Beijing, China’s capital, is a shopper’s haven. You won’t have difficulty looking for items to bring back home. But with so many options available, shopping in Beijing can be as exciting as it is frustrating. Beijing has so many stores, wholesale markets, shopping malls, and shopping districts, similar to what you’ll find in shopping destinations like Bangkok. If you don’t know where to shop, you can easily get overwhelmed.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, Beijing is overflowing with them. Here’s a list of the best things to buy in Beijing.
Tea is a favourite souvenir among tourists. You can buy it from convenience stores and groceries but if you’re looking for special teas, head to Maliandao Tea Market. Maliandao consists of streets and indoor markets dedicated to selling teas. There are hundreds of vendors in the area so be sure to look around first before making a purchase. The different types of tea sold in Maliandao come from all over China and must-tries varieties are Iron Goddess, Dahongpao, and Dragon Well.
2. Fresh water pearls
If you are looking to buy fresh water pearls, Beijing’s outdoor markets offer the best prices in the city. For the best deals, shop at the 3rd floor of Pearl Market (Hongqiao Market). The merchants there might quote a steeper price so you must have a clear idea of how much you’re willing to pay for an item, and then bargain hard.
3. Clothing and accessories
Shopping for clothing and accessories is definitely a must in Beijing. Whether you’re looking for brand name items or cheap stuff, the city has tons of them. Foreign brands have flagship stores on Wangfujing Street, and even more stores in big malls. Cheap clothing and accessories are widely available at markets like Yashow at rock-bottom prices, if you know how to haggle.
Beijing is a mecca for travellers, especially for women who plan to stock up on jewellery. To snag a good deal on inexpensive jewellery, explore the shops along Silver Street. But if you are meaning to purchase more expensive pieces, it is best to go to reputable stores like Caibai in Xicheng district.
5. Leather goods
Just like clothing and accessories, Beijing’s markets are overflowing with leather goods – wallets, belts, handbags, and shoes. Take note, however, that a lot of counterfeit items are being sold at markets. Also, some merchants do sell fake leather so please inspect the merchandise before buying it. If you are willing to pay more for quality leather goods, buy from small shops specialising in leather goods like the 72 Hang Handicraft Shoe Studio in Silk Market.
Beijing is a huge playground for those who love and collects antiques. Beijing’s Antique Street (Beijing Curio City), with more than 600 merchants, is the largest of its kind in Asia. Sculptures, art, jade, calligraphy, old furniture, ancient jewellery, and probably all kinds of antiques you can think of. Other must-visit antique markets in Beijing include Panjiayuan Market, Liulichang Antiques Street, and Liangma Antique Market.
With the extensive range of computers, music players, digital cameras, mobile phones, and accessories being sold at Beijing’s markets and shopping malls, no wonder it’s called the ultimate paradise for those who love electronics. If you’re looking for quality and yet affordable products, you will find what you’re looking for at Zhongguancun. Often referred to as the Silicon Valley of China, the area consists of multi-level stores selling just about any gadget and computer parts you can think of.
8. Silk products
Another favourite item to bring back home among travellers are silk products. For the best quality silk fabrics and traditional silk clothing, you won’t go wrong with Ruifuxiang. Their shop is located in Dashilan Street, Xicheng district. They also sell exquisite qipao (traditional Chinese one-piece dress) at affordable prices.
9. Panda souvenirs
If souvenir shopping for kids, we recommend panda souvenirs, among them a stuffed panda bear. Beijing is big on pandas so you can find these souvenirs are being sold everywhere – panda tees, “talking” pandas, panda chopstick holders, and other panda-themed gift items.
10. Painted snuff glass bottles
A painted snuff glass bottle is definitely one of the best souvenir items you can buy from Beijing. Now used as pretty ornaments, painted snuff bottles were once used as containers of powdered tobacco during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Caricatures, calligraphy, and landscapes are painted inside or outside the snuff glass bottles.You can find these handicrafts at markets and stores in Beijing.
Spending a week or two in Beijing? Make the most of your vacation by joining these tours and activities.
By: Brendelyn Balaga