Shop as the locals do at Beijing’s numerous markets and malls! With China’s booming economy, the
Chinese are getting rich faster than they can spend. Despite international branded names charging into
Beijing to cash in on the fast-rising economy, there is no bargain to be found at designer boutiques as
they retail at prices higher than their countries of origin. From small independent shops tucked away in
the nooks and crannies to futuristic mega-shopping complexes, Beijing offers a modern shopping
experience, with a traditional twist.
Pearl Market: Hongqiao Market
Freshwater pearls, seawater pearls, cultured pearls, and pearls in black, pink, and ivory, you can find
them all at the Hongqiao Market located in the Chongwen district. The Hongqiao Market is, however,
not just for the mums. Besides pearls, shoppers can find a variety of watches, sunglasses, mobile
phones, and more on the first floor; the second floor offers numerous stalls touting their fashion wares
from jackets to shoes and bags; finally, the top floor opens up to a heaven of pearls. Do take note that
the quality of pearls differs from each vendor and there’re plenty of knockoffs, so be wary and
remember to bargain hard.
Dirt Market: Panjiayuan Market
If you’re looking for Chinese antiques, knick-knacks, or an odd souvenir or two to bring home, the
Panjiayuan Market is the place for you. From little scorpions encased in clear plastic or old Peking Opera
costumes, the Panjiayuan is much like a treasure trove of surprises. Visitors will find typical Chinese
products such as silk screens, jade bangles, blue-white porcelain vases, and much more at this
weekend’s open-air flea market. With about 3,000 stalls, there’s no place better to shop for arts &
crafts, antiquities, and souvenirs than at the Panjiayuan Market.
Sanlitun Yashou Market
As Beijing’s diplomatic district, English is more widely spoken in Sanlitun than anywhere else in Beijing.
While the posh bars are perpetually filled with foreigners who never seem to go anywhere else are
aplenty, as well as the swanky Lufthansa Centre that caters to the well-heeled residents of Beijing, the
Sanlitun Yashou Market stands out in stark contrast against these swish up market establishments. The
Sanlitun Yashou Market is 5 stories crammed with cheap clothes. However, local Chinese usually avoid
the place as it’s considered a rip-off due to the slightly inflated prices catering to foreigners.