Was in Beijing recently with an afternoon free so my friend and travel buddy K and I decided to go window shopping at the Silk Market. This was on the Grave sweeping or Qing Ming holiday so the market was even busier and more hectic than normal.
Basically I was dragging K along for company and to share the pleasure of walking through the market. Can’t explain exactly why but I really enjoy the atmosphere of that place. Call me strange but it is like a drug! We both said we would buy nothing. Famous last words.
How we got there – Normally when visiting the Silk Market, I arrive on foot or by bus and enter through the main entrance on the street. This time K and I caught the subway at Beijing Train station and entered the Silk Market through exit A at the Yanganli subway station. There is an under ground corridor that connects exit A directly to the Silk Market basement so you do not even need to see the light of day when entering the market. Cool!
Even this underground corridor is lined with stalls displaying eye catching bargains so temptation begins before you even enter the market proper.
Speaking Spanish – Never ceases to amaze me how the staff there can fleece tourist in so many languages. I saw Spanish man and his family start to walk away from a shoe stall when the seller would not meet his price. Determined not to loose the sale, the seller let loose a rapid fire string of Spanish and persuaded the departing customer to return. She ended selling shoes to both the man and his wife at what would have been enormous mark ups.
Barefoot shoes – While browsing on the first floor, K saw some barefoot shoes that she had to have. The price offered by the seller was 600RMB. We browsed our way up to the 6th floor then worked our way back to the 1st floor where K had a plan. I’m a white male which makes me a liability when it comes to haggling so K told me to make myself scarce while she did some serious shopping.
K visited a number of shops selling barefoot shooes and ended up getting her barefoot shoes for 150RMB. That’s right. She battled the price from 600RMB all the way down to 150RMB. Found out later that night from an American couple we met that the same shoes in the US cost $80. K paid around $18 for hers. Very nice work.
So a word of advice to the ladies. Do not shop with men in the Silk Market. No matter if they are a just a friend like me, a husbands or family. Get rid of them and you’ll save a lot of money.
Beijing Duck – No trip to Beijing is complete with out the tasty scrumptious Beijing Duck. The trick is to find a restaurant that will serve decent quality duck at a decent price. Being Beijing, most restaurants are priced for tourist and not great value. Out of curiosity, I asked a waitress at the Silk Market’s Peking Duck restaurant how much their duck was. 88RMB for two people. The restaurant is very nice so that is an excellent price. So if you visit the Silk Market, treat yourself to some of Beijing’s finest duck when you finish bargain hunting.
To give you an idea of the Silk Market layout, photos of floor layout of each floor have been included below