Beijing features two pre-dominant foreigner markets; they are so called because they are mostly frequented by foreigners hunting for that almost perfect copy of a Gucci bag. This is not to say that Chinese do not go there, too – and I mean not as translators or haggling assistants to their foreign bosses. But, funnily enough, Chinese prefer the real thing if they can afford it so, actually, it is mostly the 老外.
In many ways the real thing
Sanlitun Yaxiu Market 三里屯雅秀
Located right next to Sanlitun this market mainly features clothes, shoes and accessory items. Foreigners flock there because they hope to get their wardrobe outfitted for years to come on a budget that would perhaps buy them a pair of socks back home. That’s the hope, anyway. This market stretches over several floors features a café up front and a fake DVD store by its east entrance. Get ready to haggle your heart out the moment you enter the building and keep in mind that the salespeople (mostly young women) are super experienced and good at what they are doing, i.e. squeezing the last penny out of your holiday war chest.
Sanlitun Yaxiu Market
Silk Street Market 秀水街
Silk Street Market obeys the same rules as the above mentioned Yaxiu. Actually, the two places are more or less the same, operating in more or less the same manner. The only big difference is that the Silk Street Market has undergone a facelift in the last few years making it appear sleeker and perhaps more trustworthy. However, be not fooled, the sales people are as professional about their trade as their brothers and sisters at Yaxiu. Both markets are well known in Beijing and any cabbie should be able to take you there no questions asked. Lastly, both places feature bad, bad toilets so make sure to go beforehand. You will likely spend a lot of time there.
Inside the foreigner markets