Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To Market We Go ~ Silk, Ladies Street, Laitai, Pearl, Toys

 It is a way of life to shop at markets here in Beijing! Check out here for The Golden Five Star Market. Here are my impressions about a few of the markets I have been able to check out.

Silk Street Market~  Take Subway line 1 and exit at Yong'anli. I am lucky enough to live a 10 minute walk away. This market gets a bad rap, in my opinion. I hear it slammed on blogs and first hand but I really, really like it. As a matter of fact I have come to call it "my Target". When I came on our "fact finding trip" back in February I found this market and went back a few times. There is something about it that makes me feel very comfortable and at home here. 

Yes, the vendors are aggressive! Yes, the vendors are grabby! Yes, the vendors like to touch my son's spiky, gelled hair! Yes, the vendors begin at very, very high prices (much higher than the Pearl Market because this is the most touristy market). But first off, they call me "pretty lady" and I LOVE it! Second, I play their game. I don't go when I am grumpy and I joke and full around with them, they love it and I love it!
D buying magic "tops". He's quite the haggler!

You can find EVERYTHING here from underwear, clothes, shoes, bags, toys, jewelry, watches,  accessories, coats, home decor, souvenirs, DVDs, electronics, and more! Remember, you get what you pay for!
Tips: do not approach an item unless you for sure want it, they will give you a price on a calculator and you give them a price significantly lower (I usually do not pay over 200 yuan for ANYTHING), take out the cash you want to pay (once they see $ they usually cave), the more you buy, the better deal you get, walk away (don't be afraid, they will chase or call after you). Have a smile and a friendly demeanor and they will LOVE to practically give their stuff away!
Gourmet Alley at entrance of Ladies Street Market

Ladies Street Market~ This market is next door to the impressive United States Embassy. I found a few boutique-type shops right across the street that sold French and European style home decor. Gourmet Alley (pictured left) is a great way to enter the market. Yummy fried rice and noodle shops to give you sustenance for shopping!
This market carries much of what you can find at other markets, but catering to female needs and taste. The vendors are not aggressive at all and prices are not overly inflated. Be sure to check out the chinaware section, which you can enter from the street just past gourmet alley entrance.

view from outside the entrance of Laitai flower market
Laitai Flower Market~  Merely steps away from the Ladies Street Market is this flower market. It has an assortment of silk flower arrangements, outdoor furniture and garden ornaments, indoor trees, cut flowers, candles, and outdoor fish ponds.

I am told that they will even deliver your purchases (including indoor trees) to anywhere in Beijing for a nominal fee. I have seen scooters carrying indoor trees!
I went on a Friday and saw wedding preparations

Pearl Market~   A pleasant surprise to find this market at the same subway stop as The Temple of Heaven. Line 5, Tiantan Dongmen Station, exit A. 

Very similar to the Silk Street Market, but brighter lights. I had heard so much about this market being a much friendlier market, although I thought the vendors were similar to those at Silk. The merchandise is similar as well, but I did notice the vendors did start their prices significantly lower than at Silk.

Just next door to Pearl Market are two other markets, one is a shoe market and the other is Toy City. We will definitely be going back to Toy City as it had the best selection of Beyblades and Legos we've seen yet.
Toy City next to Pearl Market

1 comment:

Silcox Stories said...

Wow! Sounds like you are becoming well acquainted with your new home; I'm sure that helps. Maybe you can market yourself to a travel agency for daytime tours! I love the idea of markets! Although not too sure I could live without Target!