaza. Quality does vary, and you won’t get any of those shiny warranties, but you might just find a bargain. Just make sure that your preferred language is switched from Thai to English before you depart with your new toys. If your needs are less specific, then the Chatuchak Weekend Market is ideal. It’s the world’s largest market, selling everything from live chickens to handicrafts. You might spot Coach and Gucci logos on the accessories, but if they’re sold here don’t expect authenticity.

If Thailand’s capital is a little hectic for you, then enjoy life at a slightly slower pace at Chiang Mai. The city is famous for more than its elephant nature park; its night bazaar has a diverse array of goodies including many impressive designer copies. Shop from sunset each night for these treats, but be prepared to haggle. Prices typically start higher than they do in Bangkok, so you’ll need to do some work to get a bargain.

Hong Kong loves to shop for fine designer goods, but if you want them you’ll need to frequent the country’s malls. For the same looks at much cheaper prices, the markets are your best bets. The Ladies Market in Hong Kong is great for a girl’s night out, with vendors selling handbags, apparel, and other items targeted at fashion-forward females. While you’re spending up, your other half can busy himself at Mongkok Computer Shopping Center around the corner, or the tech-focused Sai Yeung Choi Street South located one street over.

The underperforming dong allows most Western travelers to live the high life in Vietnam, which makes it a great shopping destination. For the best bargains head to Ben Thanh Market, just outside Ho Chi Minh city. I’m not sure any of the Nike shoes, Ray-Bans sunglasses, and Tag watches are genuine, but they certainly look it. The dollar DVDs are also a big attraction for movie buffs.

But before purchasing designer replicas and counterfeit goods, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Often that’s watches that will turn your wrists green, sunglasses that won’t protect your eyes, films that are barely watchable, and apparel that will fall apart quickly. It could also land you a nasty fine when you return home, so make sure you research your own country’s rules on counterfeit goods before shopping up a storm.

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