Shanghai, as one of the biggest business and financial hubs of Asia, is no doubt one of the most frequently visited cities in the Chinese mainland. It may be one of the major attractions on your China trip or you might simply be taking advantage of the convenient flights, making it a short layover stay. Either way, you will probably want to do some souvenir shopping during your time in the city and there is no shortage of places to do that. Our first recommendation is the markets- get a taste of local life and street eats at the same time with our list of Shanghai’s best markets.
Here are some tips you will need when bartering (and in big markets like this, you absolutely should barter!):
1. Use that poker face. Stay indifferent, no matter how much you like the products and how the cheap price amazes you, show no excitement so you hold more bargaining chips when you negotiate the price with the vendors.
2. Be bold and go hard with the price. Bargaining is essential here as the tourist price they offer might be 5-10 times more than the normal price.
3. Not sure what price is really appropriate? Here’s one way to test it out. When the sales ladies give you a price, counter with 10 to 30 percent of the price she offered, if she grabs you back and tries to negotiate, you should stick to your price! If she let you walk away, you’ll need to raise the starting price a little higher at the next vendor.
If you keep our tips in mind as you make your way through the markets of Shanghai, we have no doubt you will find some awesome gifts and souvenirs of your trip to take home with you. Barter hard and happy shopping!
Let’s start with the most well-known and maybe the most intense market, Ya Tai Sheng Hui (世纪亚太盛汇购物广场,) AKA the Science and Technology Museum Metro Underground Market. With easy access by metro line 2, this enormous market is a maze of vendors and people who will happily help you part with your money.
From trinkets featuring Chinese elements to high-end watches or wallets, you can find everything! Your leftover luggage space may be your biggest concern when taking things back home, but have no fear – this can also be solved very quickly and easily at the market. For less than 200 RMB (30USD), you can buy yourself some brand new luggage to take home all your new finds in.
This is a market that tourists love or hate! The overly friendly sales ladies may come across as aggressive, but that’s why you need to come across as confident and act like a local (or at least pretend like you know the deal). Fake it til you make it! All part of the experience. This should be planned as part of a day trip. We recommend trying a different market for those who have limited time and don’t want to spend a whole day here.
Name: Ya Tai Sheng Hui (世纪亚太盛汇购物广场)
Location: Underground the Science and Technology Museum Metro Station on line 2 (上海科技馆地铁站地下商场)
Show Your Taxi Driver: 你好，请带我去上海科技馆地铁站，世纪大道2000号。谢谢.
Maps: Google (requires VPN in China), Chinese Map
If you’re a fan of fine clothing, the second market is going to be your dream come true. In a city as fast-paced as Shanghai, everything changes rapidly. However, the Qi Pu Road Fabric Market (七浦路服装市场has been operating in Shanghai since the 1980s. It started with cheap low-quality goods back when it opened, but after some real investment in 2001, it grew into one of the biggest clothing wholesale markets.
Offerings vary from day clothes to expensive brand name streetwear to high-end tailor-made items. You can easily spend a whole day exploring this market. This should be planned as part of a day trip. We recommend trying a different market for those who have limited time and don’t want to spend a whole day here.
As exciting as it sounds, there are a few things to keep in mind:
For those who don’t want to spend a whole day at the market, opt for the Yu Garden Market (豫园商城) – This market is close to one of the most historic tourist attractions in Shanghai – the Yu Garden. Built in the 1500s, this garden was based on southern Chinese garden architecture style and has only been open to the public since 1961. It has become the busiest tourist attraction in all of Shanghai.
The market surrounds the garden, and you can find all the classic Chinese souvenirs – chopsticks, red lamps, silk scarves, and more. The location and sheer selection make this a great stop for those that aren’t looking to make a full day of shopping but still want to get some souvenir shopping in during their trip.
San Jiao Di Food Market (三角地菜市场) is the oldest food market in Shanghai. As this piece of land is a big triangle, it was named “Triangle Shaped Food Market” in Chinese.
Legend has it that the English first started using this land to build an amusement park. Later on, the aged equipment became faulty, causing injury to the guests. Eventually, the park was shut down by the local authorities, and the land idled. The big empty space soon attracted many food vendors, leading to the realization of this market- give or take a few rounds of renovation.
The market offers a big range of freshly-made food, fruits, and vegetables, and much more. Although it’s not essential to haggle here as the price is already quite cheap, a little trick is to walk around at different vendors first to find the best deal. You may regret buying from the first food stand comes to sight, as many amazing deals could be awaiting!
Although hard to find and not easily noticeable from the streets, Shanghai is still dotted with authentic wet markets where locals pick up meat and whatever produce is in season. You can visit our favorite Shanghai wet market on our Old-Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour!
Shanghai, as one of the biggest business and financial hubs of Asia, is no doubt one of the most frequently visited cities in the Chinese mainland. It may be one of the major attractions on your China trip or you might simply be taking advantage of the convenient flights, making it a short layover stay. Either way, you will probably want to do some souvenir shopping during your time in the city and there is no shortage of places to do that. Our first recommendation is the markets- get a taste of local life and street eats at the same time too.
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