China is a treasure trove for those who like to shop. Best to come with as little in your suitcases as possible so you can buy lots along the way.
Commission Shopping Tours
A normal part of tourism in China is for travel agencies to make money on commissions when their tourists shop. This cannot be done in normal markets, the travel agencies have contracts with tourist markets which record who buys what and pays a 30% or 40% commission to the travel agency, guide and driver. Often a tour guide is paid zero per day and relies solely on commissions to pay their salary.
Common commission shopping markets include the Jade market, Cloisonné market, Pearl market, Silk market (there are several silk markets), the Terracotta Warrior factory and other "factories".
Our experience is this ruins the relationship between the guide and the tourists, annoys the tourists and wastes lots of time, This is why we pay our tour guides a fair wage. All our tours have no commission shopping stops. If you do want to go shopping we will take you to markets where you can bargain and get a price for your goods without commission.
Our Recommended Shopping Stops
We take our guests to non commission markets where you can shop honestly, bargain a bit and get a good deal.
Panjiayuan Weekend Market - Possibly the best market in China, it has Chinese handicrafts from all around the country. A truly authentic experience, the stalls are open mainly on the weekend, so if you can put it into your schedule for a Saturday or Sunday. It is a great place to pick up souvenirs.
Xiushui Silk Market - The silk market is a great place to go if you are searching for fake purses, shoes, belts, and other "designer" items. You can also stock up on jackets and silk products. It’s open later than the other markets and has many Western dining options nearby. Sale people here can be a bit aggressive, but it's a uniquely Chinese experience
Hongqiao Market - The Hongqiao Pearl market is one of the largest markets in Beijing. You can find the same kinds of items you would find at the Silk Market, but without the hassle of dodging aggressive sales people.
Toy Market - connected to the Hongqiao Market - this is a great stop if you are traveling with kids or shopping for them. About 100 stalls selling a wide variety of kids goodies.
Yashow Market - Yashow is mainly a clothing and accessory market. It is similar to the Silk Market, but smaller. Nearby is the Sanlitun Village mall with many additional shopping and dining options.