Like all other markets, bargaining is a must! Despite the fact that nobody spoke English, I managed to negotiate by using hand signals and patience. In fact, half the fun of bargaining is trying to do it without speaking a common language!
I bought some of my favorite things at this market – strings of freshwater pearls (for less than US$4), a finely embroidered silk tapestry, a jade dragon, and some tiny turtles carved from stone. The turtles were less than 10 cents each. When I got home I made them into a bracelet using some copper wire. It’s now one of my favorite pieces of jewelry and, at less than a dollar, it's certainly one of the cheapest!
The markets also had sections selling flowers, and a range of fabulous birds, fish, and lizards. These creatures were far more exotic than I’ve seen in my local pet store, but secretly I was a little glad that none of them would fit in my luggage.
Apparently now there is now also a department store across the road that also sells more antiques, electronic equipment, clothing and cultural revolution kitsch. If I was to go back, I would definitely get myself a copy of Mao’s little red book.
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swindon, United Kingdom
February 17, 2005
Be prepared to bargain hard, if you're a Westerner, the initial price you'll get will be very high. Take, for example, a traditional Chinese women's dress, initially offered to me at 680RMB, finally paid 215RMB.
Great for buying gifts of chopstick sets, tablecloths/runners, chess sets, traditional Chinese gifts, and silk scarves, etc.
Worth watching a few people bargain first to get some pointers. Ideally, if you can take someone Chinese with you, they'll be able to give you a guide price on what to pay. Typically, between 25-50% of the initial price they quote you.
You'll get a better bargain if you buy more than one of the item. Just remember that you need to fit it in your case on the way home!
There is also a fish market downstairs, and around the back is a toy market. But like the main market, be very careful about the quality of the product. Pay special attention to it to make sure you're happy before you start bargaining.
From journal Site Seeing While on Business
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
April 3, 2002
From journal Bumbling Through Beijing