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Beijing Shopping: Wangfujing

Wangfujing is arguably still Beijing’s number one shopping drag and certainly the most famous. Wangfujing Dajie is located a short distance East of Tiananmen. The Wangfujing subway station is the best way to get here. Wangfujing means something like ‘The Well in the Prince’s Mansion’. The street itself is pedestrianised for much of its length.

Wangfujing is worth a wander even if you’re not interested in shopping, it’s a great snapshot of the shop, shop, shop of modern China. The endless neon strips and ebullient Beijing urban rich neatly contrast with the sombre beauty of St Joseph’s Church (now Wangfujing Church). There are sometimes other attractions like bungee jumps set up on the street. A foreigner bouncing on the end of an enormous length of rubber is a great crowd-puller.

There are two main shopping malls on Wangfujing, the Oriental Plaza (on the corner with Chang’an Jie) and Sun Dong An Plaza (138 Wangfujing Dajie), both of which are always full of trendy young Beijing-ren checking out the latest foreign brands to have hit the city.

Wangfujing is also home to the Foreign Languages Bookstore (235 Wangfujing Dajie), and Wangfujing Bookstore (218 Wangfujing Dajie), some of the best places to pick up reading material, and the Arts and Crafts Store (293 Wangfujing Dajie) which has an ok selection of pricey art. There’s another huge six story art store at 200 Wangfujing Dajie, everything from jewellery and fans to calligraphy and teapots.

Wangfujing Snack Street is a great place for some grub after a hard day’s shopping. The choice of bizarre food on sticks is probably unparalleled in Beijing. Everything from scorpions to grasshoppers, but there’s also a more palatable selection of lamb kebabs, noodles, stir fries and cold beer. It’s just West off Wangfujing Dajie, fronted by a huge arch. The Food Court in the basement of the Oriental Plaza is also pretty good.

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