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Markets in Shanghai


Some of Shanghai's most interesting shopping experiences are provided by its colourful street markets and alley bazaars. Curios, crafts, collectibles, antiques, jewellery and coins are all here for those who are willing to bargain hard, but perhaps the most common item you'll find in the markets these days is designer-label clothing, much of it knock-offs (copies) with upscale labels sewn in, although some items are factory seconds or overruns (sometimes smuggled out of legitimate brand-name factories). Many of the markets also sell fresh produce, seafood, spices, and other consumables to residents, along with snacks and drinks. At all such markets, cash is the only means of exchange, and pickpockets are plentiful, so keep all your valuables in a concealed pouch or money belt. If you're purchasing goods from an outdoor antiques market, be aware that not all older (pre-1949) items sold at such markets will have the red-wax seal attached. A stern Customs inspector, finding an old item without a seal, might confiscate it. As well, many "antiques" these days are nothing but modern fakes aged and dirtied up.


AP Plaza

For those who don't have the patience to rifle through the mess of shops at Qipu Market, but still want their Western-branded knock-offs, this underground plaza in the Science and Technology Museum subway station (Metro Line 2) in Pudong offers a more organised alternative. Individual shops here sell clothing, electronics, bags, toys, antiques, shoes, and accessories, though the brand-name knock-offs are usually hidden. The plaza is open daily 10 am to 8 pm.

Dongtai Road Antiques Market

This largest of Shanghai's antiques markets has hundreds of stalls and many permanent shops along a short lane, located on Dongtai and Liuhe Road, one block west of Xizang South Road (about three blocks south of Huaihai Road). Dealers specialise in antiques, curios, porcelain, furniture, jewellery, baskets, bamboo and wood carvings, birds, flowers, goldfish, and nostalgic bric-a-brac from colonial and revolutionary days. When it rains, most stalls aren't open, but the stores are. The market is open daily 9 am to 5 pm.

Fuyou Market

If you like rummaging through lots of junk for the chance to find the rare real nugget, this is still the best place to do it in Shanghai. This favourite for weekend antique and curio hunting, located in the Cangbao Lou (building) at 457 Fangbang Middle and Henan South Road, is also called a "ghost market" because the traders set out their wares before sunrise. Come as early as possible on Saturday or Sunday morning, preferably the latter, when vendors come in from the surrounding countryside. Porcelains, old jade pendants, used furniture, Qing Dynasty coins, Chairman Mao buttons, old Russian cameras, Buddhist statues, snuff bottles, and carved wooden screens are just a few of the treasures here, none with price tags. Three floors of the market building are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm; the weekend market (on the third and fourth floors) runs from 5 am to 6 pm, but tapers off by noon.

Qipu Road Wholesale Clothing Market

For years, this gargantuan clothing market bounded by Qipu, Henan North, Tiantong and Zhejiang Road in Hongkou District has been where locals shop for low-cost, locally made daily clothing and accessories, but is now home also to some of the vendors of brand-name "fakes" who have been displaced by the closing of Xiangyang Market. Because of its size, you'll need some patience and time to make your way through much that will probably not be to your taste, but finds can definitely be found. More likely, the vendors of the goods you're looking for will find you the minute you step out of your taxi. As always, exercise caution and stick to the public stalls and shops. The market is open daily 10 am to 5 pm.

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