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China is not only a country with a brilliant history and unique sceneries, but also a shopper’s paradise. Don’t forget to buy some characteristic souvenirs to commemorate your unforgettable China tour or for you relatives and friends. The following tips may give you some advices on shopping in China.
Don’t buy everything in one city.
China is a big country with different ethnic groups, different customs and numerous cities. Each place has it unique specialties and the price would be more reasonable. For instance, you’d better buy cloisonné, fresh water pearls, and cashmere sweaters or snuff bottle in Beijing. In Shanghai, jade and silk carpets would be good choices. Xian is famous for replica of Terra Cotta soldiers, Tang tri-colored glazed pottery and antiques. The scroll Chinese paintings and China Southern Sea Pearls are Guilin’s specialties. Hangzhou is considered as the home of Longjing Tea and silk products. The good souvenirs of Yunnan are Pu-erh Tea, Dali batik and mounted butterflies.
There are many places for shopping.
You can buy what you want in department stores, shopping malls, supermarkets or numerous handcraft shops, etc. It is better for you to buy daily necessaries in shopping malls and supermarkets because the prices there would be cheaper. Department stores are comprehensive stores where you can buy all things you want. If you want to buy some unique, traditional items, different handcraft shops will fulfill your requirements.
Tips: Remember to bargain when you visit handcraft shops or other private shops. You can ask your guides to teach you some useful Chinese sentences before hand, such as “how much is it?” (多少钱?), “can you give me this for cheaper?” (能便宜些吗？). Sometimes, you can also ask your guides or shop attendants whether you can get some discount before payment.
Credit cards are acceptable but remember to carry some cash.
Credit cards including Visa, Master Card, JCB, American Express, Diners Club, Million and Federal are acceptable in most large department stores in China. Some private shops may only accept Visa, Master Card and JCB. Other small shops only accept cash. Therefore, remember to take sufficient cash with you if you want to go shopping in small shops or in remote villages.
Be cautious of buying antiques in China.
Be aware that antiques dated before 1795AD are not allowed to be sold and exported from China. Besides, antiques dated between 1796 and 1949, only getting a seal and a Certificate for Relics Export from the regional Cultural Relics Bureau, can be taken out of China.
Tips: Please keep all receipts, certificates and official documents when you buy anything especially antiques in China. They are not only valid vouchers if you need to return purchases, but also required to be shown to China Customs when you leave China sometimes.
Remember: Shopping is never an obligation to every traveler.
If time permits, our guides may offer shopping opportunities for you to buy some local products. If you do not want to go shopping, please don’t be embarrassed to tell your guides directly. Although the shop attendants are very kind and introduce many items for you, it is also OK to say no if you don’t want to buy.