Silk Market, Beijing
The SILK MARKET or XIU SHUI SHI CHANG is where you can buy many clothe-items like North Face, Timberland jackets, even branded things like Prada. Naturally, not many are authentic. This is also the place to buy your Oriental cheongsam - the tight, figure-hugging Oriental dress.
Go EARLY to avoid crowds and remember to bargain.
Or, go LATE in the afternoon, just before closing (should be before sun-down) when vendors are keen to make their final sales before they pack up.
In the Silk Market you find mostly clothes, though there are a few antique stalls as well and a couple of stalls selling ethnic clothing and bedsheets. You will need to bargain, though its a little bit harder here because there are more tourists.
What to buy: Good buys are silk dressing gowns, ties and scarves. Most of the designer labels are fake.
More and more people hanging around to sell music CDs, DVDs and CD-ROM games. (they can be knocked down to 10 Yuan) I have to admit, I didnt trust the quality so I never tried to purchase such CDs.
What to pay: It depends how good you are in bargain. My expericance: If you are a Westerner the local salesmen try to sell the stuff much higher than they would ask for local customer. Well, thats no surprice. But for me it was a suprise that you can bargain up to 60-70%. In the evening it was easier to get such a price. And, maybe I had another advantage. My chinese girlfriend accompanied me. Nevertheless, if the salesmen don't reduce the 'original' price to 50%, leave the stall.... and it won't be a surprice if they follow you to give you another, better price. So, don't forget: How much can you expect to spend? It depends how good you are in bargain.
Be it any shop - Remember bargianing is expected in China. It is the norm for the shopkeeper to try to fleece you if you are a foreigner.
Always expected to be quoted between 4 and 5 times the price. Remember the price ranges - T shirts are between RMB 20 and rMB 40, backpacks in between RMB 50 and RMB 70, DVD's in between RMB 8 and 25 and shoes in between RMB 200 to RMB 250. You will be asked your 'final offer price' 6 or 7 times by the shop-keeper. Be prepared to haggle and be firm on your price. You can always walk away and go to the adjacent shop.
What to buy: T-shirts(size L in US is XXL in China)
DVD's and CD's
Traditional arts if interested.
What to pay: As above
Before I went to China I had heard rumours that you could get pretty cheap copies of different stuff. So like most tourist we went to something called the Xuishui Silk Market. The name is not very accurate by the way…there are not much silk for sale but you can get North Face Gore-Tex jackets, copies of watches, gloves…well, you name it. It is pretty easy to get there by the way because this street is located right by the subway station Yonganlin (if I’m not mistaken). Already before we entered the market we were offered fake watches (two Rolex watches for 50 RMB). Once we got into the market there were little ”shops” everywhere. Nikki looked at some pants and in the end she wanted to buy 2 of them. The woman selling it pointed at the price which was about 600 RMB per pants. In other words quite ridiculous because that is the price of a pair of pants here in Norway. So we just walked off but the woman came after us and dragged us back and asked how much we wanted to give for the pants. So I punched in 300 RMB for both pants on her calculator and she was acting away and saying that it was too cheap and it was ”killing” her. After a lot of bargaining we walked off again because she did not seem to want to go low enough but then she came after us, gave us the bag and took her 300 RMB and she did not look very happy. So the price went down from 1200 to 300 RMB and I’m quite convinced that we still got ripped off :-)
We also went to some of the malls that are located in the Wangfujing area. But we felt that there really was no point in going shopping there. The prices were more or less on the same price level as back home and they didn’t really have a great selection.
What to buy: Gore-Tex jackets: Gore-Tex jackets are being sold at this market. I doubt that they are real and hence it is hard to say anything about the quality. I came across Gore-Tex jackets of the Norwegian brand Norrøna. And I was wearing my own Norrøna jacket so it was easy to compare them. The jacket had been copied down to the last details and even the washing instructions were in Norwegian. So I have to say that I’m impressed but I could spot some differences.
Watches: If you want to buy fake watches this is also the place to go. Here you can find fake watches like Tag Heuer, Breitling, IWC, Lange & Söhne, Omega, Rolex and so on and some of them actually contain automatic movements…so it is more or less ”real fake” watches as one of my colleagues once said. But the price of some of these watches started quite high. I looked at a Lange & Söhne watch and the seller wanted 750 RMB for it.
What to pay: Well, it seems like you have to bargain quite a lot to get the right price. We started at 1200 RMB for a 2 pairs of pants and we ended up at a price of 300 RMB
First of all, it is a market rather than a shop. What the Silk Market famous for is that everyone bargains in this market. You might not wanna buy anything or you don't like Chinese traditional clothes at all, but you can have a try of bargainning with those insistent vendors. : )
What to buy: It sells Chinese clothes and jewelry and pirated stuff of famous brands such as Gucci, Gap etc.
What to pay: It really depends how good your bargaining skill is.
Xisui Market This building contains a number of floors that sells lots of merchandises from clothing to golf clubs.