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Shopping trips – Part 7: Beijing, what to buy and where to go

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China is a manufacturing powerhouse. If you can’t find what you are looking for in Beijing, then you need to take a long hard look at yourself as a serious shopper!

Beijing is the world’s third most populous city and, as China’s capital, anything and everything is available here.

Here is Budget Direct Insurance’s guide to shopping in Beijing without breaking the bank.

HongQiao Pearl Market

This is a good place to start your bargain shopping and sells far more than just pearls. You will also find silk goods, handbags, cameras, Chinese art, ornaments and clothes. This is a popular market with tourists and locals alike, and haggling is a must. Be careful of the quality of goods, especially if you buy pearls. Behind the main building is the HongQiao Toy Market. Most traders speak English.

Getting there

Subway Line 5
Station: Tiantan Dongmen exit A

Panjiayuan Antique Market

This is an absolute must. The largest and most vibrant market in Beijing selling antiques, curios, collectables, porcelain, furniture, jade, jewels, books, propaganda posters, calligraphies and stamps. We defy anyone to leave here empty handed! Traders from the Hui, Miao, Korean, and Manchu minorities also gather here making this place as diverse in people as it is in goods.

Open 8:30am - 4.30pm
The stores in the market are open every day while the street stalls just open at the weekend.

Getting there

Address: No.200, west of Panjiayuan Bridge, Chaoyang District.

Beijing Glasses City

A unique little street that resembles a place of a pilgrimage for four-eyed people! Bring your glasses with you, and they can copy or read your prescription. If you don’t have your glasses, have your eyes tested and wait while your glasses are made up. Be prepared to haggle.

Open daily 9am - 6pm

Getting there

Subway line 10
Station: Panjiayuan exit A, approximately 4 minutes walk to Beijing Glasses City.

Russian Market

For something different head for the northern area of Yabaolu, sometimes unofficially known as Russian town, just north of Ritan Park. Here Russian traders from Siberia sell clothing and accessories and specialise in leather goods. Window shop further south where there are some surreal shops sell full-length furs to mainly Russian clientele.

Open daily 9.30am - 7pm subway Line 2

Getting there

Station: Chaoyangmen exit B, approximately 8 minutes walk to Alien's Street Market / Russian Market.

Factory art

If you are looking for contemporary art, you can't miss 798 Art District located in the Dashanzi area to the northeast of central Beijing. Originally a factory area built by the East Germans, nowadays artists and cultural organisations have developed open art spaces, galleries, studios, design companies and bars. This is a hip area that celebrates its proletarian roots with massive, quirky open-air sculptures. Spend a good few hours wandering around and soaking in the industrial turned artistic atmosphere.

Getting there

Address; 798 Art District is located at 2 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing.

For more tips on shopping overseas, look out for earlier posts in this series.

Want more good reads? You'll love these too:
Shopping trips – Part 1: Outlet shopping
Shopping trips – Part 2: Hong Kong, what to buy and where to go
Shopping trips – Part 3: Shenzhen, getting there and what to buy
Shopping trips – Part 4: Shenzhen, your guide to shopping and relaxing
Shopping trips – Part 5: Tokyo, what to buy and where to go
Shopping trips – Part 6: Seoul, guide to best buys and Gangnam style!
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