I love exploring foreign supermarkets and this Carrefour hypermarket is superb like they tend to be back in Europe. This particular one is located in the city centre near Wushan Square in the heart of the city's shopping district.
I found this shop by accident and really liked the place. It is full of Buddhist bits and pieces but they are not cheap.
There are many beautiful pieces and things which you will not find on the typical market stall so if you are intp collecting Buddha's or other Buddhist memorabilia this is really the place to go.
Wang Xingji is a Hangzhou institution, fan-maker for more than 100 years. Customers included late Qing monarchs and Chinese premiers. There are several branches in Hangzhou, including one off Hubin Road along the eastern shore of West Lake, and one along Hefang Street. Prices vary from very cheap (RMB15) to very expensive (over RMB5000), depending on size, material and artistry. They sell fans for everyday use and fans for display.
What to buy: All sorts of fans, made of paper, silk or wood. Remember fans, like clocks, are not good presents to give to the Chinese - the word for fan in Chinese sounds like "to separate". The Chinese buy fans for themselves.
What to pay: Varies, RMB15 onwards.
Hubin Road hugs the northeastern shore of West Lake, and has been developed as a shopping district with high-end designer shops, cafes and restaurants. All the usual designer shops are here, and prices are high.
What to buy: Genuine designer goods.
What to pay: Through your noses!
Hefang Street is probably the most convenient place in Hangzhou for souvenir shopping. The compact mid section of the street is pedestrianised and has loads of little shops selling various specialties of Hangzhou. Bargaining is very important!
What to buy: Hangzhou is famous for its fans (Wang Xingji), tea (Longjing) and silk products.
What to pay: Varies.
This is a very touristy place, but still actually one of my favourite spots in Hangzhou.
The Hefang old street is lined with small shops, pharmacies, restaurants and teahouses, and food stalls housed in traditional style buildings. Walking along this street, you can imagine a what it must have been like in centuries past, and in the west end (by Zhonghe Zhong Lu, or Middle Zhonghe Rd), you find the food market. To the east end, towards the lake, you will also find Wushan night market, which sells similar trinkets in small stalls.
What to buy: Any touristy trinkets you like; jade jewellery, pearls, silk, tea, paintings, wood carvingssweets, and toys, almost anything! Good for souvenirs and small gifts.
What to pay: This is a touristy place, and prices will be higher here than elsewhere, provided you know any other places to get these things.
Silk you can definitely buy cheaper at the Silk Market (see my Silk Market tip ), and the same goes for Chinese style furniture. The price difference is not huge, so if you are pressed for time, bargain and buy what you like. Well, if buying furniture, you are well advised to go elsewhere for better prices and choice.
The silk market sells anything from ties to scarves to fabric. If it's made of silk, you'll find it here!
Hangzhou is famous for its silk, and walking on the silk market, you understand why. There are hundreds of shops selling silk in all forms available. You will find traditional silk farbrics with Chinese motif patterns, as well as trendy scarves and ties. These shops are outlets for local companies that also export their products.
Be prepared to haggle, but generally my experience is that the shop-keepers do not start with excessively high prices, though foreigners who don't speak the language can expect to pay more than Chinese. Shopkeepers also know their limits, and will not sell to any price, as may happen in other markets. So if it is a question of a few yuan, don't let that keep you from getting something you find really nice. Compared to Europe, the price level here is very low, as the cost of middle men and logistics are cut out.
What to buy: Anything you want.
However, I have so far never found raw silk (some call it Thai silk) fabric here.
What to pay: Haggle, haggle, haggle.
small scarf: ca 40-60 yuan, long/big scarf: ca 80 yuan, pashmina scarves: ca 40-80 yuan, thick woolen shawls: 80-250 yuan, depending on size and material, nightwear: 100-170 yuan, depending on how much fabric is used, long underwear: 200-250 yuan, ladies silk tops: 40-100 yuan.
Men's ties: 25-40 yuan, men's woolen scarves: 80-100 yuan, long underwear: 250-300 yuan
In the end, you have to be prepared to pay a bit more for higher quality.
This is the place where many clothes retailers from high street shops come and get their stocks topped up. The amount of clothes on this market is just unbelievable, which probably derives from the fact that textiles is huge business in Zhejiang province. If it's being produced, you can find it here. Being the retailers' shopping paradise, prices are lower there than on the high street, but shops close early, between 15 and 17 every day, so get going early!
This market mainly caters for the Chinese fashion shops, so people not into Chinese fashion, may have a harder time finding clothes to their taste here. There is a limited number of shops selling fake brand clothes, maybe more suited for the Western fashion sense. Also, sizes are, as in many shops around China, suited for Chinese, so tall or big persons may have to look quite hard to get clothes their size.
What to buy: Here you can buy anything that cathes your fancy. They have mostly women's clothes, but also men's and children's wear are to be had here. You will also find accessories and bags.
Towards the northern end of the road you will find shops catering for people who are interested in making their own clothes. They have everything; from fabric to buttons.
What to pay: ladies t-shirt: 40-80 yuan
ladies trousers: 80-100 yuan
men's t-shirt: 40-80 yuan
This street was opened in October 1999 as an effort of the local government trying to reproduce the busy street scene of the ancient time by preserving and reconstructing the buidings there.
Do enjoy the buildings as you stroll along the street. It was quite an unique feelings.
Hangzhou is famous for its silk production. There is a silk market at the center of the city, where silk products are much cheaper than in department stores. It is a street with hundreds of small shops along the two sides. You need to look carefully into each shop, because they don't have much space for display. In some shops, it is even possible to find brand clothing.
What to pay: Remember, you can bargin here. Start at half of the asked price if you are not accompanied by local people. But what comes out at the end is your talent.
This is a street full of small but famous shops. You can see many interesting thing there, the souvenir, handicraft, toys, local food, chinese medicine, etc. There are also street performance by the local artist and craftsman. It's a good place for foreginer to experience the ancient and traditional chinese culture.
What to buy: souvenir, handicrafts, little food....
To buy something you might need during your trip, check with this kind of shop (plenty of them) like 7-11. It's fair price, at least no wasting time for negotiation. You have the same price as others.
What to buy:
Many things are open to negotiation, even when there is a purchace price written on them. This goes for phone cards as well.
What to pay: The purchace price written on many international phone cards is 100 renminbi, but you should be able to bargain this price down. I usually paid just over 30 RMB at a cell phone stand.
Yanan East Road which is adjacent to Wulin Square is the most frequented shopping or hangout area for the Hangzhou locals. Here you can find all foreign or local brand names. Most of the top & large shopping malls are located here.
Walk further down off Yanan East Road, you can find affordable apparels & shoes.
Take a walk at the nearby Wulin Square & admire the modern skyline of Hangzhou.
The plantation is just 15 minutes' drive from West Lake. The air quality here is so refreshing, no doubt so many top chinese officials or some rich businessmen bought some properties here. It is also a popular resort for many to escape the hustle & bustle of life.
You will be ushered to a room which looks a bit like a conference room. Here their experienced staff will explain to you the history of tea & show you the different grades of Long Jing tea. At the same time, you will be served with a cup of fragrant Long Jing green tea. Smell the fragrance before you savour the tea.
There's a small plot of tea plantation where visitors can step in & pluck some tea leaves for remembrance. You may also find some cookies & candies made from Jasmine / Long Jing green tea.
What to buy: Long Jing Green Tea is very famous in West Lake. The tea leaves are not fermented nor roasted, just slightly baked in low heat.
It is believed to lower blood cholesterol & ideal for slimming purpose. Good as a throat refresher too.
The highest grade of Long Jing green tea is those harvested before Qing Ming Festival.