I am back from Beijing, and had a wonderful holiday! So many laughs and stories to share, this trip will be filling my blog posts for many days to come :)
I consider myself to be quite a seasoned Asia traveler. I have traveled throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and India, and I have made multiple trips to Singapore and Bali (from Perth, who can resist?). I am yet to visit the shopping capitals of Hong Kong and KL, but Bangkok (which I have visited multiple times) is not too shabby for a good shopping spree.
In comparison to the places I have already been, Beijing was a little disappointing shopping-wise. I expected it to be dirt cheap, but I have been able to find cheaper (and better quality items) elsewhere in Asia. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because it meant I didn't accumulate as much as I would otherwise have. We shopped at the big malls (the China Zara collection which I was swooning over online didn't look good in real life!), touristy markets (the Silk and Pearl markets) and the more local markets (which is where a lot of smaller shops buy their goods to sell, and where I bought most of my purchases - if you want to go there, they are opposite the Beijing Zoo subway station).
I really enjoy bargaining and am a pro-haggler. On the one hand, I enjoy the thrill of getting a great deal, on the other hand I am not interested in haggling over a dollar (they need it more than I do!). These prices could be used as a guide for visitors to Beijing, or an indication of the prices over there generally. However, I paid a lot less than my friends did for similar items (we tended to split up and do our own bargaining) - you definitely need to bargain and be confident and assertive.
Inside Joy City, one of Beijing's big malls where prices are on par with Australia (no bargains to be had unfortunately)
The mass of people outside of Joy City. I found mall shopping to be a lot less pleasant than in Australia or even elsewhere in Asia- some shops were so crowded, it was difficult to move. Lines at change rooms seem to be expected (and no, there weren't even sales!).
Here are my purchases:
These long skirts are big business in Asia. This leopard print one (because who doesn't want some leopard print!?) cost 35rmb, or approx $6.
49rmb or approx $8
35rmb or approx $6
50rmb or approx $8
39rmb or approx $6.50
Cute umbrella with jewel handle (25rmb = $4.50), Engrish coin pouches (5rmb each, or 80c), hanging dragon (4 for 10rmb, or 40c each)
Faux leather shoes. I was dissapointed that I didn't find any well priced real leather shoes, and I broke my usual rule that I only buy leather... L to R: 40rmb ($7), 50rmb ($8), 40rmb ($7) and 50rmb ($8).
3 pouch bag (39rmb = $6.50), snake twist necklaces/bracelets (10rmb each = $1.70), freshwater pearl necklaces (15rmb for the ones on leather = $2.80 each, 30rmb for the all pearl one = $5), rings 10-20rmb each ($1.50-$3.50) and earrings 15rmb = $2.50.
Cute bow cardigan, 49rmb = $8
3/4 length sleeve jacket (a present for my Mum), 49rmb = $8
Silk summer robe, 30rmb = $5. They had cheaper polyester ones, this is supposedly real silk. To give you an idea of how they like to take tourists for a ride, my friend paid 250rmb for the same item. Luckily she was good humoured about it!
Cute dress, 39rmb = $6.50.
One area where there are real bargains to be had are in the tights/stockings department. These ranged from 15rmb-20rmb each ($2.50-$3.50) for patterned designs, depending on the thickness. Underwear was also cheap, but you have to be lucky enough to fit into the one size fits all range - I'm not! I bought some for gifts, ranging from 16rmb a pair ($3) to 3 pairs for 10rmb (55c each!).
Also pictured are fake Ralph Lauren Polo shirts, short sleeved cotton (50rmb each = $8.50), silk dress for Bub (20rmb = $3.50), and various other kids dresses, tops and a cardigan (ranging from 15rmb to 40rmb, depending on the item).
Coming tomorrow- sightseeing in Beijing (part 1)!