Panjiayuan Market, Beijing ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn
Panjiayuan Market (潘家园旧货市场 Panjiayuan Jiuhuo Shichang) in Beijing is one of the most interesting markets in China. I try and pay a visit to Panjiayuan every time I come to Beijing, and every visit is different from the previous, with new bargains to be had and new trends to be caught. Much of the souverirs that you find in other tourist shops in Beijing are sourced here by shopsellers, at much lower prices and in a greater selection. Panjiayuan has seen huge development in recent years, but many years ago it started as a cheap market with all the goods laid out on the ground. Locals knew it as Dirt Market or Ghost Market (because of its early morning hours). Today Panjiayuan is an established market area with covered walkways and numerous enclosed shops. The prices are still much cheaper than regular stores but the end price is up to your skills as a bargainer. You can find just about anything here to tickle your fantasy of recreating a little bit of olde China back home: "antique" furniture (newly produced in old style), lanterns, ceramics, sculptures and buddha heads (an entire parking lot full of them), embroidery, boxes, knick-knacks, paintings, trinkets and doo-dads, you want it, they've got it. A recent trend are fake paintings of famous Chinese painters. The originals sell for millions, at Panjiayuan you can get them for a few hundred. Name your artist or just bring a picture of the painting you want to grace your living room wall and they will produce it for you. You must, of course, leave your morals and intellectual copyright scruples aside.
Panjiayuan is open all days of the week, but it is only on weekends that all the stalls are open and all the small sellers that lay out their goods on the ground are present. This is the time to visit. Come as early as possible, the first weekend sellers arrive at 4.30 am! Weekdays: 8.30 am - 6 pm. Caveat emptor: 99% percent of the so-called antiques at Panjiayuan are fakes, set your initial offer price with that in mind.
Address: Southeast corner of the Third Ring Road, just east of Longtan Park (潘家园桥西).
©Ingrid Booz Morejohn