I was in Beijing a few weeks ago and did some shopping. We told the hotel concierge we wanted to go to the Silk Market and Pearl Market but to this day I'm not sure that's where we were taken! The receipts say Silk Mansion. It was a huge multi-storey place with thousands of cubicle shops. Although the "clerks" were pretty aggressive I got into an interesting conversation with one of them when I asked if they all had the same boss. He explained that in China the government owns all the stores and some of the clerks don't even get paid. Some of them work on commission only, which explains the high prices. Even though I haggled a lot I still felt like everything was over-priced. There were only a few items I would say are worth buying there rather than from the internet in the comfort of your home. One is the very nice pillow covers I found in one shop for about $12US. Really beautiful and packaged nicely.
Unique Suggestions: The most effective haggling move is to walk away. They shopkeepers will run after you and accept your offer.
Fun Alternatives: Almost everything in the Chinese tourist shops - the silk, jade, pearls, etc. - can be found online from Chinese dealers at much cheaper prices. If you live in a big city with a Chinese shopping area you can find them in person; for example, paper lanterns are abundant and cheap at most Chinese shops.
Got lured into a common scam where three individuals came up to us on the street and was very interested in talking with Americans. Said they were visiting the Great Wall from their home in central China Coal mining country. Invited us to a Tea Room to chat. The two of us had one coke each. The three girls ordered Tea and when we tried to leave the business forced us to use credit card saying that they didn't have change for a 100 Juan bill. (Aprox $19 US Dollars). I had my elderly father with me and did not want to have any trouble. Used my card and the bill was changed to over $179.00 US Dollars.
I discretely took a photo of two girls. I'll attach photo of each girl.
Unique Suggestions: Avoid overly friendly people who try to ask who/ what and where you are from!
On a Great Wall and Ming's Tomb tour organised by a reasonable touring company chinatour.net. Price was 160RMB comparing to my hotel's 380RMB for the same tour. Rang up Chinatour the night before, asked how new are the buses (under 2 years old), how many people on tour max (11) and vans are fully air-conditioned (yes). So I booked in thinking I got a bargain!
The tours itself was good, the guide was good, but the shopping trips in between are SCAMs! Be well aware. From teashop trying to sell you tea for 10 times the price you can buy in local supermarket, ro free massage medical centre where in the middle of your massage, a gang of doctors come out, measure your pulse and try to sell you medicine. I was told I had problem with liver, problem with kidney, and needed medication for 6 months. The Doctor even gave me 'Chi Kung' on the spot and made one think that was amazing. Problem is medication costs 18,000RMB lol. Dont be FOOLED!
Unique Suggestions: The tour itself is good, but stay well clear in buying anything on the tour. Believe me, these tours are there to scam you!
Fun Alternatives: Ask for tours that has no shopping stops.2
The famed Silk Alley Market in central Beijing is a huge market basically geared for tourists only - you will never see local Chinese people shopping here!
It was an interesting experience to say the least, full of everything you can think of and all rip-off obviously! The stall owners are quite aggressive and bargaining with them can be tough - especially when their starting prices for cheap simple tops are equivalent to designer cocktail dress prices - before the sales!
Warning: do not engage the stall-owners if you have no intention of bartering and buying. This will make things difficult and uncomfortable for you.
Unique Suggestions: Whilst wandering around looking for some sunglasses for my friend, we did come across a pair of 'semi-genuine' Chanel sunglasses - all the way from Hong Kong which is why they were 'semi-genuine' and not just plain 'fake' - and the asking price was uncomfortably close to the value of my own very genuine Prada sunglasses! The sales lady took an immediate dislike to me when I pointed that out to her - to such an extent that she stuck the palm of her hand in my face to shut me up! It was jaw-droppingly rude but hilarious at the same time!
I would say go for the experience but unless you get an amazing deal, don't buy anything here. Don't engage them if you have no intention of buying and be firm - never falter!
Fun Alternatives: Research local markets near your accommodation if you really want to buy stuff.
When you are shopping in Beijing, you have to be extra careful with the price you have to pay. Before paying any cash, confirm the price and avoid giving more cash than the price as you may not get back the rest. If you go to a restaurant, ask for a menu. Local street vendors try to cheat you if you find a chance. I was charged 15 Yuan for a skewer costing 5 Yuan only. The convenience stores usually don't have price tags on any item. A snickers chocolate bar can cost you 25 Yuan in these places.
Unique Suggestions: Ask the price, confirm before you pay.
Fun Alternatives: If you are careful and you know the usual price, you can avoid these scams.
Again I would mark this as a tourist trap since you will be enticed to buy stuff inside since you are eating in their restaurant called Golden Palace but however, unlike sales person in other countries, they will not pester or force you to buy what they sell. Most tours of the Ming Emperor Tombs and Great Wall (whetther Badaling or Juyongguan or Mutianyu or Simatai) will pass by here since they have the largest restaurant in the Chang Ping Area so be ready to be overhwhelmed by the sheep beauty of ceramics (the chinese invented ceramics and improved on cloisonne ok!). I you are a ceramic lover or a cloisoone lover, this is paradise however I am not a ceramics or cloisonne lover hence this is a tourist trap for me.
Unique Suggestions: a simple ceramic plate cost 30 RMB, for exquisite plates at RMB 50 and other ceramics like jars cost 500 RMB for small ones, pls see my pics.
Fun Alternatives: just look around and don't buy if your not a ceramics lover
When you have a guide in China as I did, they do bring you to places like a tea store, a silk store, a Traditional Medicine Clinic, a pearl store and other places…However, be aware that when you enter such stores, the sales people can be very aggressive in trying to make sure that you buy something.
They were particularly aggressive with me since they were thinking I had money to splurge since I had my own personal guide and a driver too. I did buy some expensive silk, but I did refrain from buying other stuff like in the tea store (I just bought a $10 tea) and the saleslady was not too pleased! Sorry, Madam, I just buy this $10 tea, okay?
Oh well, I guess they are just trying to get the most out of you but just be aware that, as in other touristy areas, you have to learn how to say “no” when necessary.
Unique Suggestions: Just say, "No More Money". She-she (thank you...)
Fun Alternatives: Have your tourguide (if you have one) tell salesperson you are not interested...
IF U BUY FRUITS ETC JUST WATCH THE SCALE WHEN THEY WEIGH ,some sellers give u less and charge a lot,,close to BLCU west gate fruit shops does this often instead of 500 gram they will try to give u 450 etc,,
Unique Suggestions: dont buy and return the fruit
Fun Alternatives: buy from department store supermarkets
I want to buy banana, so I go to small supermarket in the wangfujing street.
The shop girl weight the banana, calculate the price (using calculator) and say the price: 36 yuan in chinese (I cannot understand chinese, but I see the price from calculator). I am really surprised with the price, for 5 pieces small banana almost 400 yen?? So I ask again in english: how much money?
the shop girl recognized me not a chinese, and say 45 yuan. So I cancel to buy....
Be careful, in small shop, even for banana you have to bargain.
If you don't want to bargain, please go to big supermarket or dept store that has fixed price for everything.
I actually think this place is fascinating and fun. I've spent a couple of interesting afternoons at the Silk Market recently buying a few things (shirts and shoes) and practicing my Mandarin with the shopgirls. The majority of them are very kind and interesting, but, yes, of course they are trying to sell things. It's their job! There's a network of them that come up from Anhui Province. I had bad experiences with a few of them who wanted to rant against Americans once they found out where I was from. But overall, they were great. I'd strongly suggest, however, taking this place in small doses. It's VERY intense. The other option is to fly through as if you are on a mission and mean business. If the vendor is playing too many calculator price games with you, go to a nearby one and say "Give it to me for blank kuai" as if you are going to leave in seconds if they don't say "OK". I actually bought two shirts today using this method and didn't have to bargain at all (I'd done the bargaining a few stalls down). Finally, almost everyone suggests responding to their high price with your own low one and then meeting somewhere in between. Twice today I bought items at a rock bottom price by refusing to budge at all. I had bought a short sleeve polo shirt for 50 kuai and a girl I'd met a few days earlier saw me and complained that I should buy one from her. So, I told her to give me the long sleeve version of the same shirt for 40 kuai. She couldn't believe it! I used their own tactics by saying, "Look, I don't want this shirt. I'm only buying it because I like you." And held my ground until her price finally lowered to mine.
Unique Suggestions: People, BARGAIN! I had two women tell me a 600 renminbi price for a (pretty good quality) backpack. Since I'd been speaking with them for awhile, the ridiculous price really irked me and I just walked away. The last price I heard them shout out was 80 renminbi! Bargain, but don't be rude (especially Americans...they really seem to think we are exceptionally rude). Having said that, there will be times when you just have to physically bust out of a stall with a young girl hanging on your arm. I'd suggest that the best way to avoid this is not to look at things you aren't interested in buying. If you want to buy it, then buy it. I promise you, you can get them down to a price you are happy with. However, check the quality carefully. It's easy to tell (at least with clothes), how well made (or poorly made...as the case is more likely to be) they are. It's not worth paying even $5 for a shirt that's going to unravel the first time you wear it. Look at the stitching especially. Turn the sleeves of jackets inside out, etc. If it's bad quality, show them and walk away. It's the simplest exit strategy.
THOSE MARKETS ARE TOURIST TRAPS THEY WILL TRY TO SELL U THE THINGS TEN TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE THAN NORMAL PRICE,,AND THEY WILL TRY TO PULL U TO THE STORES USING HANDS ETC TOUCHING YOU ,HARRASING ETC,,!!!
Hi there, if you want a bargain I would steer clear of electronics in China unless from a reputable dealer. China are the worlds best at copying. Everything on the outside looks fine.... Have a great trip.
Unique Suggestions: If you need to buy electronics in China then ensure you are buying from a dealer who can prove his status and provenance of the goods he is selling.
Fun Alternatives: Clothes, and accessories are "best buys", luggage, ladies handbags and accessories. I bought a wheelie suitcase for some extra purchases and one of the wheels fell off before I got home - you have been warned.
This is a trap for the honest decent person. Show the stall girls no mercy, they will lie to get every cent out of you.
The fake watches a crap, all the watches I have bought here died inside 3 months.
The tailored suits we bought were crap and a A$1000+ mistake, three skirts, all different waist sizes and dispite coming back a number of times they just kept giving us the suit back unchanged. So many other people were complaining about mistakes the tailor made and one women started to scream at the tailor to try and get satisfaction. So do buy tailor made suits there.
The ties, well the ink actually comes off on you shirt pocket.
The shirts change colour in the wash the first time you wash them.
The favourite saying of the girls as you bargain is.."oh come on, your breaking my heart"
Best way to get the best price is to go in real low. If there lowest price is 150 RMB, the beat them to 100 and if they let you walk away try the next stall for trhe same item at a slightly high price.
Watch when you take your jeans down to the basement to be take up..only 10 RMB but I am dammed it they ever get two legs on the pants even.
It's not all bad, some things are a real bargain so have fun and be prepared to lose a few times on quality or don't go at all.
The famous "Silk Market" on Jianguomen, near Guiyou, is a cluster of shops selling mostly identical merchandise at prices that are no longer attractive. The Silk Market has been transformed over the past couple of years from a meandering group of small stalls on side streets near the U.S Embassy, crowded "belts to butts", even on the coldest days of Beijing winter. Now, its more like a standard shopping center with about 8 floors of merchandise and food stalls. It reminds me of MBK in Bangkok, only not as nice.
Certainly there are bargains to be found, but I prefer "Ya Show" near Sanlitun on Gongti Bei Lu for mostly the same merchandise. The range of massage and manicure service is a plus for anyone seeking a bit of relaxation after shopping at "Ya Show".
Try them both if you have time, but the Silk Market has lost its luster.
Unique Suggestions: Walk briskly through the aisles and keep your head held high. You can check the goods in each stall from your peripheral vision. Otherwise, you'll get 'pitched' by every hawker on the lane. One great spot in the Silk Market is the cashmere goods stall on the 2nd or 3rd floor on the north end. Run by people from Chinese Mongolia, their goods are excellent and prices a gereat bargain. The only reason we visit the Silk Market these days.
Fun Alternatives: "Ya Show" near Sanlitun on Gongti Bei Lu. I like the Tommy Bahama goods and my wife likes the silk pajamas.
At the Great Wall of China (somewhere outside Beijing) being as foreign looking as I am, I was constantly 'mugged' by 'wanna-make-a-sale-now' merchants. I was bombarded by the common chants of "Hey! I remember you!!" or "Good quality t-shirt... 1 dollar" and the like.
Unique Suggestions: The merchandise can make good souvenirs if you don't mind going on the cheap. But, it won't last long (no surprise there... WalMart wouldn't try to sell this stuff). If you're going to buy anything here you might as well have a little fun like I did.
Merchant: Hey, I remember you.
Me: Really? I don't remember you.
Merchant: Here! Here. Look. Good t-shirt... made in China. One dollar.
Me: One dollar!?!
Merchant: Ok! Ok! 2 t-shirt. One dollar.
Me: 2 t-shirts!?!
Merchant: Ok! Ok! 3 t-shirts. One dollar.
... this went on for a while. I had fun with a number of the merchants in the are till I got bored and bought 3 t-shirts for $2.