We woke at the first glimpse of dawn with the goal of getting to Panjiayuan (aka Dirt Market) before the crowds descended upon it. This market is a must-see. After previously seeing some Tibetan silk rugs elsewhere, I was hoping to see something similar but was disappointed not to find any here.
Regardless, the market was bursting with rows and rows of beautiful ceramic works, bronze pieces, redwood and mahogany statues and carvings, delicate vases, hand dyed fabrics, oil paintings, water paintings, black and white photographs, furniture, Buddhist statues, pearls, corals and many many more things. By about 10am, it was starting to get very crowded. So best to get there early. We were there around 7am and it seemed perfect. Although some vendors were just starting to set up when we got there, by that time about 95% of the market was already in buying-selling mode.
Interestingly, we also saw some foreigners with helpers pulling carts full of interesting pieces and furniture. A brief conversation with one revealed that she and her companion own a home furnishing/design shop and they regularly come to Beijing and in particular, this market for their pieces.
Our own purchases were much more conversative. I bought two round teak bowls with lids that look very nice in our living room now. And I also love looking at them everyday and being reminded of our fabulous trip. I also came away with some indigo dyed fabrics, something I had seen on previous trips to Japan but of course they were much spendier there. The bowls I purchased for around 70 RMB (around $10 US) each after much back and forth between me and the vendor. The fabric pieces were square 200 cm x 200 cm, finished beautifully on the edges. These I purchased for around 80 RMB (around $12 US) each.
The market is only open on weekends from sunrise to early afternoon. It is almost worth planning your Beijing trip around this market.
Address: Huaweiqiaoxinan Jie, Dongsanhuan, Chaoyang District (about a 25 minute taxi ride from our hotel in central Beijing)