Underneath Guilin's main square is a maze of small shops which is called "Little Hong Kong" by the locals. There are hundreds of shops in Little Hong Kong, with most selling clothing and accessories. However, there are also shops selling souvenirs, luggage, needlecraft supplies, toys, and artworks.
Although the shops generally show prices, you can usually bargain them down, with the amount of flexibility varying shop by shop.
In Li River cruise, one raft - just one raft – approached, paddling, to the boat and offered some crafts to the tourists. That was something we should expect, but the surprise was… only one?
Funny! China is really different!
The word came to my mind, but didn't reach the mouth, when we were received by 5 elegant girls, modeling... pearls.
A rational analysis gave me some tranquility:" I'm with Americans, so, THIS TIME, someone else will pay the show. I will escape!"
Pure illusion! THAT necklace was... inevitable.
Hope again: the employee, in her diligence to sell the necklace, broke its lock. She tried to replace it, but she had no one similar. The closer alternatives were so expensive that even Fernanda refused to buy.
And the miracle happened: I came out of the pearl factory without having to buy anything.
PS - I was planning, upon arriving to Portugal, to go to Fatima and light a candle to celebrate the miracle. I didn't know that Fernanda was carrying a heavy weight in her conscience for not respecting the sacred commandment: BUY. Next day... the airport... the free shop... pearls...
Damn! The candle would be cheaper!
What to buy: Pearls
What to pay: Too much for my taste
Once again, we only did a little bit of shopping here, still had to try and get the baggage under 20kg for our flight to Shanghai!
Here is just a rough idea on the prices we paid in Guilin, with prices being slightly cheaper still in Yangshao:-
Taxi from Airport to Hotel = 100rmb = about $16AUD
Hotel internet use 5rmb for half hour = $1AUD
Nicer t-shirts 50rmb each = about $9AUD
Day cruise on Li River booked from Hotel 450rmb = about $79AUD
Bracelets varied 5-10rmb
Bottle ice tea 5rmb = $1AUD
Laundry service - 2tops and 2pants 73rmb = about $12AUD
Nice bag in Yangshao 90rmb = about $15AUD
Playing cards 10rmb = $2AUD
Bracelets in Yangshao - all 5rmb each
This shop, in the Seven Star Scenic Area over the Li River in the eastern part of Guilin, lies next door to the Guilin Natural Fantastic Stone Gallery. The gallery exhibits a wonderful array of exquisite rock, stone and crystal formations. This shop, next door to the gallery, is where you can buy some of them which surely must depend on how much luggage allowance you have when you fly back home.
The main shopping centre is right in the middle of the city and is, in fact, a pedestrian street full of western style shops that include Adidas and Nike. There's a little night market that features a few stalls from the early evening in the same area.
Guilin is famous for their beautiful silk scrolls. Much of the landscape and beautiful river scenery is depicted on these traditional scrolls.
What to buy: Even though we had decided ..no more artwork from our travels , we couldn't resist a gorgeous original piece in traditional black and white. It is so gorgeous and brings back wonderful memories.
What to pay: Prices vary depending on tne piece but they are reasonable for what you get.
Its a open street, U get all sorts of stuff, Traditional as well as fancy stuff....
What to buy: But Antiques, Kimonos, Chinese traditional Dress, Hand made Guilin Balls, Crystal stuff...
What to pay: They charge you very high at the beginning....Offer them the least price u want to pay...They mite act stubborn at first then all u do is walk away they'll come back to u.....For eg:i bought this Silk Kimono which he priced at ard 600 Yuans which i managed to get down to 100 Per Piece. Which i think is a really good bargain....
Fans, fans and more fans to cool you during the hot summer June till August. These shops are located at the pier of Yangshuo, once you get out of the boat cruise along the Li River.
What to buy: These big Yangshuo fans are great for decorations! I simply can't resist walking bypass these fancy fans without buying it. These fans are delightfully delicate, yet sturdy and colorful. The fans are available in various sizes and they are made with either silk or paper as the fan support and background.
The painted fan undergoes a series of processes including dyeing, mounting and paiting with lacquer or water colour paint before it is ready for retail. You can always find the backdrop of the fans are either depicting birds (crane, small chirpy birds), bamboos, flowers (peony, usually), insects and traditional, beautiful Chinese girls.
It makes a nice gift but caution, if you buy a big fan, you need to handcarry it. It can be rather clumsy. Small fans are nice and handy. The selection in the town and at the pier is good but make sure you bargain hard here - most stores and stall owners are used to ripping foreigners off; that includes the oversea Chinese who don't speak good Chinese.
What to pay: RMB5 - RMB8 for small fans while RMB10-RMB15 for the medium size and RMB18 to RMB30 for big fans. Nothing more or less. Be firm with your bargain. Learn some Chinese, especially for shopping purposes, to get a head start. That should surprise the sellers.
What to buy:
Guilin is famous throughout China for its rice noodles. It is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner by local people. Even restaurant and hotel also serve this famous noodles. The noodles have a very smooth, white and strong texture and often eaten together with some soup, spring onion, groundnuts and marinated meat. The fried version is tasty too. There are many varieties of Guilin noodles depending on the condiments / ingredients.
What to pay: Noodles are sold by weight. Approximately RMB1.60 for 2 kati.
What to buy:
Zhengyang Pedestrian Street is 666 meters long and located in the downtown of Guilin city. It is surrounded by restaurants, hotels, fashion and shoes outlets, theatres, stadiums, commercial facilities and scenic spots. Zhengyang Pedestrian Street has all of the conveniences that are required for good shopping in a very pleasant environment.
In many ways Zhengyang Pedestrian Street is the hub of the city. Its shops and restaurants bring thousands of people daily to the area and at night it pulsates with life as people use the many venues that offer great nightlife. You can find McDonald's and KFC here.
What to buy:
Each evening from 7.30 until midnight the main street of Guilin ( Zhongshan Rd ) is closed and it becomes a bustling night market. You will be able to shop till you drop at the hundreds of stall that sell everything from tea to electronic goods. Be sure to bargain, it's half the fun and the merchants expect it!
Stalls here mostly sell souvenirs and knick-knacks from all parts of China and they sell mostly the same kind of goods too.
You can try their sour vegetables which is a type of appetizer made from vinegared vegetables or fruits. Perhaps the chinese kind of salad.
Niko Niko Do Plaza and Guilin Departmental Store are situated here.
Guilin has a history of 400 years of making paper umbrellas, which fall into two varieties, oil and colorful umbrellas. Paper umbrellas made in Guilin are made in the traditional style and are very elegant with beautiful designs and various styles. The paper umbrella may serve as a good gift.
Paintings reproduce the natural beauty of Guilin and many artists are fascinated with the Li River. Many famous painters including Xu Beihong, Huang Binhong, Li Ketan and Bai Xueshi have used Guilin 's unique scenery as inspiration for their masterpieces. Be sure to take something to remind you of your Guilin experience.
There are watermelon frost powder and lozenges for sore throat and also toothpaste. It is traditionally used to relief sore throat. It can be considered as the fourth treasure of Guilin. The most reputable brand is Sanjin.
What to buy:
Guilin is famous for its cakes made from osmanthus, green bean, water chestnut, pomelo and yam. They come in small pieces and are packed in a box. It's rather like a soft kind of biscuit with very soft and loose texture.
What to pay: About RMB6 to RMB9 per box.
In chinese it is called Weixiao Tang, the largest and multi-storey shopping mall in Guilin downtown.
The basement has a supermarket. I would suggest you to buy some local produce here like fermented bean curd, osmanthus cakes, etc. without paying for tourist price. You have to deposit your bag at the automatic lockers here, for free.
At the supermarket there's a underground pass where you can cross over to the opposite side of road. It's so convenient. All local produce with Guilin flavours are sold at this area. There are some VCD, fashion and handphone shops here.
Opening Hours: 9:00am-9:30pm