Beijing Flea Market – Pan Jia Yuan
Beijing Flea Market – I love shopping in Beijing! Besides getting my fave Paul Smith menswear (real and fake), I can also buy my latest DVD movies for USD 1 each! What else can you ask for?
Well, there are more…
No, they don’t sell fleas (bad joke)!
Welcome to China’s biggest Flea Market – Pan Jia Yuan!
Pan Jia Yuan is well-known throughout in Beijing. It is not in your normal travel package itinerary but in my guidebook, it is a must-visit place for shopping.
Pan Jia Yuan
Though it operates almost everyday, the crowd throngs in on weekends. It is pretty much like the pasar malam (night market) in Malaysia. However, this market starts from early in the morning, about 4 am during weekends.
The flea market sells second-hand goods like antiques, porcelain, paintings, furniture, decorative items, books and whatever people want to sell for cash. And so the selection varies each day which makes it fun and exciting to explore each nook and cranny of the area.
When I was furnshing my first apartment here, I bought many cheap second-hand decor pieces including a lava lamp and some used wall calenders (circa 1980s) which are similar to Sports Illustrated Swimsuits Calender except all the models are lovely Chinese girls.
I still have them as they could be worth something in future. I hope.
Pan Jia Yuan
Without doubt, you can also find many Chairman Mao merchandise like T-shirts, caps and watches and more.You can also get the Little Red Book there too. I have a little museum of Mao’s stuff in my apartment courtesy of Pan Jia Yuan retailers.
One of the most popular goods amongst foreigners are Tibetan paintings and wood-carving. Westerners seem to love all things Tibetan! I don’t know why.
For the ladies, you can buy cheap and chic retro shoes, clothes and really exotic ethic prints on scarves/ textile. Most of them are street-wear and my wife digs those ethic-printed mini-skirts and T-shirts with bad English printed on them.
Not forgetting, you can also buy sexy lingerie there too. I just hope they are not second-hand like those in Tokyo. Hmm..that’s another tale to tell in future.
Bottomline, I love shopping for my wife at Pan Jia Yuan compared to Silk Street.The simple reason is I do save a lot here.
Important Note for Beijing Flea Market Shoppers:
Bargain like mad here!
Pan Jia Yuan
It is normal for the hawkers to quote you unrealistic prices especially when you are a White. Even for Chinese that are not Beijinger (they can tell from the accent), you get bump too.
A tip from seasoned Pan Jia Yuan bargain hunters:
Divide the asking price by half or more. And do not feel bad about it. The best thing is to walk around and compare prices.
For those shopping for antiques, the chances of being sold a geniue article is low here unless you know people. I suggest you read my article on buying antiques here at Gu Wang Cheng for more reliable antique shopping.
Where the hell is Pan Jia Yuan?
The flea market is situated near the Pan Jia Yuan bridge (hence the name) , on the Eastern Third Ring Road.