Spread over seven floors, the silk market is one of the most popular indoor markets in Beijing, with over 1700 stalls. Despite its name, it doesn’t just sell silk – in fact, silk products only make up one floor.
The first few floors sell clothing – mostly fake branded t-shirts and casual wear. The higher up you go, the more expensive and higher quality the items tend to get. When you reach the third floor you’ll find the silk products, with everything from silk tablecloths and underwear to traditional Chinese qipao dresses. Stalls selling high-end silk clothing usually have their own tailors and are happy to adjust items to fit. There is even a small silk museum for you to learn about the making of the items.
Floors four and five contain a whole mix of items, roughly fitting into the categories of electronic goods, jewellery, Chinese art and tourist tat. Continue up to the top floor and you’ll reach the food vendors – the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after a busy shopping session.
Bargaining is something many tourists feel uncomfortable with – and stallholders definitely take advantage of this! Here are our top tips to nab the best bargains:
- Keep an eye out for where the locals are shopping and don’t just jump to the first stall you see – there are a hundred others selling the same stuff further in.
- Always keep in mind what price you would be actually willing to pay. Don’t get carried away in the excitement and end up paying over the odds for some small trinket you didn’t want in the first place.
- Start at around a quarter of the original asking price, and go up in SMALL increments from there.
- If you’re not getting anywhere, walk away – chances are the stallholder will call you back with a deal!
- Don’t act too enthusiastic – trying on clothes, big smiles, etc. all imply you’re willing to pay. Feel free to frown a bit, look doubtful about the quality, mention you can get it for much cheaper on Taobao (Chinese Ebay), etc.
- Remember that getting refunds is almost impossible – make sure you are 100% happy with your purchase before handing over any money. For large purchases, ask for an official receipt.
Opening hours: 9:30 – 21:00.
Transport: take metro line 1 to Yong’anli (永安里). The market starts in the metro station itself.