Shopping in China

Last Update: 2008-4-14 4:00:00; By chinatravelservice

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What to buy

Most travelers want to take home some bargains or mementos. With so many options available, shopping can be time consuming, confusing and exhausting. The following tips may make it easier for you:

Don't buy everything in the first day or two.  Each city has its own specialty.  Some of the best buys are: 

Beijing:  Cloisonné; Fresh water pearls 
Xi'an:  Replicas of the Terra Cotta soldiers; Tangsancai ( Tang Dynasty hand painted China); Antique Furniture
Shanghai:  Silk carpets
Hangzhou:  Longjing Tea; Silk
Suzhou:  Silk
Guilin:  Scroll paintings; China Southern Sea Pearls
Yunnan:  Mounted Butterflies; Pure tea; Dali Batik (tie-dyed fabric)
Xinjiang:  Carpets; jade articles
Tibet:  Thang-ka(tanka)(Sheep skin wall hangings)

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Shopping is not obligatory

Don't feel obligated to shop. Our guides offer shopping opportunities as a courtesy but if you're not interested, say so.  Some of them may be quite enthusiastic, thinking this is what you want, so don't be embarrassed to tell them directly and immediately that you don't want to go shopping. You'll often find several attendants trying to help you make a purchase. This doesn't mean you have to buy; it's OK to say no, or just to look.

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Be cautious of fake items

Shopping is great in China and you can expect to be able to buy many things at a much better price that at home. Please however be warned that if a bargain price for a world famous brand seems too good to be true…….. it probably is!

Antique buyers should know that many experts have been disappointed to find that their find of a lifetime is beautiful but fake. Antiques should be officially certified to be exported legally. The penalties are severe. Keep all receipts, certificates and official documents that are received when you purchase any antiques. Antiques are those items over 120 years of age.

Bargaining

Bargaining is a national pastime in China so you will find that most retailers except for department stores, large shopping malls will be prepared to bargain.

You should check the import restrictions in your home country as some items may attract tax on arrival in your home country, especially if it is mailed or shipped separately.

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