If you are in the last few days of your China travel adventure, Beijing is definitely the best place to be to look for a large selection of souvenirs for friends and family back home. There is so much choice around the city, from specialist souvenir shops in Beijing hotels, to giant shopping malls, to the markets and areas surrounding tourist attractions. Here are a few potential gift options:

 

Modelled Dolls

This may be more of a souvenir for yourself, or your family, however the creative model makers found throughout the city can make very realistic replicas of your face from either studying you in person or looking at a good photo. Expect to pay a bit more than you would for a generic souvenir but these are so unusual and detailed it is definitely worth the extra cost.

 

Wooden Dolls

These have a cartoon-like Asian feel, and come in a variety of colours and designs. They are widely available at markets and in small stalls at markets or down side streets in the city. Small dolls (around 4 inches high) can be had for around 10rmb, but there are many different sizes to choose from.

 

Lucky Cats
Often seen when you enter a Chinese Takeaway in the west, the Chinese lucky cat has a presence here and there are many small shops inside Beijing Malls selling the ornaments with a variety of designs and meanings. In addition to ornaments you can also purchase key rings, vases, wind chimes, crockery and phone charms with the theme.

 

Traditional Souvenirs

There are plenty of the popular souvenir items available in Beijing too. Head for the markets, especially Silk and Yashow for the biggest selection. Generally on the higher floors there is a souvenir section, bargain hard and you can get things for very reasonable prices. Items for sale include magnets, shot glasses, snow globes, fans, silk items, chopsticks and lanterns.

 

Food Items

If you are in Beijing around the Mid Autumn Festival you can pick up Chinese Moon Cakes in a variety of sizes and flavours. These make interesting gifts to bring back home and are often decoratively packages. Many other food items are available including selections of tea, dried herbs and fruits, unusual sweets, chocolate and biscuits.

 

Bigger Items

If you have plenty of spare luggage space there is lots of choice for larger and heavier items. The obvious choice would be ‘designer’ goods including handbags, purses and clothing. Jade and pearls are plentiful, both imitation and real. Other popular options include tea sets, paintings, calligraphy, wall hangings and mahjong sets.

 

Personalised Stamps

Nearby popular tourist attractions you can get a stamp carved with your (or any) name in Chinese alongside your Chinese Zodiac sign. You simply write it down, pronounce it out loud and watch it being made in front of you. Again there are many sizes and designs to choose from. They also sell traditional ink and present the stamp in a gift box. They will also test the stamp for you to check you are happy with the result.

 

If you end up shopping to much you can also send your extra purchases home via surface mail although this can take up to two months to arrive. Your Beijing hotel may be able to assist with this as you will probably need a Chinese speaker to help you.

 

Jack Li

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