Destination: China: Beijing
Beijing is not a shopper’s paradise. Recent years have seen the emergence of many Western-style luxury malls that are filled with international brands. One of the newest Sanlitun North, does have a lower level gallery of shops of Chinese up-and-coming brands and there are a few special boutiques such as Spin Ceramics and Dara but don’t expect to come home with unusual treasures.
Beijing's Best Shopping
Consumerism is new in China—and expect to find that service and selection is not at the level of the more developed markets of Asia such as Hong Kong. Also, fakes are rife, thanks to a government that has a half-hearted attitude to copyright protection, witnessed by the fake DVDs that are peddled by hawkers for $1 wherever foreigners congregate. “Let the Buyer Beware” should be stamped on everyone’s passport at entry point. Anyone who is seriously considering acquiring, say, a fine Chinese carpet would do well to check on prices at home before leaving the States. While the showroom sticker price may look attractive, once shipping and import taxes are added, it is no longer such a great deal. Having said that, this is the place for variety, with fine-woven Chinese rugs and imported vintage rugs from Tibet. Feel free to bargain vigorously: it’s a fair bet that the carpetmaker was paid a pittance and the markups are huge.
As for antiques, buy for fun only. Hong Kong is the world center of the China antique market. Stores there can guarantee provenance: in China, that so-called Ming vase may well have been made by the same factory that supplies Main Street with its dishes. The other, and far more serious, risk would be to try and export genuine antiques from the country without the necessary seals and certificates. China is very sensitive about “foreigners” having plundered some of its treasures over the centuries; they talk about British explorer Aurel Stein’s haul of priceless Buddhist scriptures from Silk Road caves a century ago as if it had happened yesterday. Laws prohibit the export of antiques, and being on the wrong side of the law in China is not advisable. Anyone set on taking an artifact out of the country legally has to go through a convoluted paperwork process with the customs department.
Search By Keyword
By South American standards, Ecuador—which is about the size of...
New on Indagare
Give the Gift of Indagare The perfect present for travelers: a membership to Indagare. Buy now
Indagare Insider Trips: Cuba, Myanmar and India: We’re planning trips throughout the year. Contact Indagare (212-988-2611) to be added to the wait list.
- Community: Share advice with fellow members asking about your favorite travel discoveries.
- Indagare Insiders: Three-day itineraries for families in London and art lovers in Vienna. Plus, fashion insider Chiara Ferragamo’s picks on what not to miss in Florence, Bonnie Gokson, owner of Hong Kong’s lofty Sevva on Hong Kong, Culinary Insider: Budapest.
- Rant & Rave: Indagare members can share their advice with the community by logging in first, then clicking here: Rants & Raves.
- Give the Gift: Indagare: Give the gift of travel intelligence with a membership to Indagare. For details or to order, call us at 212-988-2611 or click here: Gift Membership.
- Indagare Plus: Remember that hotels marked by an Indagare Plus symbol offer preferential rates and benefits to members.
- Indagare Share Feature: Share articles, postcards and reviews with family and friends on such networking sites as Twitter, Facebook and Delicious. Simply click on the three small dots that symbolize our connect icon, at the end of every article, and follow the link to the networking site of your preference.
- Sample Indagare: With free bi-weekly email blasts on new hot spots and insider tips when you sign up for our mailing list.
- Profile feature: Members share your profiles, comments, favorite articles and IQs. Just click on the Profile tab on the upper right of your screen and look for the Edit My Profile blue tab.
- Indagare means to discover, explore, seek, scout in Latin.