One of the Must See Attractions when you travel to Beijing is the enormous six storey Silk Market. It is very convenient on the subway from most Beijing hotels and taxi prices are reasonable, just be sure to get the chinese name for where you are going as there is a very high chance the driver will not speak any English.

You will find a huge amount of stalls selling a variety of merchandise, and there is an entrance directly from Yong’anli subway station which brings you into the centre of the action, starting at the lower floors selling mostly handbags and shoes. Goods are mostly imitations of well known designer and high street brands, although non branded items are available alongside this. All the big brands are here including Chanel, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin etc and there is quite a range of high street from Adidas to Zara.


The pedestrian entrance walking from the subway to the market itself is also worth a look, as it sells a range of trinkets, magnets, gadgets and stationary – perfect as a gift for someone back home! There are also unusual inventions here that you would expect to see in Asia, for instance a mini fish tank complete with a built in alarm clock, side light and pen holder!

 

You can catch the lift or take escalators up to the further levels selling clothing, electronics, jewellery, children’s toys and homeware products, you name it and there is a high chance it is probably for sale at the market somewhere! Even newer and less obvious brands are replicated at the Silk Market, for example Cath Kidston’s iconic floral printed accessories and the very popular Lelli Kelly embellished children’s shoes.

 

There are many restaurants and snack stalls around, they appear to be more concentrated on the higher levels and prices are reasonable. The famous Quanjude Peking Duck restaurant has a space on the sixth floor and there are also other food options such as a McDonalds within walking distance.

The market is extremely busy, usually attracting around 50,000 visitors on a daily basis, therefore the sellers are very experienced and will start with extortionate prices. Be prepared to haggle hard as the starting price is likely to be hugely inflated, it is possible for a starting price of 5000 RMB to be haggled down to around 80 RMB. It is easy to spend all day there, exploring the various stalls and different quality of items available.

 

If you are after a slightly easier time with more chance of a bargain or just a tiny bit more space it may be worth visiting in the early morning or evening, as the market is open daily from 9am until 9pm, however due to the guaranteed hoards of potential customers you may still end up paying more than you should be.

 

If you are unsure about navigating the market or the sights and sounds of china, there are many Beijing tours available including specialist shopping tours. There are options for whatever length you require, including multi trip tours that also visit other major Chinese places of interest such as Shanghai and Xian.

Jack Li

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