markets

Shopping at the zoo

On July 10, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Must-sees, Shopping, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

The first time I traveled to China, I didn’t put a lot of stuff in my suitcase because I thought I would buy a lot of cheap things to bring back home, especially clothes. I thought that in during my Beijing Tour I could easily find good looking clothes at a cheap price. It was […]

The first time I traveled to China, I didn’t put a lot of stuff in my suitcase because I thought I would buy a lot of cheap things to bring back home, especially clothes. I thought that in during my Beijing Tour I could easily find good looking clothes at a cheap price. It was a long way to go before I actually found my match. I first went to big shopping malls with all western shops and brands, the prices were the same than in Europe, except it was in RMB (20€ = 200¥). Therefore, it means that it was even more expensive since Euro currency’s rate is lower than Chinese Yuan’s. That wasn’t what I was looking for, so I went to some fake markets. There are 2 big fake markets in Beijing : the Silk market at Yonganli station and the Yashow market in Sanlitun. I’ve never seen such markets : five-floor buildings only dedicated to counterfeit goods and one of the rare places where salesmen speaks English and a bit of many other languages. You have to bargain for each article in order to not to be fooled, and get very low prices. But the good thing is that except buying clothes, you can also find bags, accessories, jewelry, watches, sun glasses and some electronic devices (especially epilation machines which are the hardest thing to find at a good price in China).

Fortunately, thanks to a Chinese friend of mine I finally found a place that met my shopping expectations, the wholesale market. This market is actually divided into 7 markets, all located near the Beijing Zoo. The most popular ones are Julong, Tuanlegong and Shiji Tianle. I usually go to the Julong market which is an underground shopping center, the entrance is besides McDonals and Ito Yokado supermarket. At wholesale stores, they don’t sell branded goods, but all the things they sell is bound for exportation, so the clothes are quite fashionable. I can spend hours and hours looking for the perfect gem, actually sometimes I just don’t know what to choose since the choice seems unlimited among those mountains of clothes. If you are ready for this type of expedition, the better is to arrive around midday since the market closes his doors at 4:30pm. What I like there is that you don’t need to bargain, prices are already quite low and most of them are written on signs. For example I bought a pair of ballerinas for only 29RMB and cool T-shirts for 10RMB. Other thing, you won’t probably see a lot of foreigners there, only few salespersons can speak English, but they know basic sentences like “how much is it?”. I only shop at the Zoo Market on weekdays, I feel much more comfortable since it isn’t overcrowded, and you can slowly wander among the alleys.

 I think that this is definetly the place to go if you are tired of bargaining during your travel to Beijing.

How to get there ?

Subway: Take the subway line 4 directly to Beijing Zoo (动物园).
Buses: No. 16, 105, 107, 111, 347, 808, 814
Express buses: No 104,105, 106, 205

Julong Foreign Trade Market 聚龙外贸市场)
Exhibition Square, 135 Xizhimen Waidajie, Xicheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市西城区西直门外大街135号展览馆广场

Shiji Tianle (世纪天乐)
28 Xizhimen Waidajie Nanlu, Xicheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市西城区西直门外大街南路28号

Jinkailide Building (金开利德大厦)
136 Jinkailide Building, Xizhimen Waidajie, Xicheng District, Beijing
地址:北京市西城区西直门外大街136号金开利德大厦

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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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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 […]

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.

 

 

 

 

Beijing Supermarkets

On April 18, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Shopping, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

No matter if you are in need of daily consumer goods or you’re just interested to see how supermarkets in China are different from the ones you’re used to, you won’t have trouble finding them. If you travel to Beijing you’ll find many international chain supermarkets, like Carrefour, Wal-mart, Metro or Merry Mart, just like […]

No matter if you are in need of daily consumer goods or you’re just interested to see how supermarkets in China are different from the ones you’re used to, you won’t have trouble finding them. If you travel to Beijing you’ll find many international chain supermarkets, like Carrefour, Wal-mart, Metro or Merry Mart, just like in any other big city in the world. Smaller supermarkets can be found in almost every corner of the city and if you book one of the Beijing hotels there will certainly be several of them in the vicinity. The smaller ones might be slightly more expensive than the big ones but still very convenient if you don’t need much.

When you walk into the supermarket building you’ll pass numerous stands or little shops where you can buy shoes, bags, flowers, jewelry and you’ll pass those again on your way out. Also, in front on the supermarkets are usually vendors selling fruit, DVDs and other things. So in general it’s more than just the supermarket itself where you have the opportunity to buy things. Inside the market you can find nearly anything. There is not only a huge amount of food but also clothes, electronic household appliances, household goods etc.

There is a large variety of products that most people from Europe or America have probably never seen or bought before. Anyone who’s open to new things should give it a try and go for some unknown products like the various snacks that come in little packages for example. Especially in the bakery section there is not much you can do wrong, even if you can’t read any ingredients, and there are many tasty things to find. On the other hand, a lot looks familiar because many products from other countries have become quite popular here and international brands can be found as well, no matter if they offer soft drinks, laundry detergent or special kinds of sweets. Some international brands even print the ingredients in Chinese and in English, although you really have to look for it. A very interesting section is the fresh fruit and vegetable section which offers both known and unknown products. Things like lotus root, palm hearts or okra that are hard to find and very expensive in other places are common products here.

The general rule about the price is that everything you buy from the open boxes is cheaper than buying it already wrapped in a package. For example eggs are cheaper if you chose them from the big boxes and pay per pound. The friendly supermarket staff will hand you a bag and you choose how much you want. Then you just need to hand it back to them to have it weighed and get a price tag for it. It works the same way in other sections of the market, such as the bakery and the vegetable section, and for many products like flour, rice, beans etc. Products that are not common in Asian nutrition, like cheese for example, are hard to find and rather expensive.

Once you’ve found what you were looking for you might need some patience to get through the check-out. Nobody seems to be in a rush even if the lines are long and especially afternoons and evenings are usually pretty crowded and so are the weekends. If you’re planning to go on one of the China Tours it’s also interesting to see the local differences and you can compare the regional products and try some different food.

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Vitamin Boost

On April 9, 2012, in China Travel Gossip, Restaurants & Food, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

No matter if you travel to Beijing or any other Chinese city you’ll find a much bigger variety of fresh fruit and vegetables than most European people are used to. It’s almost a paradise for people who love fresh fruit and there are lots of opportunities to try new things. People really interested in China’s […]

No matter if you travel to Beijing or any other Chinese city you’ll find a much bigger variety of fresh fruit and vegetables than most European people are used to. It’s almost a paradise for people who love fresh fruit and there are lots of opportunities to try new things. People really interested in China’s culinary variety might be interested in culinary China tours which introduce you to different types of food and often even include cooking lessons for the hands-on experience.

In all cities it’s easy to get something fresh and full of vitamins at every street corner but some vendors with their little stands might charge tourists above the regular price. You’ll see that in the supermarkets fruit and vegetables are a little more expensive so if you get the chance have a look at one of the open markets which are a great place to see anyway.

Especially fruit is a great, healthy and easy snack in between. Let’s take for example the dragon fruit (火龙果, huolongguo) which you can also find in European supermarkets if you look for it. But the price here is definitely lower and you can get it almost anywhere. With its pink or red outer skin with something that looks like green yellowish flames it definitely deserves its name. The flesh of this fruit is white with lots of little seeds in it like a kiwi. It’s hard to describe the taste of something but it’s definitely refreshing and has a subtle sweet and sour flavor. To eat it you slice it and eat it like a melon just leaving the skin or you simply chop it in half and scoop out the insides.

Another interesting fruit is the mangosteen (山竹, shanzhu). It’s pretty small and sometimes looks a little sticky on the outside. It has a thick dark purple skin and a green part on top. The easiest way to eat it is to gently crush it until it breaks into two parts. The white fleshy insides are very juicy and taste a little similar to a peach.

Anyone who likes lychees will probably also like longan (龙眼, longyan), literally meaning dragon eye, a small brown fruit usually sold on little branches. It’s not as fleshy as the lychee but still similar in flavor and it also has a dark pit in the middle.

 

The sweet, crimson Waxberry (杨梅, yangmei) with its bumpy surface is also worth a try. It tastes like a mix between raspberry and strawberry and you can it eat whole. Just spit out the seed that’s in the middle.

 

Vegetables are harder to try out unless you have the opportunity to cook and someone who can give you some advice how to do so. In many Beijing hotels you’ll have a good selection of original Chinese food. There you’ll definitely get the chance to try some delicious and traditionally prepared vegetable dishes.

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Great Souvenir Shopping Ideas From Beijing!

On October 18, 2011, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

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 […]

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.

 

Visit the Zoo Market for a Local Shopping Experience!

On October 8, 2011, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

For anyone planning to travel to Beijing who enjoys shopping and getting off the beaten track to where the locals hang out, it is definately worth making a trip out to the Beijing Zoo Market. This is an underground clothing market located opposite the Beijing Zoo, with the nearest subway stops being Xizhimen or Beijing […]

For anyone planning to travel to Beijing who enjoys shopping and getting off the beaten track to where the locals hang out, it is definately worth making a trip out to the Beijing Zoo Market. This is an underground clothing market located opposite the Beijing Zoo, with the nearest subway stops being Xizhimen or Beijing Zoo. The market is located between the second and third ring road in the west of the city, close to the student areas surrounding the big universities. It may be a short trip from your Beijing Hotel but the subway is simple, fast and the most practical transport mode to take. There is also an aquarium nearby worth a visit.

 

The market itself is predominantly clothing and accessories, generally focusing on women’s apparel however there are stalls selling menswear and children’s clothing. There is less of a focus on imitation designer goods, however these are still available just at a smaller volume than the notorious tourist markets such as the Silk Market and Yashow. You can often find many high street branded items, often these are a mix of copies with tags sewn in and genuine overstock from the factories. In my recent visit there was very convincing knitwear and clothing from H&M, Fornarina, ASOS, Topshop, New Look and Zara, which is probably a combination of genuine and imitation. Prices here are very good and not subject to the huge inflation you will experience at the other markets for having a western face.

 

Haggling is possible here but generally only a small margin from the quoted price. Many items such as jewellery, scarves and other accessories are sold at fixed prices. During my visit in the busy Golden Week public holiday I found a range of bargains at the cheapest price available in the city. Here is a short list of rough prices as of October 2011:

Scarves (depending on thickness) 25-40rmb

Purses (branded and unbranded) 35rmb

Necklaces/Earrings 10-35rmb

Tights (many styles and patterns) 10-20rmb

Vest tops (branded and high street) 12-30rmb

Cardigans 40-65rmb

Jeans 50rmb

Shoes/Sandals (high heels are more) 40-70rmb

Coats and jackets 70-140rmb

Skirts 30rmb

 

Once you are all shopped out there are a few budget options for food within the market itself, mostly vendors dotted about selling ice cream, drinks or grilled corn on the cob. If you are after a more substantial meal before heading back to your Beijing Hotel there is a McDonalds just outside the subway entrance and a short walk away (directly joined on to Xizhimen subway station) is the large Capita Mall which has a range of eating options, alongside more shopping if you still have money left over!

 

Shopping Mall Heaven in Xidan!

On September 29, 2011, in Beijing, Modern Architecture, Shopping, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Anyone with a love for shopping will love a China Travel adventure. Whether you travel to Beijing, Shanghai or elsewhere, you will find plenty of markets, malls and department stores to keep you busy, and help to part you with your money! This blog will discuss the area of Xidan, which is not commonly top […]

Anyone with a love for shopping will love a China Travel adventure. Whether you travel to Beijing, Shanghai or elsewhere, you will find plenty of markets, malls and department stores to keep you busy, and help to part you with your money! This blog will discuss the area of Xidan, which is not commonly top of the list for the average tourist to visit, but shopping central for students, expats and the general public in Beijing!

 

You can get to Xidan on subway line 1, the Xidan stop is just past Tiananmen and you will exit right into the heart of the shopping district. Line 4 also stops here aswell. When you leave the subway you will find yourself at the beginning of Xidan Commercial Street, which is a three and a half mile long commercial centre, with malls and department stores propped up side by side.

 

Opening times are generally 10am til 10pm, with some stores opening at 9 or 9.30am. Generally malls have a fast food style food court on the lower floor, and a more upmarket restaurant food court on the upper floor. However in the bigger malls restaurants are interspersed with shops, cafe’s and stalls.

 

The Top Malls to check out in Xidan:


Joy City

This is the mother of all malls in Xidan, with thirteen floors packed with fashion, cosmetics, home ware and everything else inbetween. Joy City features the largest cosmetic store in Beijing, the largest cinema in China and the largest escalator in the world. It has a huge variety of shops and restaurants with a mix of Chinese, international and high end stores.

 

Grand Pacific Mall

Grand Pacific is less flashy and a fair bit older than Joy City (it opened in 2003), however it is still a big mall with a large selection, particularly if you are looking for denim products. The mall hosts many big denim brands including Miss Sixty, Replay and Diesel.

 

Xidan Shopping Centre

Xidan mall is a large (and again fairly ageing) mall, with an interesting market on the ground floor selling Chinese food, snack and candy items. These would be ideal for gifts to take back home, as there is a huge variety and prices are very reasonable with no need to haggle! Stores here are arranged by category, so there is are floors for ladies fashion, another for accessories, one for electronics – and so on. The top floor features a food court with many cheap dining options.

The upper floors of the mall are filled with tiny stalls, similar to the markets, selling all sorts of items, mostly fashion and accessories. Come here prepared to haggle, as although prices won’t start as high as the Silk Market, being a westerner you may still be subject to price inflation.

 

If you manage to see all of these and are still not ready to head back to your Beijing Hotel with your bags, then there are still many more shopping options. There are plenty of high end shops and department stores including Xidan CVIK Store, Chung You Department Store, Xidan Department Store and The Parkson Building.

Sample Some Snake, Scorpion, Seahorse or Starfish at Wangfujing!

On September 16, 2011, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Cultural Experience, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

For adventurous eaters or those just curious to see the range of unusual creatures deemed edible, you should definitely not miss a trip to the night markets in Wangfujing. This is an experience that usually isn’t on offer in other countries, except slightly less bizarre offerings such as fried grasshoppers in South East Asia! Therefore […]

For adventurous eaters or those just curious to see the range of unusual creatures deemed edible, you should definitely not miss a trip to the night markets in Wangfujing. This is an experience that usually isn’t on offer in other countries, except slightly less bizarre offerings such as fried grasshoppers in South East Asia! Therefore when you travel to Beijing it is a must see, if only for some interesting photographs to show people back home! Also if you plan to travel to Shanghai there are also similar streets to sample the delicacies.

 

Wangfujing is fairly central to access on Subway line 1 and the stop is conveniently also called Wangfujing. Take exit A and it is a short walk to most of the action. Wangfujing is also more than just the night market location, being a popular attraction and one of the busiest shopping areas. It is also a pedestrian only street which is a rarity in Beijing, and has a variety of shops and smalls.

 

There are a few night market areas but the main streets are ‘Xiaochi Jie’ and ‘Donganmen’. These stalls are a little more expensive and tourist orientated however you will find an exciting array of insects, animals and other edible deep fried delicacies to try. Examples of the variety available include everything from starfish, scorpion, lizard and snake to silk worms, millipedes, spiders and birds.

 

If you are a fussy eater there is plenty of ‘normal’ food available at the stalls aswell, including noodles, spring rolls and rice dishes. There are also plenty of stalls selling a variety of kebabs using lamb or chicken. In addition to this if you require a full meal there are plenty of both Chinese and Western restaurants in the area, and you can walk north to the many hutongs to sample some authentic dishes down any of the small side streets.

 

The market is opened every evening from around 5pm and starts to close at 9.30pm, with it clearing away completely by 10pm. It is also located reasonably nearby Tianamen Square so you may be able to walk from your Beijing hotel.

 

 

How to find the perfect present at the Beijing markets

On September 7, 2011, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, by Jack Li

      When you travel to Beijing, the markets are the perfect opportunity to get some little knick-knacks to take back home to your friends and family. However, amid the choice you have to sort out the winners from the binners.  Markets are located everywhere in the city and just a short walk away from a subway station and are highly […]

 

 

 

When you travel to Beijing, the markets are the perfect opportunity to get some little knick-knacks to take back home to your friends and family. However, amid the choice you have to sort out the winners from the binners.  Markets are located everywhere in the city and just a short walk away from a subway station and are highly recommended for any Beijing Tour.

 

 

Tips & Tricks

Be thorough: Before you start haggling for a product, triple check the product you are looking to buy: Does the bag have a detachable handle? Is the zip secure? Are there any marks? Are there any holes? etc etc.

Shop around: If you see similar products at other stalls, inquire at the quietest stall. A busier stall will mean that the sellers will be less likely to reduce the price. On inquiring about a bracelet at a busy stall, I was offered 180RMB and the seller would not go any lower. Having walked away and went to a quieter stall, I found the exact same bracelet and got it for 25RMB.

Lighter test: If you are ever buying what you think are leather goods, ask for a lighter and preform the leather lighter test. The obvious answer to whether the leather is fake or not is whether the seller will let you do it or not. Just to double check, slowly bring the flame to the product (preferably at the back or at the corner) and move it in a straight line. If the leather is real it will not leave a mark. If it is fake, it will burn.

Be patient: Getting a real good deal on the product will take some time, from my experience it can take anything from 5 to 20minutes to get the ideal price. From own experience, I have managed to haggle a coat down from 4000RMB (£400) to 200RMB (£20) by sticking to my price and only moving the price up in small steps and not very often.

Walk away: Walking away is one of the hardest but one the best things to do whilst you are haggling for a better price. You will always get the seller shouting “hey lady/mister!” at you or going to grab your arm to bring you back to the stall and offering you a lower price. They will come out with all sort of elaborate phrases like “Ahhh! Lady! I make no money! You make me poor!” but match them with their obscenities. My personal favourite is “I am a poor student!”

Group deals: If you are in a group, try to get the price lower by asking for a “group deal”. This has worked for me on many occasions were I can get the price even lower if there are 2 or 3 of your friends buying similar products from the same stall.

 

Market shopping and haggling is an enjoyable experience that Westerners are not used to. Just a short walk away from your Beijing Hotel, you will find some small market stalls. The most established markets (like the Silk Market and Yashow) are on 6 floors and similar to a department store. Just make sure that you are getting the best possible quality to avoid disappointment!

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