Negotiating the Markets

On May 10, 2012, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Shopping, by Jack Li

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best activities to undertake on a travel to Beijing is shopping at the cities markets. This article will only provide a taster of what is to be expected, because, in the end, it is something which must be witnessed in order to experience their extravagance. The low prices of the items at the market do make me wonder whether people will (or do) take a China travel trip just to stock up on goodies. A few markets in which to explore include the Silk market, Yaxiu (Yashow) Market and the Pearl Market.

You may have heard of the phrase, ‘Buyer Beware’; well, in the case of these markets it is probably useful to adopt this approach. Most of the marketers are highly experienced and will seek out deals with foreigners. It is somewhat amusing to see how far the venders will go to secure a deal. For example, I bought a jacket at the Yaxiu market in which the seller would pour water over the product to prove the quality. I even have friends who have bought handbags, for example, and the salesperson has swiftly used a lighter on the product to demonstrate its authenticity.

Whatever the genuineness of the brands, the markets are still great places to buy low-cost items if you need to boost your wardrobe upon arrival to Beijing. If the stuff looks and feels okay, then I guess there is no major issue in purchasing. Compared to the other two markets, the Pearl Market felt slightly more civil in the sense that there was less beckoning from sellers to buy. Due to the character of the markets, it is necessary to haggle as these do not have fixed retail prices (so it is generally advisable not to compare prices to shops in your home country). Conversely, if you try to drive the price down too low then you may offend the seller and they will walk away.

As their names suggest, the Silk Market is known for selling silk and the Pearl market for pearls and these professions standout in both markets. It is enjoyable to observe the expertise of the tailors in the silk market preparing material and the dexterity of the pearl sellers stringing together a necklace. I can vouch that the silk section of the Silk Market does have a lot of choice, especially as I was able to buy a green tie (for Saint Patrick’s Day) for under 10RMB. Electronics and gadgets can be found at all the markets, but again, the durability may be best bought on the high-street.

If you are the type of person who is a self-admitted shopaholic, then perhaps this article has encouraged you on the internet to search Beijing flights. In that case, then to reach the Silk market, Yong’anli subway station, Exit A, is the best bet. Yaxiu Market is centred in Sanlitan, so is in a prime location if you also want to shop in the area. While the Pearl Market is straight oppose the Temple of Heaven so is acts as a complement to a full day out. As a hint, to get some of the best deals, it is worth shopping close to the shops’ closing time as this is when prices are slashed.





Jack Li

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