Shopping In Beijing

When we arrived in Beijing, we had to go through customs and immigration lines. Then, we found our bags. Next, we looked for a person holding a sign for our hotel. They took us to a car and drove us to the China World Hotel. On the highway to the hotel, we were surprised to see that all the signs were in English as well as Chinese. We immediately relaxed knowing that we would be able to find our way around the city.

The China World Hotel (on the right) was a huge hotel with many rooms. The front desk staff were very nice and showed us to our room. We took a short walk to the basement level of the hotel and found a shopping mall and grocery store. We bought bottled water and other supplies. We also found an ATM machine and got some money. The money is called Yuan Renminbi or RMB. About 1 US dollar equals 8.27 RMB, so we felt very rich.


Even though it was morning back home, it was evening in China. We decided to go to bed and start our adventures after a good night's sleep.

The next morning, we decided to do some exploring. We walked down the street to the Friendship Shop and the Silk Market. It was Saturday, so there were lots of people around.

Friendship Store

The Friendship Store is a government-run shopping area for tourists. It contains interesting items from around China including clothing, silk scarves, vases, green tea, jewelry, rugs, and many other interesting things.

We particularly enjoyed watching some of the craftsman work. We bought a dragon and lizard made from thick grass.

As we explored the shop, we bought many things for friends and relatives. We'd heard that the prices at the Friendship Store were high, so we decided to spend some time at the Silk Market for better buys.

Silk Market

The Silk Market is an outdoor area where vendors set up small booths. The area is crowded with shoppers from around China and the world. We found that nothing contained price tags. Instead, buyers bartered for the best price. For example if you're looking at a scarf, they might say that it's 90 RMB or about 9 US dollars. You might offer 40 RMB. They might suggest three scarves at 150 RMB. Rather than trying to communicate in Chinese or English, they use cheap calculators to show the price and offer you the calculator for a counter-offer. Most of the shop workers also speak what they call Chinglish. They know enough English to share their ideas with tourists.

There are many small shops tucked away in the back alleys of the Silk Market. Annette found an artist who created calligraphy scrolls. She watched as scrolls were made containing the names of each of her children: Brooke, Blake, and Benjamin. Arrion found a hand-made quilt and spend lots of time bartering for the best price. Shopper had to be careful about their buys. Many "name brand" items being sold were copies. Some scarves claimed to be silk but were made of other materials.

Not everyone at the Silk Market was working or shopping. We enjoyed watching a group of young people jump rope. They had as many as six people jumping at once!

Some people were selling small toys for children. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

We were a little disappointed to find many of the same things over and over at each shop. We had hoped to find more local, unique items that couldn't be found in the US. We were happy we talked to the craftsmen at the Friendship Shop earlier in the day.


Flat enjoyed the food booths. He spent time guessing the names of the sodas. Can you find the Coke and Pepsi? Look for the colors. Instead of Diet Pepsi, they call it Pepsi Light. They also like orange and lemon drinks. You also find lots of green tea.

Use the arrows to go forward or backward through the story.
Click on Flat Stanley to return to Flat's Main Page.

Developed by Annette Lamb, 11/02.