The second part of my great last day took place at the Silk Street market. At one point, if you had asked me if the market was a must-see place for travelers going to Beijing, I would have told you that it’s interesting, but not that great. After visiting the market this time, I would say that it’s a great experience and you should go. I recommend spending a couple hours there, especially if you aren’t tired from walking for hours before you get there.
The Silk Street market is a multi-story version of a street market. Inside you will find every type of Chinese souvenir that you could possibly want—fans, statuettes, key chains, t-shirts, etc. The market is also well-known among tourists as a good place to buy false luxury brand goods including clothing, electronic goods and jewelry. You can purchase tailor-made suits, custom-fit and ready to pick up within three days. You pick out the material you want, get measured and the suit will be ready in three days. Be sure to not pay more than half up front in order to make sure that the suit is ready when you come back. Express orders can be made, for a price.
When you go to the market, be sure to bargain hard. The vendors won’t sell you anything at a loss, so don’t feel bad about walking away after offering a price that seems ridiculously low. You will be called back if they can make even a little money. The next stall has the same stuff and each vendor is under intense pressure to survive. The game can be fun, and it is easy to spend hours there if you enjoy negotiating.
As you walk in the front door of the market, there is a large red sign that gives you a general idea of what is sold on each floor. These are useful if you know what you’re looking for. If not, it’s fun to just wander into the aisles and just get a feel for the market. You can use the elevators near the main entrance to change floors and there are also escalators in the center of the market.