If you’re planning a trip to Beijing there are a few key things you won’t want to miss out on: a trip to the great wall, exploring the Forbidden City, and of course shopping. Like in most cities in China, Beijing has a number of opportunities to shop. One of the more exciting parts of shopping in Beijing? Naming your own price! Ask a fair price for the item you’re trying to bring home, and it will be yours…as long as you follow the rules of haggling.
First, it’s important to know which markets you want to visit. In Beijing the markets are commonly a few stories high and have lines upon lines of stalls inside. While you might be able to find a few common items at all of the markets, many markets will have their own specialty items.
Having spent a year in Beijing, China, here are 5 stores that I would recommend to anyone going to Beijing.
This market won’t be as commonly listed in tourist books and will be easy to pass on the street if you don’t know where you’re going. However, many locals shop at this store and instead of vendors giving an initial price that is three to four times more than the benchmark price, they will typically give a fair price right away leaving room for only a brief haggle. To get there, take the metro to the Beijing Zoo station and take Exit D. If you go during summer months bring water and get ready to sweat.
Although this market doesn’t exclusively sell pearls, if you’re in the market for pearls you must make a stop here. Located in the Chongwen District at the east gate of the Temple of Heaven, there are a number of vendors at the pearl market, all selling different quality of pearls. As a side note: make sure you know how to test pearls for authenticity before you go pearl shopping.
Although you can get silk at the silk market, just like the pearl market it has much more to offer. One of the perks to visiting the silk market is being able to have items altered or made for you by the in-house tailor. Although it will be mostly tourists shopping at this market, it’s one of the more popular markets for a reason! When you’re in the Chaoyang District, make sure it’s on your list of places to visit.
Sanlitun Yashow Market
If you’ve visited the popular Sanlitun bar street or the Sanlitun Village in the Chaoyang District, you’re right next to the Yashow Market. You can score some great deals at the Yashow Market as long as you know benchmark prices for items and stay dedicated to your haggling efforts.
Liulichang Antique Street
If you’re in the market for antiques make sure you journey to the Xuanwu district and check out this market. A few common items you’ll find here include calligraphy sets, coins, vases and carvings. Even if you’re not in the market for antiques, walk around, explore and just enjoy the atmosphere of this market.
When shopping at any of these markets you will need to know how to haggle. If you pay the first price you’re given you will walk away having spent much more than you should have. When vendors at markets like the pearl market and silk market give you a price, they expect you to haggle for a lower price. If you’re from a country that doesn’t haggle you might feel embarrassed or guilty for trying to get a better price, but rest assured it’s culturally acceptable in Beijing, China. Before you start shopping get benchmark prices and know what common items are worth.
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