If you are like most tourists, you come to China to see the amazing sites, taste exotic and expertly-created foods, check out the local flavor and shop for a few faux items to bring back home. While China is cracking down on fake goods, like rip-off coach purses and Dior scarves, you can still find similar items (without the copyright infringement) at several markets in the major cities. Yes, it is harder to find a fake Valentino bag, but you can find a great faux bag that will look handsome with your designer wardrobe even if it is a local brand. So, if you are on the market for cheaper goods with no brands, check out some of the biggest markets in Beijing.
Ya Show is a market most tourists love because you can still bargain, and bargain hard. The basement level houses shoes, belts and bags. The first and second floors have clothing (mostly for women, but some dress shirts and T-shirts for men). The third floor has a nice selection of tailors and fabrics as well as ready-to-wear clothing. You can design your own suit or dress and they’ll have it ready in a week. The 4th floor has trinkets, electronics, pearls and a few small nail salons. Finally, a cafeteria on the top floor serves decent Asian cuisine on the pre-pay card system. You can easily spend an afternoon here, especially if traveling with a hardcore shopper.
The Pearl Market is another great place to go where bargaining is the name of the game. This building also has several floors, so always head to the top first since that is where fewer customers go and thus the sellers are more likely to bargain to get any deals they can for the day. You’ll find several hundred selections of pearls, and if you know a bit about jewelry before hand you can do nicely here. Beware the fakes if you plan on paying full price.
Qianmen Market Street and Dashilan are also great places to go, but a bit trickier to locate. You’ll find T-shirts, trinkets, tea and fake clothing and bags here, all mixed with Chinese food stalls, drink stalls and extremely loud sales people. This area requires heavy bargaining but better deals. Cut into the side streets to really find great deals. Since everyone is supplied by the same several dealers, you’ll find the same merchandise at several stalls, so shop around before you buy.
For antiques, both real and fake, the Panjiayuan Flee Market is a great place to head for old books, revolutionary posters and paraphernalia, traditional paintings, some clothing and even small furniture. This is open only on weekends, and extremely crowded. If you don’t know anything about antiques, assume everything is fake and bargain hard. It is illegal to take some antiques out of the country, so if you are serious about antiques do your research ahead of time!