So I went to silk street today and wanted to give advice, after all this site definitely helped me! I've been 3 times, once to look, twice to buy, First of all prices, I know I didn't always pay rock bottom, but that's okay. Prices in Yuan and original asking price in brackets.
Hollister jeans (so comfy) 100 (700)
Diesel chinos 100 (650)
Burberry trousers (very nice quality) 135 (750)
2 x smart leather belts, D&G and Diesel 100 (600 for one). I think I could have gone a little lower
2 x CK boxers 100 (150 each) - could have gone to 30-40 each i think, but i was in a rush.
2 x Boxers, Paul Smith and Diesel 100 (45 each). same as above.
1 x Nike Free 3.0 125 (850). I also bought another pair for 120 (offered 120) from a really good sports market by Tiantandongmen metro station - go to the park entrance by the station and the road opposite it, going away from there has sports shops on and off it, they offer reasonable prices, same quality as silk street, but also some really low end stuff too.
This is the interesting one for me "silk" ladies kimono w/nighty 300 (1300). I feel I could have gone quite a bit lower, it says 100% silk, but i'm very confident it's a silk polyester blend, still nice.
1. Scout about, many stores have the same stuff, so try in a few stores pushing the price crazy low to get a feel for the price.
2.Let's say your max is 60, take all the money out your wallet but 60 (maybe 61.50 to make it realistic) then barter for 50, reluctantly push to 55, if they ask for more go "let me see, I only have 61" (show them) - they can't ask you for money you don't have.
3. Try the item out - not a similar item or the same in a different colour, the exact item you will take home.
4. Ask people leaving the store what they paid.
5. If other people are in the store they will be reluctant to agree a low price for you because the other customers will realise and go for the same, take them to the side and discuss quietly with the shopkeeper.
6. Fault with the good or not what they said? Barter down a low price and then suddenly notice the fault and demand a reduction because of it, worst case, they go get you a better one (worked for buying the silk kimono).
7. In one shop I asked for trainers in a size that other shops didnt have, the shop went to get them. I noticed the label looked a little different, they put a sticker over the original size label to lie to me. It was pretty obvious though, if in doubt hold up to a pair on show of the size you want.
8. Don't be nasty, sometimes your highest is lower than their lowest, and that is okay, it's business. I saw too many people get angry because of this - that is not okay.
9. By the way, the Indian/Pakistani restaurant on the top floor does fantastic curry!
The Silk Market is the most famous of all the shopping options in Beijing and for good reason. Its five levels of massive rooms filled to the brim with tightly filled aisles of shops, basically it looks like a Middle Eastern marketplace. The building is chockful of just about everything you can imagine and not just things made with silk. Without a doubt this is the best place to buy souveniers on your visit to Beijing, not only do they have the best selection but there are no price tags, you can bargain for everything. Which could also be a negative if your not only prepared to bargain but to bargain AGRESSIVELY! These people mean business and so should you. I have bargained for wares all over the world including the Middle East, and South America and by far this was the most intense experience ever! Most of the people you will be bargaining with are young woman and don't let their small stature fool you....they are immensely intimidating! Word to the wise, if your browsing they will eat you alive, they want you to be buying. So go in there with a game plan and be sure to stick with it, be as firm with them as they will be with you. I had a great time and ended up buying all of my souveniers there and it cost a fraction of what it normally would of cost. Do not miss out the fenzied experience of shopping at the Silk Market....and by the way... bring cash!
A Chinese bazaar
What to buy Counterfeit clothes and sneakers
What to pay Chinese (but not hand-made) kites : 100 RMB for 4 units, after 20 minute bargaining
Handmade letter stamps with red ink: 100 RMB for 3
Chinese painted poster (size of a standard door): 50 RMB
Wind-proof gloves - 50 RMB
Bonnets - around 20 RMB
Ears cover - 10 RMB
Jack Wolfskin wind/water-proof jacket - 300 RMB
Tailored shirts - 100 RMB each for standard model
Non tailored shirts - 40/50 RMB
Tailored suits - 1000 RMB on average
Shisha (Narguile, hooka) - 150 RMB for the biggest model
Small imported perfumed tobacco boxes - 20 RMB each
Coal - 10 RMB a small pack
The vendors are so numerous that it's very easy to bargain. Tell them your price (divide their 1st offer by 10 if you are not sure), stay firm, smile, be polite and frown a little bit, they'll eventually reach your price.
Indoor vendor flea market. Great buys. Be prepared to bargain like you never did before. Know what you want and what you are willing to pay. Beware- the are different qualities. note the differences before you leave the vendor.
What to buy You can buy an fashion item you desire.
What to pay 30% of original asking price seems about right. It wont be easy and it will take you 10 to 20 minutes.
Beijing is cheap,the Oz dollar was getting about 6RMB so the pound will get you more. There are plenty of markets to buy clothes, eg underwear $2 aud, GStar and other brand jeans etc $20 - $30 dollars at the silk markets and in the "new trendy area" of Beijing. If you plan on walking alot, get some vaseline for sweat chaffing. The subway is based on HK, so it is easy to get around and very cheap. Downtown backpackers do a tour of the great wall if you are interested, but be prepared for some hard yards!
What to buy Clothes and Pearls [Lattter from Pearl Market]
ok, first of all don't ever take there offer for the first price they give you on anything !!!!! Cut them by at least 80% and stay firm. They give you a calculator and tell you to put in your best price...but in your best price and stay firm, start to walk away and they keep cutting the price and don't budge, stay on your price and eventually they get there......if you don't have the time just walk away......It's a bit frustrating because when you start to walk off, they grab you and cut the price in half but nowhere near the price you want to pay, so that gets old, until you get the price you said, example: I wanted some hats at first he told me 240 RMB for 1 hat...I told him 10 RMB for 1, I started to walk away 4 times before he settled on the 10 RMB for each hat. it took more than 10 minutes to get this done !!!! why because dumb people still pay through the roof for items that aren't worth it. and as long as the vendors could get away with it, they'll continue doing it !!!!!!
What to buy You name it they have it there except the 2008 Olympics items, it seems the government has strict control on these items, and can only be bought at government stores !!!!!!
4th level of the Silk Market in Beijing offers a variety of jewelries. Abundance of pearls and other semi precious stones available. Bargaining is a must! Don't leave a store without at LEAST 50% discount.
What to buy Pearls
What to pay It all depends on your budget. I love shopping for myself and as presents to other people. Bring extra cash. I don't want to use my credit card - I don't feel safe.
Being to Beijing several times in the past, however, no-one has ever told me about this place until now. Most natives do not shop here as they are able to obtain cheaper goods elsewhere (fake brand also but cheaper and shoddier fakes).
Despite what some people say, the crackdown on counterfeit products have not stopped the flow of fake goods. Vendors openly display clothing with major brands (Polo, Armani, Tommi, etc.) and they are obviously simply branded (not "fakes" as they are not really copying anything). LV, Gucci, Fendi, etc. bags are hidden away, but shop keepers are more than happy to show you what they've got.
What to buy For us guys, simply skip the upper floors and focus on the basement and lower floors for bags, clothing and shoes.
My bargaining is not great, but these are the prices I got, you should be able to do better:
Polo - 40RMB
Suits (Armani / D&G) - 300RMB
Shorts (G-star) - 70RMB
I was trying to get some quicksilver board-shorts, but I can't seem to get the price below 100RMB, so I skipped them, they might be real.
The suits are highly recommended! Quality is OK, but a bargain compared to what you'll get overseas.
What to pay Go in the early morning (I think they open at 9). When the store is deserted, bargaining is a breeze. Likewise avoid the weekends, the vendors get extremely desperate when there are few shoppers in the building.
I won't going to purchase of the "good stuff", but lets just say that the starting price offered by shop keepers is even more ridiculous. Just bargain store to store, all the shops stock similar goods.
A great and fun time, is the Silk Street Mkt. Don't take it too seriosly as the girls here are the best. I have been in sales for over 25 years and would take them as sales agents!!! Always bargain, and never except the first 5 prices (this is for you only; don't tell others...).
Polo/Lacoste/Gant 25 - 35 RMB depending on quantaty
Pants/Jeans - 35 - 45 RMB
Shoes - be aware that most of them are not leather (the lighter trick does not work)! - 60 - 200 RMB
The Silk Markets is definitely not a man's place... it's girlie shopping heaven.
We arrived by subway and the markets were there in the underground basement - everything is sold here from mobiles, DVD's, sunglasses, belts, jeans, shoes, handbags, luggage, jewellery, toys, you name it it's here. Then we crossed the road and discovered 4 more levels of shopping heaven!!!
Adrian opted for a cup of coffee and a newspaper whilst the girls shopped till we dropped.
What to buy If you are into Diesel Jeans, Ed Hardy clothing, Gucci handbags (copies of designer gear) this is definitely the place for you.
What to pay Calvin Klein men undies 10rmbs a pair - sorry no photos!!!
Gucci sunglasses 30rmbs
Ed Hardy chuncky belt - see photo - 100rmbs
Ed Hardy tops x 2 and jacket - see photo of jacket - 330rmbs
Diesel Jeans - 120rmbs
The more you buy the cheaper the prices - you have to bargain hard and be prepared for a lot of abuse, grabbing you to prevent leaving their store - it's mayhem but oh so much fun!!!!
Silk/Xiushui Market and Yashow/Yaxiu Market = This is where all the knock-off shoes and bags are. Lots of knock-off clothes also but quality and design are not that good. Not that many choices for men. Initial price will be at average, 500-1000% of the real price, sometimes even more. Bargain extremely hard. Shoes for example costs around 50RMB on the average while T-Shirts cost around 30-40RMB. More choices in Silk Market. Believing that you can find the bargains of Rock & Republc jeans there.
Silk Market is a big building of 7 levels consisting of many small booths by local vendors. You can find clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, souvenirs, leather goods and much more. You won't find price tags on anything and you have to bargain for the price. Never accept the first price given to you, you are likely to get it to one third or one quarter of the first price. If you are good at bargaining you can even get it for less. I give you a list of prices which can be used as a guideline. Stick to the list and you will have great deals, but you have to bargain first.
What to buy Snow wear, ski jacket and trousers, T-shirts, polo shirts, sport shoes, boots
What to pay A ski jacket and trouser set (Spyder/North Face): 300 Yuan
T-shirts and polo shirts : 30-50 Yuan
Converse shoes : 60-70 Yuan
Sport shoes : 80-100 Yuan
UGG boots : 180-200 Yuan
Wallets and bags : 80-100 Yuan