Shopping at Chinese medicine shop
There are lots of markets and shopping streets in Beijing as well as several dozen shopping malls, many of them practically brand new. In 2007, four new shopping centers added nearly 1.2 million square feet of retail space to Beijing. In 2008, 11 new shopping centers with 11 million square feet of retail space opened up. Web Sites: Shopping in Beijing Shopping in Beijing ; Travel China Guide ; Travel Tips ; Beijing Page

Zhongguancun (in the Haidian District near the Summer Palace) is known for its cheap electronic goods. The 3501 PLA Military Surplus Store (Third Ring Road, south of Zhaolong, 23 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Chaoyang) is a good place to get military-style clothing and weird stuff. Beijing Jade Carving Factory employs about 1,500 carvers who slave away drilling lots of stones for little pay. Some people say the smell of the factory is reminiscent of burnt teeth. Caishikou Department Store (306 Guanganmen Nei Dajie, Xuanwu District) is Beijing’s largest gold market and is good place to shop for gold charms.

Golden Resources New Yansha Mall (Subway on Line 10, Changchunqiao Station) is a shopping center that opened in October 2004. Part of the 550,000-square-meter Golden Resources complex, it contains 550 stores, seven cinemas, an ice-skating rink, a car showroom, space for 100 restaurant, including one with live crocodiles in a tank.

Legation Corner (Dongcheng District, immediately to the east of Tiananmen Square) is a arts and culture complex made from the former Qing Dynasty American Embassy compound. It has a repertory theater, contemporary art center and trendy restaurants and clubs. It opened in 2008. Shin Kong Place (Subway Line 1 at Dawanglu Station) is one of Beijing’s largest department store. Opened in April 2007, it has outlets for Prada, Gucci, Chanel and other famous brands. Trendy Chaoyang District features a Vegas-style shopping plaza called The Place.

Wangfujing Street

Wangfujing Street (around the Beijing Hotel, northeast of Tiananmen Square) was the main department store and upscale shopping area of Beijing. Displaced by fancier and more flashy establishments, it is now a a pedestrian-only shopping zone lined by a hodgepodge of old brick courtyard homes, department stores, cheap clothing stores and shops. By day it is a thriving street filled with everything from local crafts and souvenirs to up market luxury international brands. At By night, it comes to life with street stalls selling exotic foods. Location: Wangfujing business street, Wangfujing, Dongcheng District, 2 kilometers east of the Forbidden City

Located in the Dongcheng district of Beijing, Wangfujing Street is one of the most famous shopping streets in Beijing. It is home to approximately 280 famous Beijing brands, such as Tongshenghe shoe shop, Shengxifu hat store and Wuyutai tea house. A photo studio which took formal photos of the first Chinese leadership and the New China Woman and Children Department Store helped established by Soong Ching Ling (Madame Sun Yat-sen) are also located on the street.

Among the popular destinations here are the Beijing Department Store and Sun Dongan and Oriental Plaza shopping malls. The famous Wangfujing McDonald’s sits next to a government book store. Bunjee jumping cranes are sometimes set up near the East Church, one of China's oldest churches (built in 1655). There is a good foreign language bookstore here. The nigh markets found at either end of the pedestrian area are good places to sample street food.

Wangfujing food market features things like skewered scorpions, snakes, sea horses, silkworms and dragonflies. Visitors can chew boiled testicles, taste skewered centipedes and swallow golf ball-sized pupa. According to the Global Times: “Most agree the scorpions taste like a mouthful of toothpicks, seahorses like fishy sponges and snakes like, well, what you'd expect snakes to taste like. But the trip still provides a great taste of culinary exoticism.”

Oriental Plaza (Wangfujing Street) is a vast $2 billion shopping, hotel and office complex built on a cleared hutong and financed by billionaire Hong Kong developer Li Ka-shing. To make room for it, Dongfeng market, a fixture of Beijing shopping for 40 years, was torn down. Oriental Plaza has nearly 200 acres of floor space. It has a number of stores found in American shipping malls and dozens of restaurants. Critics of development say it disrupts the feng shui of Beijing.

Jianguomenwai Street (near Wangfujing Street) is an area with big name hotels and glitzy office buildings. It is a good place to shop for clothes. Yifu Alley (near the United States Embassy and the Friendship Store) is a narrow back street with good buys on cashmere clothes and silk items.

Friendship Store Area


The Friendship Store (Subway Line 1 and Line 2, Jianguomen station, Yong'anli station, 17 Jianguomenwai Dajie) used to stand out because it was the only place in Beijing to get foreign goods. Now its isn’t that much different from the other department stores in Beijing which in turn aren't that much different from a J.C. Penney or Sears except it has a Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Baskin-Robbins, Délifrance, and sushi restaurant. But its a huge place, and it sells a wide range of traditional Chinese goods and handicrafts including watercolor paintings, cashmere clothing, porcelain, jade, rugs and traditional Chinese medicine. The bookshop stocks a wide range of English-language magazines and newspapers. Hours Open 9:30am - 8:30pm

The Friendship Store opened in the 1950s and moved to its current location in 1973. For a long time it provided some comfort to foreigners as it was the only place in the capital where one could buy imported wines, decent quality clothing and shoes and foods missed from home. Among its customers were former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who made a late night trip for Baskin Robbins ice cream; and former Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega who bought yards of silk with his photogenic wife.

Ordinary Chinese were barred from entering the Friendship Store. Among the items on sale were cashmere sweaters, rare green teas and fresh tomatoes and lemons — available no where else in the city. By the early 2000s the store had become an anachronism, visited by a few nostalgic tourists but dismissed as out of date by most Chinese and foreigners, with better selections offered elsewhere.

Friendship Stores were a fixture of large cities in China and the Soviet Union. They were state-owned and first appeared in the 1950s, when they were primarily frequented by the many Soviet experts assisting China's economic development. The stores sold Western, imported items, such as peanut butter and Hershey bars, as well as high-quality Chinese art and crafts. Prices were considerably higher than those in the country of origin but, because the stores operated as a monopoly for imported items, buyers had no other choice. The old Friendship Stores accepted only foreign exchange certificates as currency. Items for sale included uncensored copies of Western literature such as The New York Times, so guards prevented anyone of Chinese appearance from entering. Often crowds of people would look in the door to see what was for sale. [Source: Wikipedia]

The abolition of foreign exchange certificates in the early 1990s made Friendship Stores largely redundant, with foreign visitors being allowed to hold ordinary renminbi in the PRC. Most stores have now closed, but a few remain, most notably in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

CVIK Plaza, across from the Friendship Store, is a multistory department store with a good supermarket in the basement. The China World Trade Center, also near the Friendship Store, is a huge shopping complex with a variety of stores, restaurants and a bowling alley.

It has been announced that the site is to be redeveloped, with the Friendship Store being replaced by a more modern shopping center, offices, and a Conrad Hotel. There were rumor that the Friendship Store would be torn down and replaced with the $500 million Friendship Mansion financed by the Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, featuring a 29-story apartment complex, two office towers and an eight-story shopping mall. Parts were expected to be open in time for the 2008 Olympics to take advantage of it prime downtown location.


Qianmen (south of Tiananmen Square) is an interesting place to browse for Chinese-style goods and souvenirs. Beijing Jingdezen Porcelain Joint Co. (149 Qiamen Dajie) has good buys on ceramics. The Army Store (190 Qianmen Daijie, the road running south of Tiananmen Square) is a good place to get military-style clothing and weird stuff. Qiamen means “front gate” as on that it once was the entrance to the city. In Imperial and colonial times it was an entertainment district with brothels, opium dens, theaters for Peking Opera, tea houses, silk shops, Chinese medicine stores and hutongs. In recent years the hutongs have been replaced by shopping malls and office blocks with ugly postmodern facades that look run-down only a few years after they are built. The main commercial road has been widened into an eight-lane boulevard that can only be crossed by pedestrian bridges. The main shopping area has been rebuilt with an 845-meter-long pedestrian-only area with bright gold street lights, in the shape of birches. Along the sides are two- and three-story storefronts with gray-brick facades and red and gold curved eaves. Rolex, Prada. Starbucks, Nike, Adidas and Apple are among the foreign companies that have opened up outlets there. Among the older establishment there are a famous Peking Duck restaurant, a silk clothing street and a Muslim food shop that cooked food for an 18th century Qing emperor. More than 10,000 families have been forced to move out their one-story courtyard homes to make way for more luxurious flats, high-end restaurant and a boutique hotel in re-development area that is 17 blocks long and six blocks wide and largely being redeveloped by the trendy Soho developers.

Qianmen Shopping Areas

Dazhalan (off Qianmen Dajie in Qianmen) features traditional medicine shops, stores that specialize in fake antiques, and a variety of other kinds of shops, stalls and stores scattered among hutongs and narrow streets. Worth a look are the 100-year-old pickle shop and fabric shops with mind-boggling selections of silk and satin. The traditional medicine shop at No. 24 offers dried seahorses, deer antlers, geckos and bees. There iss a whole room devoted to wild ginseng. Some of the more expensive roots cost over $100,000. Pharmacist can give you on-the-spot advise.

Liulichang Street (parallels Dazhalan, South of the Peace Gate of Xuanwu District in Beijing) is one of the major tourist shopping areas of Beijing. Shops here specialize in antiques, art supplies, paintings, chops, calligraphy scrolls, pottery, porcelain and materials you need to make rubbings and calligraphy yourself. There are also wine bars and teahouses where you can relax and spend 10 times more on a cup of tea than what you would in a local tea house in a less touristy area. Assume the stuff in the antique shop and curios stores is fake. Liuchlichang Jie means “glaze factory street.” Many of the tiles for the Forbidden City buildings were made here.

Situated in Hepingmenwai, Xuanwu District, Liulichang Culture Street used to be the place where kilns for producing glazed tiles were situated in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. In the early Qing Dynasty, business people of antiques opened antique shops on the street. During the Qianlong reign period (1736-1795), Liulichang became a collecting and distributing center of ancient paintings, calligraphic works, ancient books, rubbings and the four treasures of the study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper). in 1982 Liulichang Culture Street was renovated, and now it has become a street with unique cultural characteristics in Beijing.

Forbidden City Shopping Areas

Jinbao Street is a leafy promenade between the Forbidden City and the central business district. Opened in 2002 on the site of demolished hutong, it aims to be the Ginza of Beijing, plus Mayfair and Park Avenue all rolled into one, with five-star hotels, plush restaurants and designer boutiques. One of its most striking features is section with new car showrooms. One side of the street is Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Jaguar and BMW. On the other side, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Mercedes.

Xidan (a kilometer and a half west of Tiananmen square) is a busy shopping area with an interesting jumble of large department stores and stalls that has been crowded with shops since the Ming era and now caters mainly to Beijing’s up and coming middle class. Xidan has several large shopping centres, such as Chung-yo Department, Xidan Market, Xidan Shopping Centre, and Xidan SciTech. Each of them is a multi-function shopping centre integrating restaurants, recreation and shopping. Location: Xidan North Street, Xicheng, Beijing, China

Three Stones Kite Store (just north of Beihai Park, Gulou Dajie or Pinganli subway stations) is a cool place. According to Beijing Time Out: “For three generations the Liu family has created exquisite, handmade kites, and a visit to their shop just north of Beihai Park will make you feel like a child again. Owner Liu Bin learned the traditional Chinese art from his grandfather over 20 years before opening shop in 2003. Amazing birds, butterflies, long-tailed fish and dozens of other lucky Chinese creatures hand-painted on to sturdy bamboo frames fill the tiny store, and proprietor Liu Bing, his son and nonagenarian father (who made kites for the Imperial family) will custom-make one for you if you desire something that flies a little higher. [Source: Beijing Time Out, December 2, 2010]

“Shaped as everything from swallows to dragons, these gorgeous paper kites start from 100-200RMB, while the topof- the-line ones cost over 10,000RMB. On request, Liu can whip up custom designs and the shop occasionally offers kite-making courses. Even if you’re not taking them to the park for a day out, these kites make beautiful, decorative gifts.

Lonely Planet reports: “The great-grandfather of the owner of this friendly store used to make the kites for the Chinese imperial household. Most of the kites here are handmade and hand-painted, although the selection is limited these days, now that the owner uses half his shop to display other, admittedly attractive, souvenirs. Kites start from around ¥150. You can also find all the gear you’ll need to fly your new kite, as well as miniature framed kites, which make pretty gifts. [Source: Lonely Planet] Location 29 Dianmen Xi Da Jie, Xicheng District, Houhai, Tel: 010-8404-4505, Hours Open: Everyday: December -February 9:00am-6:00pm; March-November 8:30am-10:30pm.

Beijing Shopping Malls

Golden Resources New Yansha Mall (Subway on Line 10, Changchunqiao Station) is a shopping center that opened in October 2004. Part of the 550,000-square-meter Golden Resources complex, it contains 550 stores, seven cinemas, an ice-skating rink, a car showroom, space for 100 restaurant, including one with live crocodiles in a tank.

Malls at Oriental Plaza (Subway Line 1, Wangfujing station, the Exit A) is a popular with both local residents and visitors. It occupies a total area of 130,000square meters and is part of the Oriental Plaza – one of the largest commercial complexes in Asia. The complex is located between Gold Street (Wangfujing Street) and Silver Street (North Dongdan Street). Location: No.1 East Chang An Avenue, strategically located along Wangfujing Street, Tel: 85188888-2272, Hours Open: 10:00am-10:00pm Website:

Sanlitun Village (Subway Line 10, Tuanjiehu station, Exit D) is an extensive complex built in the old Sanlitun bar area with two parts – the south and north. Village South is the home of popular fashion brands such as Uniqlo, Steve Madden, Esprit, Mango, the Apple Store and Adidas’flagship store, also including 30 restaurants and a multi-plex cinema. Village North has more high-end shopping, with designer boutiques such as Emporio Armani, Montblanc, Diesel and Shanghai Trio. Location: Courtyard 19, Sanlitun Road, Sanlitun, Tel: 6417-6110(The Village South), 6417-7110(The Village North). From Tuanjiehu station, Exit D walk north to Gongti Beilu (Worker’s Stadium North Road) and turn left and walk to the market at Gongti Beilu (Worker’s Stadium North Road). You will see the Sanlitun Village on your right. Hours Open: 10:00am-10:00pm, Website:

Jinyuan Yansha Shopping Mall (Subway Line 10, Changchun Qiao station) is nicknamed “Great Mall of China” due to its size. Covering an area of 558,500 square meters (6 million square feet) on six floors, it is it 1.5 times bigger than the Mall of America and large enough to embrace two football fields. Jinyuan Yansha boasts 230 escalators and over 1,000 shops and restaurants and a skating rink. The target audience is middle-class shoppers. Location: 1 Yuanda Road, Haidian District, Beijing, Tel: 010-88872987, From Changchun Qiao station walk to the west along Changchun Qiao Road. You’ll see the mall on your right. Hours Open: 10:00am-9:00pm

Beijing Yintai (Subway Line 1, Guomao station, Exit D) covers 350,000 square meters and has three main buildings – Park Hyatt Beijing, Park Hyatt Penthouses and Park Hyatt Residences. Designed by architecture firm is John Portman & Associates and situated in the center of Beijing’s central business district (Beijing CBD), it has a large podium connected to the three towers, with lobbies, meeting facilities, shops, and restaurants. There are more than 50 international brands, including Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes, Cartier and several flagship stores. Location: 2 Jianguomenwaidajie, Chaoyang District, Tel: 010-85172828, 85172929, Hours Open: 11:00am-9:30pm, Website:

The Place (Subway Line 1,Yonganli station, exit B) features a massive screen in the middle of two luxury buildings. People walk around under the screen enjoying the space art, high technique, lighting. There are a number of luxury shops and gourmet restaurants and open-air bars. Designed by Jeremy Railton, who also designed for the world largest electric screen in Las Vegas, The Place merges shopping, building, art and fashion. The mall is two in four-story buildings and contains Tourneau, China’s largest watch boutique, D&G, Ferrari and the Chaterhouse English-language bookstore. Location: 9 Guanghua Lu, Beijing, Tel: 010 6587-1188. From Yonganli station, exit B walk north along Dongdaqiao Road.. After the first crossroad, you will see the Place on the right. Website:

Capital Land Mall (Subway Line 2 or line 4, Dongzhimen station, Exit A 2) is the largest single complex building in western Beijing. Located to the northwest of Xizhimen Bridge on the north-west corner of the second ring road, it consists of three Grade-A office towers and a mega-shopping mall covering over 260,000 square meters with large supermarkets, international brand shops, beauty and fitness, recreational, kindergartens, the foreign fast food, food court and food and drink. Location: No.1, Xizhimenwai Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, 100044,, Tel: 86 10 5830 1008 Fax: 86 10 5830 1599, Hours Open: Daily 10:00am-10:00pm

Solana – Beijing Lifestyle Shopping Mall (Subway Line 10, Liangmahe station, Exit B) resembles a European town. It is surrounded by water three sides. Ponds in Chaoyang Park are to the south and east. Landmark Lake is to the north. Solana boasts more than 1,000 international brands sold at dozens of retail shops. There are also many restaurants as well as bar and clubs. Location: 6 Chaoyang Park Road, Tel: 010 5905-6565. From Liangmahe station, Exit B you have walk a long way to the east along Liangma Qiao Road to the second traffic light, then turn south, down to the northwest corner of Chaoyang Park where Solana is located. Hours Open: Monday-Thursday 11:00am-9:30pm, Friday-Sunday 11:00am-10:00pm Website:

Gate City Mall (Subway Line 10 or 4, Haidian Huangzhuang station, Exit D) is one of the leading fashion shopping centers in Zhongguancun area. Among the brands featured there are IZZUE, b+ab, CK Jeans, Miss Sixty, FCUK and G-STAR. There is also a wide variety of cuisines at the restaurants and food court. There are a bunch of theaters at the Jinyi International Cinema.. Location: 19 Zhongguancun Dajie, Haidian District, Beijing, Tel: 8248-6688, Hours Open: 10:00am-10:00pm, Website:

Beijing SKP (Subway Line 1, Dawanglu station, Exit A) has numerous international brands. They also boast the largest Gucci flagship store in Asia. There are also some good restaurants in the mall. You will see the higher-end as well as a number of mid-range labels that carry the basics, seeing the season’s latest first hand (Marni, Anna Sui…). There is a good florist in the basement near the bread shops. Location: No.27, Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100025, Tel: +86 10 6530 5888, , Hours Open: Monday – Sunday: 10:00am-10:00pm Website:

Xidan Joy City (Subway Line 1, Xidan station, Exit F1) is the biggest shopping mall in Xidan. Xidan Joy City has 13-story complex equipped with the world’s longest escalator. It also has the largest digital cinema in China and the largest cosmetic shop in Beijing. Find Zara here as well as FAB, Uniqlo, Next, Motivi and Honeys. Location: 131 Xidan Beidajie, Xicheng District, Beijing

Galaxy SOHO

Galaxy SOHO (in the Sanlitun district, Subway Lines 2 and 6, Chaoyangmen Station Exit G) is a combination of offices and a commercial centre in the heart of Beijing with a total of 332,857 square metres. Opened in 2018 and described as the biggest shopping mall in Beijing, it is composed of four different ovoid glass-capped buildings joined together by multiple curving passageways on different levels. Hadid said: "the interior spaces follow the same coherent formal logic of continual curvilinearity." The complex, like most of her buildings, gives the impression that every part of them is in motion. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said the building demonstrates “a rare generosity in a country determined to outdo the West in terms of commercialization”. Others have called it an eyesore that has contributed to the destruction of Chinese architectural heritage in Beijing. It occupies a large section of 7A Small Arch Hutong.

According to and the architects. “The Galaxy SOHO project in central Beijing for SOHO China is a 330 000m2 office, retail and entertainment complex that will become an integral part of the living city, inspired by the grand scale of Beijing. Its architecture is a composition of five continuous, flowing volumes that are set apart, fused or linked by stretched bridges. These volumes adapt to each other in all directions, generating a panoramic architecture without corners or abrupt transitions that break the fluidity of its formal composition.

“The great interior courts of the project are a reflection of traditional Chinese architecture where courtyards create an internal world of continuous open spaces. Here, the architecture is no longer composed of rigid blocks, but instead comprised of volumes which coalesce to create a world of continuous mutual adaptation and fluid movement between each building. Shifting plateaus within the design impact upon each other to generate a deep sense of immersion and envelopment. As users enter deeper into the building, they discover intimate spaces that follow the same coherent formal logic of continuous curvelinearity.

“The lower three levels of Galaxy SOHO house public facilities for retail and entertainment. The levels immediately above provide work spaces for clusters of innovative businesses. The top of the building is dedicated to bars, restaurants and cafés that offer views along one of the greatest avenues of the city. These different functions are interconnected through intimate interiors that are always linked with the city, helping to establish Galaxy SOHO as a major urban landmark for Beijing.”

On shopping there China Highlights reports: “As you might expect, luxury retail space attracts luxury brands. Shopping in Galaxy is not a cheap affair. You'll find Tier 1 luxury brands from around the world as well as some of China's new emerging brands. There are rarely any bargains to be had here and in many cases items cost more than they would in the West. You're better of using your visit as a sightseeing trip rather than as a shopping trip. It's absolutely not done to haggle in any of the mall's stores either. There are a fair few restaurants and coffee shops scattered throughout the complex and they tend to be a little more reasonably priced. It's worth noting that you can get better value for money nearby in Sanlitun but you won't get the spectacular view of the building” Location: 7A Xiao Pai Fang, Hutong, Dongcheng, Beijing. Hours Open: 10:00am – 10:00pm.

Markets in Beijing

Panjiayuan Antique Market (seven kilometers south east of the Forbidden City, 100 meters west of the Panjiayuan Bridge at the East Third Ring Road) is Beijing's most famous antique market, growing its humble beginnings as a flea market in the early 1990s. There are more than 40,000 stalls with paintings, calligraphy works, ceramics, jade, furniture, coins, army surplus and so-called Buddhist artifacts. The market is specially animated on weekends when the permanent stalls and shops are joined by vendors setting out their wares on the ground. Get there early. The market attracts large crowds. It is a great place to shop for souvenirs if you have the time. Bargaining expected. There is a large selection of Chinese "artifacts", including pottery and art, presumably most it fake if it is said to be real.

Xin Min Food Market (Subway Line 2 and Line 8, Guloudajie Station) is housed in a hanger-size building. Butchers chop up slabs of pork with large cleavers; elderly shoppers elbow their way for the best deals. It is also known as Xinmin Vegetable Market.

Yuanlong Markets (north of Temple of Heaven Park) is where foreigners go for silks, cashmere and jade. Nearby at Hongqiao Market there many good antique shops.

Guan Yuan Pet Market

Guan Yuan Pet Market (Subway Line 2, Fucheng Station) is a huge market for pets that opened up in a Beijing suburb near Fuchengmen subway station and the Second Ring Road in August 2005. Several thousand animals, including birds, reptiles and insects are on sale on any given day. The market covers 60,000 square meters and welcomes up to 20,000 people on the weekends looking for pets. Mostly dogs and to a lesser degree cats are for sale. These days it has less animals than it once had. Now it regarded as a good place to buy tobacco and pipes, fishing tackle, jewelry and Chinese shoes. There are many, many stalls.

According to Beijing Visitor: "While fish, birds and insects might be what many know Beijing Guan Yuan Hua Niao Yu Chong Shi Chang (Beijing Flower Bird Fish and Bug Market). For those seeking a rather authentic China 'experience' this little market offers it all. This is Beijing people going about their everyday lives uninfluenced by foreigners and cameras. Out of respect for one of the few genuine China experiences left in Beijing, it would be prudent to keep cameras hidden and simply enjoy the experience of visiting the market. These people are doing what they normally do without influence from visiting tourists.

“People living in Beijing may find this market a good place to pick up a cheap but adorable pet to join their family. The shop and stall holders are warm and welcoming even if you are not interested in buying. There are many stalls both inside and outside the market. There is even the chance to sit down and enjoy a meal. Pets like turtles, terrapins, fish, budgerigars, parrots, doves, rabbits, chinchillas, cats, kittens, mice, hamsters, iguanas and dragon lizards are all for sale. Listen to birds sing their cheerful tunes at the market. Insects like crickets are very popular and widely available. During winter these were the only insects available, apart from live maggots.

“To accompany the pets you will find a wide range of accessories available to either make your dear pet's life more comfortable or to entertain them. Pet food and pet medicines can also be purchased. For the smoker there is an impressive selection of smoking pipes in a range of shapes, lengths, materials and colours. Already own a pipe? Why not check out the variety of what appears to be unprocessed tobacco for sale! There are many large bags of various tobaccos just waiting to be enjoyed by those who enjoy a pipe or rolling their own cigarettes.

“Jewelry is another widely sold item you may stumble across in this market once you venture inside. Jade and other semi-precious stones can be found either made up as bracelets, necklaces or available singularly. While winter is probably not the best time to be looking for plants to buy in Beijing there were a number of spring bulbs like hyacinths already for sale. Cacti, azaleas, bromeliads and gourds are also found at this time of year. Traditional Chinese shoes and slippers can also be purchased. Slippers come in a wide range of ornate traditional patterns. At the same time the simple black and white slip on shoes from Mao's era can be found and purchased at very cheap prices.

Beijing Guan Yuan Hua Niao Yu Chong Shi Chang Access To access Beijing Guan Yuan Hua Niao Yu Chong Shi Chang (Beijing Flower Bird Fish and Bug Market) by subway, take the train to Fuchengmen subway station, exit B and turn 180 degrees to walk north along Fuchengmen Beidajie, on the east side of the west 2nd Ring Road. The market is a 5 to 10 minute walk either along the street or through the linear park.

New Silk Market: Counterfeit Central

The New Silk Market (a few blocks from Tiananmen Square, Subway Line 1, Yongali Subway Station.) is regarded as Counterfeit Central in China. Also known as Silk Street (Xishui Street), Silk Alley and Silk Alley Market, it is a popular tourist destination, welcoming 50,000 customers a day, 80 percent are foreigners. Many vendors can speak English and other foreign languages. Silk Market opened in the 1980s during the Deng reforms. It had 400 outdoor stalls selling trinkets and counterfeit goods when it was closed down in December 2004 to make way for the new Silk Street Market, a five-story mall of 1,500 stalls that charged vendors higher rents ($1,500 as opposed to $500 a month) set up by developers and Communist party officials. Chinese authorities promised foreign manufacturers that the vendors would only sell legitimate goods.

The new complex attracted chain stores selling drugs, knives and clothes as well former stall vendors that specialized in pirated goods. Chinese authorities have attempted to switch the emphasis of the market from fake brands to promoting Chinese culture and lifestyle, thus offering more knickknacks and souvenirs, as well as real brand name products.

But the sale of counterfeit stuff continued. In April 2006, Louis Vuitton and four other luxury goods companies sued the landlord and vendors at the market for selling copies of their products. The companies won the case using new and the vendors had to pay around $3,000 in compensation to the five brands. In November 2007, outdoor apparel make North face won a lawsuit against the manager of the popular the market, which was ordered to pay $5,330 in fines and stop infringement practices. There was a clampdown on counterfeit products before the Olympics.

One shop owner told Bloomberg thought the ruling was ridiculous, “Everything here us fake. Everyone knows it’s fake,” he said. Today, counterfeit stuff is still available albeit much more discreetly than it used to be. Stalls that specialize in music and movies display licensed DVDs and CDs with holograms but when someone buys something they are given a pirated copy. Shops that sell pirated brand names goods have catalogues that customer use to pick out items they want. In some cases they then wait to have the goods delivered to them in a side alley as if they were buying illegal drugs. The Jiaodaokou district near the Forbidden City is famous for counterfeit and pirated goods.

Yabaolu (Russian Market)

Yabaolu (near the embassy district, Line 2 and Line 6, Chaoyangmen Station)) has traditionally been regarded as a place where you could get anything you wanted, particularly fur coats, clothing, hats, bras, toys, bathing suits, and stuff destined for Russia in bulk quantities.. Known in English as the Russian Market, it has traditionally attracted Russian fur sellers, Central Asian buyers, Afghan gem dealers and Uighur traders who buy and sell a variety of fake and real goods, Some restaurants serve borscht. Blonde prostitutes are available for $100. Chinese ones and Mongolian ones are much cheaper. Location: 16 Chaoyangmenwai Dajie and Yabao Lu, Chaoyang District, west side of Ritan Park, Temple of the Sun Park, Hours: 9:30am-4:00pm. .

There are more than a 100 stalls selling nothing but fur garments: coats, jackets, hats, gloves and other items made from mink, rabbit, goat, fox and even dog. The most serious buyers are Russians. Almost one out of three coats ends up in former Soviet Union. Some of the fur comes from trapped wild animals. Most comes from farm-raised animals. The fur garments have traditionally been made in the countryside by workers who generally earn less than $100 a month. This means the clothes are very cheap. Some fur coats sell for as little as $40. Full-length mink coats go for as little as $1,200, a fraction of what they cost in Europe or the United States. Nearly all the dog fur garments are made for domestic consumption, The coats feature coarse fur that comes largely from German shepherds and similar dogs. The fur comes from dog raised for their and meat and fur in special farms.

The main part of the Russian Market is a covered market just east of Fulllink Plaza, made up of huge warehouses filled with stalls selling sweaters, shoes, makeup, children’s clothes, pajamas, stuffed animals, clothes, jewelry, watches, rugs, hats, bedding, pots and pans, and the occasional redemptive piece of kitsch. Starting from Chaoyangmenwai, Yabaolu Market runs through right up to Jianguomenwai.

The market is popularly referred to as the “Russian Market” as it was previously situated in the Russian quarter of the city. The name Yabaolu means “elegant treasure road”. This road was originally called “Mute man’s Alley” or Yaba Hutong. At the northern side of the market, you can find many semi-resident Russian traders. Many of these traders are from Siberia and they have formed their own cultural group here. This part of the market is called Russia town. Here you will find businesses here featuring Russian written names. Many contemporary, modern markets have emerged at Yabaolu Market after the Beijing Olympics. These include the You-Town and Chaowai-Men. These shops predominantly cater to retail shoppers. Tourists enjoy browsing around.

Image Sources: 1) CNTO (China National Tourist Organization

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), UNESCO, Rough Guide for Beijing, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in May 2020

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