Shopping in Beijing

On June 27, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, by Jack Li

When you travel to Beijing, you will end up wanting to bring a piece of Beijing home with you.  Depending on what you want to purchase as a souvenir, there are many places to shop in Beijing. From the minute you step off of one of your China flights, you are greeted with not only […]

When you travel to Beijing, you will end up wanting to bring a piece of Beijing home with you.  Depending on what you want to purchase as a souvenir, there are many places to shop in Beijing. From the minute you step off of one of your China flights, you are greeted with not only a massive airport, but also many places to shop. From the markets to shopping malls to street vendors, the options are endless.

If you wish to purchase knock-off brands then either the Silk, Pearl, or Yaxiu Market are the places to visit. Items here are relatively cheap, but haggling is a must. The silk market is one of the most popular markets for tourists in Beijing with every floor differing in what it offers. Due to this market being a popular tourist destination, the majority of the salespeople will speak a reasonable amount of English. This market also has vendors that will make custom-made suits or dresses for travelers, but as always, be careful to not get tricked into overpaying for these items.  The Pearl Market, similar to the Silk Market, has floors that differ in what they offer. Near the temple of Heaven, the Pearl Market is also a popular tourist attraction and sells an assortment of inexpensive Chinese relics. It is also essential that you bargain here and it is advisable to cut the seller’s price in half initially and then work from there. Lastly, Yaxiu Market is located in Sanlitun and like the aforementioned markets, the floors are categorized according to the type of products offered. The main way in which this market is different than the others is that is offers a number of small beauty salons that are squeezed in along one of the walls. In these salons, you can get your eyebrows trimmed, nails painted, and feet massaged at a reasonable price. As with the other markets, you must be prepared to bargain. These markets are fabulous places to buy yourself or loved ones inexpensive souvenirs.

If you find that you would prefer to not haggle for prices and would rather go to a calmer atmosphere, then Wangfujing is the place for you. This area is home to three large markets: Sun Dong An Plaza, Beijing Department Store and The Malls at Oriental Plaza. Here, they mainly sell designer clothes, but you can also find an assortment of makeup, jewelry, wines and spirits, as well as tea shops. Although the prices are higher than normal, this is not a place to make a bargain, but also keep in mind the items sold here are of a better quality. However, there is a side street next to Wangfujing, which is the snack street that comes alive after six in the evening. Here, you can haggle for prices because prices will immediately be shot up for foreign people. There is a plethora of foods to try here ranging from scorpions to fried dumplings.

There are many places to shop in Beijing for it is a vast city. Depending on what you wish to purchase, there are many places you can go. For those who are wary of haggling, then a shopping mall or an area like Wangfujing may come as a breath of fresh air. However, if you are willing to buy your souvenirs at a market where prices can be argued over, then it is certainly an experience you should embark on when you travel to Beijing.

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The Silk Market Strikes Back

On June 18, 2012, in Beijing, Shopping, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

This past Saturday my fellow interns and I gathered together our wallets, poker faces, and headed over to the silk market as a much anticipated part of our China travel, .  We returned with lighter wallets, and lots of swag.  Here are some more tips for buying anything at the Silk Market when you travel to Beijing: Get […]

This past Saturday my fellow interns and I gathered together our wallets, poker faces, and headed over to the silk market as a much anticipated part of our China travel, .  We returned with lighter wallets, and lots of swag.  Here are some more tips for buying anything at the Silk Market when you travel to Beijing:

Get used to saying No

If you aren’t saying no much more than you say yes, then you’re doing it wrong.  Most vendors’ first price will be in the stratosphere (Someone tried to sell me a t-shirt for 500 RMB, see you there) and they will try to get the highest price out of you that you are willing to pay.  Don’t even consider the early prices, give a firm “NO” and tell them much lower price that you would like to say.  Stay firm with your price, and don’t feel the need to raise your number every time they lower theirs.  One of my friends fell into this trap, she spent too much time thinking about offered prices, and she let her price gradually rise.  Give the vendors an inch and they will take a mile, they’re very good and what they do.  When the vendor gets into range of my price, however, I’ll usually try to meet them halfway.  This relentless stubbornness, coupled with a little giving at the end has worked well for me.

Use a strong team

If possible, travel to the markets with someone who is as willing to negotiate as hard as you are.  My friend and I acted as a team for anything item that either of us wanted to purchase.  Since I was not invested in his purchases, and he was not invested in mine, we were always able to save the other from a bad deal and get a better price.  Don’t underestimate the power of teamwork.  That being said, the vendors will try to appeal to everyone in your group, be it children, parents, significant others, or insignificant others to buy their wares.  Be sure that everyone is on the same page before you begin to bargain.

You’ll get better deals late at night

As it gets later and later vendors just want to unload their stuff.  Bargaining takes less time and vendors are more willing to accept your price than they are earlier in the day.  The two caveats to keep in mind are that some of the stalls close before the rest close at 9PM, and you will be one of the few customers still in the market, so everyone’s attention will be directed at you.

Everyone has the same stuff

With the exception of only a few stalls that sell unique handmade goods, most of the vendors are selling basically the same thing.  Don’t get attached to any stall or owner, if the two of you can’t agree on a price walk away.  You might get a better price and if not who cares, you can try your hand at bargaining for the same thing at the next stall.  Also – If any of the vendors are rude to you (one of them said my friend was ugly and no one would remember him) then don’t buy anything from them, move on to the next one.  There are too many nice people there trying to make a living to worry yourself with the bad eggs.

 

The Silk Market is a great stop to make on your Beijing Tours.  Good luck, happy bargaining.

The Pearl Market Beijing.

On October 18, 2010, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, by Jack Li

Hongqiao Market  or Beijing Pearl Market as it is better known is one of the best markets in Beijing it is shopping heaven, they sell literally everything Coats,bags,jewlery,acessories,shoes,electrical good, food, and tea the list could go on you will not be disappointed. As a self confessed shoperholic I was in my element, like a kid […]

Hongqiao Market  or Beijing Pearl Market as it is better known is one of the best markets in Beijing it is shopping heaven, they sell literally everything Coats,bags,jewlery,acessories,shoes,electrical good, food, and tea the list could go on you will not be disappointed. As a self confessed shoperholic I was in my element, like a kid in a sweet shop! When I arrived I wasn’t to sure what to think because from the outside it is a very plain old looking building however when you enter, golly gosh, you just know you’re not going to be able to leave for another 5 hours at least! In fact I stayed for 6 hrs and have been back a further 3 times to visit I would defiantly put a whole day aside to do the market there is so much to see.

New Bag!!

The best way to get there is to take subway line 5 to Tiantan Dongmen Station and take exit A. I would suggest going in the week because on the weekend it becomes very touristy and busy with coach trips and it’s a bit more difficult to barter. If you would like to take a tour round to the market I would recommend taking it with China Tours as they are the best value for money and most flexible.

Once in the market you do have to barter and when I say barter I don’t just mean down a few Yuan its more like 10% of the first price they orginally ask for! It is very hard work and can get a bit fraught in the end, especially in the handbag section but just keep at it as long as your offereing a resnable price they will usually go for it. A great tip is to walk away ,the vendor will almost certainly grab you back and give you the price you want because they know and you know the stall next door sells exactly the same thing! Don’t be surprised if the vendor is a bot forward, the vendor wont think twice about touching grabbing or in some cases giving you a little hit the first time this happens it can be a bit of a shock however don’t be scared this is very normal behaviour. During bargaining  I have been hit on numerous occasion its not vicious its just the way things are done in the market! When walking around the market the vendors will literally grab you  and try to take you into there shop  this being the case its very easy to lose fellow shoppers I would suggest to visit the market in small groups as it easier to keep together.

There are 3 magical floors to the market with its a great place to get Christmas and birthday presents for as it’s very cheap and something for everyone. If you feel a bit peckish there is also a food section where small meals can be purchased. I would defiantly sat wear very light clothes as the market sometimes gets very hot and stuffy due to the volume of people in the market, and ensure you have a bottle of water.

Now my favourite floor of all is the bag floor which has the amazing but very fake designer bags, they have a variety of colours sizes shapes with makes from Gucci to Prada and Fendi also great Louis Vuitton they are all of great quality and usually leather its best to shop  around to ensure the best fake. A little tip is to always look on the inside of the bag to make sure its the same quality inside and out. They also have an array of shoes however this was not so much of a good experience for me because being a very tall girl I have rather large feet sadly china is not ready for my shoes size as I was hard pushed to find a single pair that even came close to fitting!! I felt a bit like a big footed giant ……… i’m only a size 7!!

The top floor is pearl heaven as soon as you walk in you will see rows upon rows of beautiful pearls they have thousands of necklaces,earrings and rings of all different varieties and quality items can also be made up on the spot. But again remember to do some hard bargaining. The chinese vendors will also try and prove how real the pearls are this is done with a process of burning the pearl and showing it doesn’t melt and also scratching it with scissors and showing it doesn’t mark its fascinating to see I would suggest to ask to see this done if your going to buy any pearls.

A successful day was had by all!

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