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Beijing Markets

Beijing Markets – shop, bargain, have a great time

Beijing markets are a great way to shop, not only affordable but also atmospheric and sociable, a taste of Beijing at its down to earth best. Beijing markets are the places to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in with the masses, arguing over prices and fighting off old ladies for bargains.

Beijing markets are full of cut-throat entrepreneurs who will automatically quadruple their prices at the sight of a foreigner, and who won’t be afraid to flirt, flatter or simply deceive in order to secure a sale. However, they’re also full of great Chinese people going about their daily business, friendly people happy to pass the time of day, relax and talk about anything under the sun. Even if they try and make you think otherwise, nobody will mind at all if you eventually decided to try your luck elsewhere. Relax and you’re sure to have a great time.

There are loads of markets selling different kinds of things.

Beijing Markets: Antiques Markets

Panjiayuan Antiques Market

Pānjiāyuán Antiques Market (Pānjiāyuán gǔwán shìchăng 潘家园古玩市场) is a great place to buy antiques. It’s noisy and crowded, and stuffed with sharkish antiques dealers posing as innocent country folk. There are also a few country folk. You have to bargain hard, and assume that most things are fake, but the choice is unparalleled and the atmosphere is great. The market is open Saturday and Sunday from dusk until early afternoon.

Panjiayuan Antiques Market is just East of the Temple of Heaven, of Dongsanhuan Nanlu. Getting there by public transport is not that easy so for now the best way to get there is by taxi. It’s just off Dongsanhuan Nanlu (The South-Eastern Section of the Third Ring Road), on Panjiayuan Lu.

See the Beijing Antiques page for more on antiques shopping

Beijing Markets: Clothes Markets:

Beijing Clothes Markets: Hongqiao Pearl Market

Hongqiao Pearl Market (Hóngqiáo Shìchǎng – 虹桥市场) is a huge indoor market on several floors. The ground floor has everything from watches and binoculars to sunglasses and mobile phones. The next floor up is clothes – hundreds of stalls with fake-brand clothes at cheap prices (but with very expensive labels on), and some Chinese own-brand stuff. The top floor has pearls galore, and also other kinds of jewellery and ‘antiques’. The pearls are real, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re of decent quality. Pearl necklaces make excellent presents for wives, girlfriends, mothers or sisters back home.

Hongqiao Market is open from 08.30 to 19.00 every day. It’s located on the East side of the Temple of Heaven, 16 Hongqiao Lu.

Beijing Clothes Markets: Xiushui Silk Market

Xiushui Silk Market (Xiùshuĭ Shìchǎng – 秀水市场) on Jianguomen Waidajie is one of the busiest clothes and accessory markets in Beijing. The range of products is really good and the staff, generally, speak pretty good English. Doom was forecast in 2005 when it was decreed that the whole market would move inside, but after re-opening with great fanfare it’s still going strong. Bargaining is de-rigeur or else you’ll pay about ten times more than you ought to.

Xiushi Silk Market is right next to the Jianguo Hotel on Jianguomen Waidajie (建国门外大街). To get here by subway, go to Yonganli, take exit A and follow the signs, it’s quite easy to find.

Beijing Clothes Markets: Sanlitun Yashou Market

The Sanlitun Yashou Market is five floors of cheap clothes, crammed all day long with shoppers from the four corners of the globe. Almost all of the vendors speak enough English to get by. Prices start a little higher than they could be and you need to bargain hard. Chinese generally avoid the place, saying it’s mostly there to ‘cheat foreigners’, but you might decide that the convenience is worth the small inflation in price.

Beijing Sanlitun Yashou Market is located at 58 Gongti Beilu.

Other interesting Beijing Markets:

Beijing Markets: Donghuamen Night Market

Donghuamen Food Market/ Donghuamen Night Market (Dōnghuámén Yèshì – 东华门夜市) in Wangfujing is a great place for a wander in the evening (not to be confused with Wangfujing Snack Street). There are loads of stalls offering all sorts of things on skewers (from scorpions to sea-horses), drinks, pancakes, noodles and dumplings etc.

A Xinjiang style lamb-skewer is a must. Meat is grilled on a wooden skewer until mouth-wateringly tender, then sprinkled with cumin or pepper. The market is a real culinary adventure with an excited, noisy atmosphere. The market is open from 6pm every evening except in winter, on Donganmen Street which is just off Wangfujing.

Beijing Markets: Guanyuan Fish and Animal Market

Beijing Guanyuan Market – The Fish, Bird and Insect Market

Animal-keeping is a popular hobby in China – many an old man whiles away the hours teaching his birds to say ‘Ni hao’, and almost everyone’s had a pet grasshopper at some point. This is where Beijingers come to indulge their hobby.

There are birds, snakes, lizards, spiders, insects, snails, tortoises, crabs, fish and loads more. Animal rights activists might not like it, but for everyone else it’s a really interesting experience. Take the subway to Fuchengmen, leave by exit B and head North, the market is on the right (East) hand side of the road, just inside the Second Ring Road.


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