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Top 15 Shanghai Markets

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The term "market" is flexible, and in Shanghai, it applies to vendors selling virtually the same thing all under one roof, or in one open section of space. Unlike the Western sense of competition, the Chinese believe that if you are all selling the same thing, you'll attract more customers. Fair enough.

Indeed, this makes life easy for the shopper. Want pearls? Go to the pearl market. Want fabric? Go to the fabric market. Want crickets? You guessed it, go to the cricket market. Just remember your bargaining skills! You'll need them in the markets of Shanghai.

1. Dong Tai Road Antique Market

Dong Tai Road
ullrich/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Description: Be warned, the word "antique" can apply to things made last year.
  • Address: Dong Tai Road, near Xizang Nan Road
  • Opening hours: Daily. Morning (in full swing by 9:30-10am) till sundown.
  • Comments: Dong Tai Road is a lot of fun, especially if you're in the mood to just wander and look at junk. You'll find every kind of Mao memorabilia to old records, photos, lanterns, porcelain, chopsticks and knick-knacks. Remember to bargain hard here and have fun treasure hunting.

2. Pearl's Circles, Wholesale Pearl & Stone Market

Pearls City, one of Shanghai's Markets
© 2006 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com
  • Description: Wholesale freshwater pearls, sea water pearls, natural stones and crystals.
  • Address: First Asia Jewelry Plaza, 3rd floor, 288 Fuyou Lu
  • Opening hours: Daily. 10am-6pm.
  • Comments: Let fantasy be your guide. For pennies, you can design jewelry to your heart's content. Every vendor will have loads of ready-made jewelry for you to look over but you can also design your own. Just wait a few minutes and they'll string everything for you as you watch. Remember the golden rule: bargain, bargain, bargain!

3. Hong Qiao New World Pearl Market

  • Description: Same type of market as #2, but much bigger.
  • Address: Hong Mei Road on the corner of Hong Qiao Road
  • Opening hours: Daily. 10am-10pm.
  • Comments: The market is a little out of the way for the normal tourist who is staying downtown, but if you have time (hey, they're open until 10pm), make the trip out. Like Pearl's Circles, vendors have ready-made items for you to buy, but you can do your own designing. Freshwater pearls are a real value in China. Read more about buying pearls in China here.

4. Yatai Xinyang Fashion and Gift Market

  • Description: Underground (literally) maze of vendors selling toys, clothing, jewelry and a lot of fake (read counterfeit brand) bags and watches.
  • Address: Science and Technology Museum Metro Stop (Metro Line 2), Pudong
  • Opening hours: Daily. 10am-6pm.
  • Comments: What happened to Xiang Yang market? After that famous "fake" market closed its gates in 2006, many vendors relocated to Yatai Xinyang. This is a great place to buy inexpensive souvenirs: Shanghai t-shirts, chopsticks, cushion covers and pashminas. Let the buyer beware: when it comes to fakes, you get what you pay for (and you probably paid too much).

5. Shanghai Longhua Fashion and Gift Market

  • Description: Outdoor market full of stalls selling the same thing as #4 above.
  • Address: 2465 Longhua Road, near the Longhua Temple
  • Opening hours: Daily. 10am-6pm.
  • Comments: According to its local ads, the original Xiang Yang market is "now registered as Longhua Market". Well, indeed, after Xiang Yang, the famous "fake" market, closed its gates in 2006, many vendors relocated to Yatai Xinyang above and to the Longhua market. It sells the same items as #4, has the added value of being near the temple, so you could do a bit of sight-seeing before you shop.

6. Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market

  • Description: Three floors of fabric and tailors.
  • Address: 399 Lujiabang Road (near the Bund)
  • Opening hours: Daily. 10am-7pm.
  • Comments: Here you can make your couture dreams come true. Great values are qipaos, cashmere coats and men's shirts. Almost every stall has its own tailor who can whip up whatever you want in about a week. Your best bet is to have something you like copied over in your new fabric. Clothing made from photos or descriptions yield mixed (mostly bad) results. If you can, bring a Chinese speaker with you. Some tailors do speak English.

7. Shanghai Shiliu Puhong Qixiang Cloth Market

© 2010 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
  • Description: Three floors of fabric and tailors.
  • Address: 168 Dongmen Road, not far from Yuyuan Garden.
  • Opening hours: Daily. 10am-6pm.
  • Comments: This market is very similar to #6, but is much quieter and has a lot fewer foreigners standing around looking confused. You'll find the same fabrics - cashmere, silk, linen, wool and cotton at similar prices. Many vendors speak a bit of English but if you're having something complicated made, it's best to take along someone who can speak a bit of Chinese.

8. Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market

© 2010 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
  • Description: Crazy maze of vendors selling pets and supplies. The bugs are really the reason to go.
  • Address: Tibet Road at Fuxing Road (just a few minutes walk from Dong Tai Road (see # 1)
  • Opening hours: Daily. 10am-6pm.
  • Comments: Unless you're in the market for fighting crickets or grubs to feed your birdies, this is more of a gawk-stop than a real shopping trip. It's worth the trip for the weird and unusual and you'll get some great photos.

9. Weekly Friday Muslim Street Market

© 2009 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
  • Description: Small area of a street with roadside vendors gathered selling Muslim foods and products.
  • Address: In front of the Huxi Mosque, 1328 Changde Lu, near Aomen Lu, Northern Jing'an District (1328 常德路近澳门路)
  • Opening hours: Weekly Fridays from morning until afternoon (best to go in mornings before lunchtime to catch all vendors
  • Comments: This is an interesting place to see some non-Han Chinese culture. Check ot the different offerings, sample some street food and even have a wander around the mosque. Most of the vendors come from Xinjiang Province and their cuisine is very different from eastern China. Folks are friendly but don't speak a lot of Mandarin - hand signals and smiles are useful. Ask before taking photos. See photos.

10. Tianshan Tea Market

© 2009 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
  • Description: 3 story market full of Chinese tea
  • Address: Zhongshan Xi Road #520 (中山西录520号)
  • Opening hours: Daily 10am-6pm
  • Comments: If you want to get all your tea shopping done in one place, this is it. If you can, take along a Chinese speaker. None available? No problem, allow yourself plenty of time. Arm yourself with a dictionary and go sample tea. Shop owners are extremely friendly. Don't be afraid to touch and smell, ask for tastes. Most will invite you in to have a cup of tea, smell the wares and browse at will. The first two floors are all tea, the third floor is a mix of tea and curios. You'll find everything from Long Jing green tea, Yunnan Province Pu'er tea, jasmine, oolong, everything is here.

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