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What Souvenirs Should I Buy in China?

tea set on a table - China travels

The China Travel Experts

You’re no doubt exciting for your upcoming trip to China—not only to see all the incredible and unique sights of waterfalls, pandas, and impressive mega-cities like Beijing and Shanghai—but also to do some shopping for things you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

So what are the best souvenirs in China you should be on the lookout for?

Here are some of the most popular items tourists bring back from China.

The Land of Tea

Quite commonplace in China, tea (茶) is offered at most restaurants in China, mostly the green variety.  You can also choose from four other types of tea which all derived from the same plant, but utilize different processes, these being black, pu’ar, oolong, and white tea.

Depending on where you shop in China, you may also be able to find teas infused with herbs or flowers to augment the flavor, though most Chinese don’t typically drink these.

Pu’ar can be found easily in Yunnan province since it is native to the area.  When it comes to pu’ar, much like wine, the older the tea is, the better it is, so be prepared to wait for several months, even a few years, before enjoying it.  Most markets will let you sample teas before purchasing them, and keep an eye out for teas in smaller towns where they likely sell local varieties.

Tea shop owners typically speak English, and popular places to buy include:

  • Maliandao Tea Market in Beijing (Maliandao Rd, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China)
  • Tianshan Tea Market (518 Zhongshan W Rd, TianShan, Changning Qu, Shanghai Shi, China) in Shanghai
  • Wukuaishi Tea Market (2 Saiyuntai East 1st Rd, RenMin BeiLu, Jinniu Qu, Chengdu Shi, Sichuan Sheng) in Chengdu
  • Hangzhou Longjingshan Park in Hangzhou (104 Weng Mountain, Manjuelong Rd, Xihu Qu, Hangzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng)

There is also the tea store chain Wu Yu Tai found all over China.

Jade

Regardless of the trinket you’re interested in buying—a Buddha statue, your favorite animal, a piece of jewelry—there’s a good chance you can find one in jade.

The beautiful greenish stone is traditionally connected to Chinese concepts of nobility, authority, beauty, and perfection, and is thought to bring luck and good health.  You should try and do your jade shopping in a specialty or department store where your odds of being sold a fake piece of jade is much lower.  You’ll find the greatest volume of jade objects available in northwestern China.

Chinese Calligraphy

This form of handwriting is truly art.  Chinese calligraphy goes back centuries, and you shouldn’t have a problem finding a calligraphy artist in any major city in China.  Find your name, the name of a friend back home, or some esoteric concept you fancy penned in calligraphy.

exquisite painting and calligraphy can be found at purchased at Man Luen Choon at 2/F, Harvest Building, 29-35 Wing Kut Street, Central.

Dried fruit

Travelers to Europe often return with some type of chocolate from France, Belgium, or Switzerland.  China is a different story—chocolate is not appreciated the same as it is in America and Europe as it is considered unhealthy.  Those with a sweet tooth in China opt instead for dried fruits which can be found in supermarkets, candy shops, and just about anywhere else you can find food sold.  Surely a healthier option than chocolate, dried fruit is also easy to ship home as it won’t spoil anytime soon, and they come in many different varieties.

dried fruit - China tours

Chopsticks

Chopsticks have been helping people eat across East Asia for at least the last 2,000 years.  Although they aren’t rare or terribly expensive, authentic Chinese chopsticks can be found made of bamboo or wood, painted or plain, long or short, fancy or simple.  Buy a pair for your friend(s) back home and get yourself a pair to keep practicing the fine art of eating with chopsticks as the Chinese do.

Chinese food with chopsticks - trips to China

Pearls by the Pearl Tower

If you find yourself in Shanghai, keep your eyes peeled for pearls, which are cheaper in Shanghai than just about anywhere else in the world!  Pearl earrings or a necklace would make a perfect gift for someone back home.  Look for some at the APAC Yinyang market, Amylin’s pearls, or Hongqiao International Pearl City (3721 Hongmei Road, Changning District).

Also look for pearls at Han City Shopping Center (3rd Floor, 580 Nanjing Road {near Chengdu Road}) or Yayi Gold Store, first Asia Jewelry Plaza (3/F, 288 Fuyou Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000).

Silk

One of China’s most famous exports is silk, and Shanghai markets will also have silks in abundance, from bedding to clothes.  You can also buy silk by the meter and fashion it into whatever your heart desires back home.  As the world’s largest producer of silk and the beginning of the ancient Silk Road, you can find it sold in cities from Hangzhou, to Suzhou, to Dandong, to Sichuan.

If you happen to be in Shanghai, you can procure some high-quality silk at the following shops and markets:

  • Jiannan Silk Shopping Center (289 Aomen Rd, Putuo Qu, Shanghai Shi)
  • Fabric Market (399 Lujiabang Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi)

Paper

A certain Cai Lun was responsible for inventing paper as we know it today back in the 2nd century BCE during the Han dynasty, and over time, paper-making has become something of an art form in China.  This takes the form of paper fans, or what is known as paper-cutting (jianzhi)—layering several sheets of paper and cutting an intricate design into it to adorn a person’s doors or windows.  The light shining through the cuts has given them the name chuang hua, or ‘window flowers.”

 

Not yet booked your exclusive guided tour of China?  Don’t miss out on your chance to see everything the Middle Kingdom has to offer—call China Tour and choose from our many tour offerings to China and beyond!

Call us today at (888) 878-1777 to get started!

 

 

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