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Top Tours

 
Private Custom City Sightseeing and Shopping Tour of Beijing
"The tour starts with a pick up from your hotel in Beijing. Your exact itinerary is flexible so you can customize your tour based on your preferences. If there’s something you want to see more or less of simply let your guide know. Your professional guide will make all the sites you want to go in order as long as time allows and make an ideal itinerary for you.The city sites you can choose include:Tian'anmen square and Forbidden City --recomm please add the sites in the 'Special requirement' box when you make the booking. After the historical sightseeing you will have a Chinese lunch in a local restaurant. Then you will start your exciting shopping tour in the afternoon. When making your booking please provide your shopping interests in the 'Special requirement' box. Your guide will recommend the right s your guide and private vehicle will drop you off at your hotel or site you want to go in the city."""
From $48.00
 
Private Tour: Panda House Visit And Cruise To The Summer Palace With Imperial Dinner
"Meet your guide in your hotel lobby around noon time (12:30pm) and head to the Panda House of the Beijing Zoo to visit the lovely pandas. Next take a short drive to the Imperial Dock in the Purple Bamboo Park. Take a scenic 40-minute cruise from Zizhuyuan Park to the South Gate of the Summer Palace on a boat that was once used exclusively by the Qing Emperors and Empress Dowager Cixi. Pass many including the working and living quarters of the emperor; the Long Corridor the longest covered walkway in the world with 14000 exquisitely painted pictures; Longevity Hill the best place to have a panoramic view of the Summer Palace; Marble Boat the iconic building of the Summer Palace which used to represent the stability and eternity of the Qing Dynasty; and Suzhou Street
From $118.00
 
Beijing Private Culture Experience With Lunch Inclusive
"Temple of HeavenPick up at 8:30am from your hotel to visit the Temple of Heaven where the Ming and Qing emperors performed their ritual ceremonies. The best time to visit it is in the morning to see the local seniors exercising practicing Tai Chi playing Shuttlecock doing ground calligraphy as well as singing and dancing.Liulichang StreetYou can visit Liulichang Culture Street which is known throughout China and the world for its ancient books calligraphy paintings brushes
From $118.00

Shopping Tips (42)

Deal with aggressive selling in specialty stores

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...

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jumpingnorman
Jan 31, 2009

Rip-offs

Okay, maybe this isn't exactly a "tourist trap," but western tourists do get ripped off when shopping in Beijing. When I was hunting for postcards in the Xindongan Shopping Center, I entered a small shop which sold postcards for Y10 a packet (after they figured out I was from America). I ended up buying two packets for Y18, but then walked next door, where they were selling the same postcards for Y5 a packet. So be sure to bargain with each shopkeeper over everything; the price they're selling at is usually twice of what it's worth.

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chewy3326
Dec 09, 2005

Shopping - those fake brands. "Cheaper for you!!"

I get more e-mails on this topic than any other.
From CDs to DVDs to T-shirts to boots and jackets. It's all here. Everywhere. Nowhere is cheaper or beter than anyone else, no matter what any China shopping guru tells you.
However, there are some points worth remembering.
Those of us who live here generally stock up on decent clothing, DVDs, CDs, T-shirts, boots and jackets when we travel overseas.
The reason?
Simple.
1) The quality of the fake stuff you buy here is crap. Seriously bad. Watches that are 30 minutes slow within 3 hours of purchase. Boots that are peeling apart within 24 hours. Socks that wear through on the second outing. A suitcase which fell to bits on the way back to the hotel, 80 metres from the shops.

2) It is really difficult to find places to buy 'ordinary' gear, and damn near impossible to buy proper CDs and DVDs within 1,000km.

Be warned that the 'savings' on all the fake stuff are largely an illusion. Especially if you pay anywhere above 15% of the initial asking price. Even then it's marginal.

Also be aware that bringing fake goods into many countries is now a criminal offence and you can face heavy fines or worse.

The clothing (especially) looks good but, trust me on this, it falls to pieces fast. Real fast. I do ot have a single item of clothing bought in China that is worth the cheap rice I paid for it.

Caveat emptor. Customs officer emptor.

Unique Suggestions Buy unbranded gods if you want cheap goods. Let's face it...why are you spending precious holiday time buying cheap copies of $120 sneakers? Is it really that important?

DVDs? Yep. Buy 50 of them here. 45 will be unwatchable (low DVD production quality), and the other 5 will be unwatchable (low film production quality).

CDs? The sound quality is poor. The choice is poor except for music that a Chinese CD-making middle man in a backstreet shop in Xiamen thinks you will like. He, by the way, thinks that Kenny G, Richard Clayderman and Yanni are great. He thinks you do too.

Fun Alternatives Buy original stuff at home if you want value.
Buy fakes in China is you are a cheapskate but are keen to impress people with a Rolex or a Omega watch. Do have your excuse ready when people ask where it is a month later when it has fallen apart though.

mke1963
Aug 30, 2005

Haggling - a necessity!

One thing to get the hang of is haggling. Street stalls and markets will charge westerners ten times what they would to someone from the east. One example of price elavations was when I bought a bag from a stall near the Wangfujing Road.

I'd watched a Chinese girl buy a bag for 20r, and I approached and asked for one myself. The storeholder held up her calculator with 300r (£22.50) on it. I eventually haggled her down to 80r which I was happy to pay, but it shows how vastly inflated prices for westerners are.

Unique Suggestions It's worth learning the art of haggling, it can be so much fun. We spent the last couple of days in Beijing going to what we called the 'tat' markets and buying gifts and souveniers. Be prepared for people winding necklaces around your neck and thrusting items into your face. The knack is offering a ridiculously low price compared with their high price and enjoy the face pulling and sighing until you meet in the middle.

Be warned though, if you show an interest in something the sellers can be quite determined even if you don't really want it. A girl chased us down the street once with a large plastic dragon that I inadvertently gazed upon. The price on it had been 450r but the lowest she went to was 15r, I guess because we were walking away.

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JBourne
Oct 21, 2006
 
 
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"Factories"

Tour groups inevitably end up at a "factory" where you can learn about how a select product is made. The main purpose of these places is to sell you their products though.
"Factories" can actually be really interesting and fun to go to, just try not to get buyers remorse.

Unique Suggestions Participate! ...When I went to a silk factory, I got to help make a silk blanket with some friends. It was a lot of fun.

Fun Alternatives I recomend going to the factories to learn about how the products are produced and to get a little insight into the culture. You might want to skip the store area of the factory though so you don't make any impulse purchases.

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Cashee
Jan 27, 2004

It's a bargain! Until you get home...

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.

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BeijingBoy
Apr 07, 2008

A Different Perspective on the Silk Market

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.

Danimalist
Sep 09, 2008

Silk Road Shopping--DEALS!!!!

Silk Road Shopping area in Beijing is worth the trip if you make sure to bargain and watch what they put in your shopping bag. I wanted to buy a pashmina shawl and the lady tried to substitute the one I wanted with a cheaper model.

Unique Suggestions Watch what you buy.

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webula
Jan 29, 2005

mke1963

"The Northern Capital"
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blueskyjohn

"Beijing"
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SLLiew

"Beijing - Imperial Peking"
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nepalgoods

"My wonderful Beijing"
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filipdebont

"Beijing: from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall"
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Help! I'm a prisoner in a Peking cloisonne factory

Actually this Beijing cloisonne shop is probably one of the better factories for girls from the countryside to work in.

Unique Suggestions At least try communicating with the assembly line workers. Any kind words or gestures you make toward them become cherished memories that they share with their families and friends far away.

Fun Alternatives If you're not enjoying the cloisonne factory then ask to be shown around the local brewery or some other socialist showcase that's more to your taste.

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Confucius
May 14, 2003

Cloisonne Factory

The reason I'm putting this into the tourist trap section is because it ends up being yet another shopping opportunity. The factory itself is really very interesting watching the craftmanship that goes into making cloisonne. The detailed work done by hand is carried out by teams of women in what looks to be poor working conditions. They work for at least 8 hours a day for very little pay.

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pmarshuk
May 28, 2003

Confirm the price

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.

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muratkorman
Apr 12, 2010

A foreigner is always a foreigner

Most big stores and supermarkets have fixed prices but in small places where they don't show prices you might be ripped off. When shopping try not to carry any backpack or lots of bags with you because people will notice right away that you are a tourist.

Unique Suggestions You should be very fluent in saying 'duo shao qian', that means, 'how much'. If you pronounce it very accurately they will probably think that you live in Beijing, so they might not rip you off.

As I said, don't carry any bags or backpacks with you.

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ntm2322
Apr 28, 2007

Things to Do Near Beijing

Things to Do

Beihai Park

a tibetan Buddhist stupa in the Tibetan buddhist temple in Qiuongha Island in Behai Park called the Dagoba by Tibetans and Bai Tai by Han Chinese, built by Qing Emperor Shunzhi in 1751, made the Behai...
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Things to Do

Church of the Saviour - North Church - XiShiKu Church

Not too sure about the spelling there, but it should come out to something like that. This church, a little bit west of Beihai Park, is one of the most beautiful in Beijing. During certain times, you...
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Things to Do

Jingshan Park

Jingshan Park is directly north of Forbidden Palace. Most people visit the park in early mornings and day time. However, i recommend taking some time to visit the park in the evening as well. A lot...
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Things to Do

Forbidden City - The Palace Museum

A very serious advice: Pay attention to every detail of the explanation done by your guide (person or book), during the visit: that way you will find out that "peace and harmony" is the dominant...
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Things to Do

Back Lakes - Hou Hai

Shichahai is comprised of three lakes, Qianhai, Houhai and Xihai. Situated just above Beihai Park, there are many restaurants and bars along a quiet roads that run around the lake. Along the lake you...
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Things to Do

Nanluoguxiang

This is the street and area to stay if you are on a budget in Beijing. I liked the street, it is located in an old area of Beijing. You have everything there, hostels at affordable prices in...
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Getting to Beijing

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