As China is the world’s factory, I think you can just about find anything here.
And the other thing I noticed about China – no brand is sacred. There are fakes of everything. And possibly fakes of the fakes.
And although I was really anti-fake, it’s really hard to avoid. I don’t know if I’d have the confidence to buy ‘real’ anything here.
To give you a price guide, Y5 = S$1 approx.
If you can’t resist a bargain, then this will be heaven for you.
Get ready and tighten your belt, bring on your best bargaining persona, stand firm, and off you go.
The 2 markets in the centre of the city aren’t markets as you would expect; they are indoors, and consist of stalls selling all sorts of stuff. Clothes, bags, watches, binoculars…fakes of everything imaginable.
It really helps if you speak Mandarin, but seriously they’ll make a deal in any language.
Xiushui Silk Market
There are 4 floors dedicated to different stuff, and coachloads of tourists get emptied into the building. The staff are tough, and hard bargainers. When you see something you like, and go ‘how much’, it’s like the referee blowing the whistle at the start of a wrestling match.
There’ll be a pause (as she works out just how much she can take you for). Then she’ll go “500″ and you go “50″…. a few more rounds before you walk on, and she’ll scream after you “OK! Your price!” and you walk back and pay your 50. And wonder how many people paid 250? Or 300? So know your limits early on, and stick to it. You can always find it in another store. (50 was our price for most things)
So what’s available? Fake bags. Lots of them. You name the brand, they have it: Prada, Gucci, Miu Miu, Chloe, LV, Ferragamo… And there are various levels of fakes. Trust me, if you’re paying Y50-100, it’s NOT leather, not matter what they tell you, how many times they hold a flame against it. It’s PVC. There are better quality fakes made of leather, but they are about Y200. Then there are the really really good fakes. Generally in secret rooms. This level of fake is really amazing. Expect to pay a couple of thousand yuan – so about S$300 up. They won’t be on general display, and you’ll have to ask. (or email me and I’ll tell you). It is astounding, the quality, and the open-ness that fakes are sold!
Shoes. Fakes and non-brands. There are lots of fake Crocs. Fake sports shoes. Fake Chanel slippers. Fake Tod’s driving shoes. Again, don’t expect leather. These are not factory over-runs. They are made as fakes.
I loved this shop for its mad shoes:
Clothes – from fake Polo shirts to tops to skirts…you name it.
Electronics – games, binoculars, clocks…
This is a smaller market, and a lot less aggressive than the Silk Market. Essentially the stuff is the same, and maybe slightly more expensive because of the location (at Sanlitun).
There is also a boutique-y section that sells ‘better’ quality clothes.
And if you go through the boutiquey area you’ll see the DVD shop that opens out on to the street. Y10 per DVD, so a box set of 6 is Y60…the quality is pretty good.58 Gongti Beilu, Sanlitun
In Sanlitun, it’s a huge mall. Generally international stores – Nike, the Apple store, Adidas, Watsons, Starbucks. And restaurants – a Vietnamese, Japanese, a salad bar…
This mall is really reminiscent of a California mall (but what would it be like in winter?) A big outdoor courtyard, and low-level buildings. Sephora, Massimo Dutti, Promod, Marketplace, and… a skating rink. Of course.
You’ll see these little shops around touristy areas. There are some really cool statuettes and figurines, and they’re pretty inexpensive – about Y150 upwards.
We even found fake ribbon.
There’s a really cool shop at Guozijian Street, Lost and Found - full of interesting things – retro furniture, interesting T’s and accessories.
And if you see a guy out and about in an “ObaMao” tshirt, that’s my nephew, Ryan!
Part 1: Sights here
Mini-guide to SHANGHAI here
Other destinations here