Souvenirs Shopping Walk, Shanghai

Souvenirs Shopping Walk (Self Guided), Shanghai

Leaving Shanghai without calling local specialty shops and procuring something truly original to bring home, as a souvenir, would be a pity. Nanjing Road – Asia's longest and perhaps most famous thoroughfare – is a popular destination replete with shopping and dining opportunities. Lovers of antiques will find Shanghai's Old City particularly interesting. Take this walk to explore the two major shopping areas of Shanghai!
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Souvenirs Shopping Walk Map

Guide Name: Souvenirs Shopping Walk
Guide Location: China » Shanghai (See other walking tours in Shanghai)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Author: emma
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)
  • Cai Tong De Pharmacy (蔡同德堂)
  • Duoyun Xuan Art Center
  • Fang Bang Road Indoor Antique Market
  • Yuyuan Bazaar
  • Antiques Market of Shanghai Old Town
  • Folding Fan Workshop
  • Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market (上海十六铺面料城)
Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road)

1) Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road) (must see)

Nanjing Road has been traditionally Shanghai’s premier shopping destination, replete with all kinds of stores, drawing daily over one million visitors. The street is split into two distinct halves – the East Road and West Road. Together, the two measure almost 10 km (6 miles), making it the world’s longest and busiest pedestrian thoroughfare.

Nanjing East Road has been the “shopper’s paradise” since before the 1950s. Its main highlight is Shanghai No. 1 Department Store renowned for its exotic window displays. Some say, it's good for a look but not so much for bargains.

After sunset, Nanjing East Road is particularly fun to be in, as the line-up of malls try to grab shoppers' attention with the intricate lighting and countless advertising screens, proliferated here as if electricity bills are no object whatsoever.

Some of the buildings here stand more than one hundred years and represent a rare blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles, whose collision first peaked here in the 1930s rendering Shanghai the foremost trade agent between the two civilizations. The newer malls reflect the side of modern China with its millennials in hot pursuit of luxury.

Unlike the other parts of Shanghai, you won't see any stalls or street markets in Nanjing. Pretty much everything here is big, even Starbucks. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery, the world’s largest outlet, covers three floors and serves up to 7,000 customers per day, seating up to 1,000 at a time!!!

For the ease of travel, there are mini-trains running up and down half the length of Nanjing Road during day hours – convenient for those wanting to see the area, especially if tired of walking or with kids in tow.
On a foodie note, try the food court in the New World City Plaza. Huge, pretty, clean, numerous stores, good prices. And the LEGO shop on its ground floor is a haven for LEGO lovers.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Cai Tong De Pharmacy (蔡同德堂)

2) Cai Tong De Pharmacy (蔡同德堂)

At 450 East Nanjing Road (Nanjing Dong Lu, 南京东路) there is a fabulous multistorey building devoted to celebrating Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The first two floors are consecrated to healthcare products, both cosmetics and to eat mainly for prevention and well-being, the third floor sells medicines, while the fourth and fifth floors have medical equipment and doctors available for visits.

What to buy here: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) A special souvenir from China is by all means a piece of Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is thousands of years old, and strongly relies on the concept that there are natural laws that govern the universe. Humans being part of the universe, they are subject to those laws, and consequently our health is affected by the environment.

Herbal remedies account for the majority of treatments in TCM, but herbs aren't the only ingredients, and roots, grass, furs, animal parts and stones are also used as treatments. Common medicinal plants are Ginger Root, Ginko Biloba and Ginseng.

Ginseng is a popular item to bring from China. Panax ginseng is a dried root dating back to over 5000 years, and if originally was only used as food, it was quickly recognized for its rejuvenating powers and curative properties. Taking ginseng regularly helps maintain and restore cellular function delaying aging effects, it decreases blood sugar levels and balances the metabolism as well as the hormone levels. Prices go from a couple of hundreds Yuan and can reach thousands Yuan.
Image Courtesy of Jim Z..
Duoyun Xuan Art Center

3) Duoyun Xuan Art Center

If you are into Chinese paintings, make it to Duoyun Xuan Art Center at 422 East Nanjing Road, where you can find works from Zhang Da Qian, Wu Chang Shuo, Jiang Han Ting, Zhou Hui Jun, all big names of Chinese painting scene. There are also works from lesser known Chinese painters. Prices vary, going from RMB3500 to RMB2.,500,000 of a work by Zhang Da Qian.

What to buy here: Chinese paintings. Typical handmade paintings and miniatures of cities, birds, villages, where even the smallest detail has been carefully looked after, are a very classy gift and represent a great homage to Chinese ancient culture. In Shanghai is possible to find galleries selling paintings from famous contemporary and ancient artists as well as small galleries displaying the work of minor painters. It’s possible to find paintings on silk or on canvas, as well as embroidery works that can take from three to six months to be completed.

If you want, you can bring a picture and the artists will copy it in a painting. At a small showroom of local artists prices go from RMB30 to RMB1500, depending on the size and the quality of the material. Landscape painting is considered the highest form, so there are countless canvases picturing spectacular views from all over China, with its rolling hills and mountains to its surreal lakes and rivers.
Image Courtesy of Jim Z..
Fang Bang Road Indoor Antique Market

4) Fang Bang Road Indoor Antique Market

Fang Bang Road Indoor Antique Market is a five-story flea market. Three floors of the market building are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The weekend market, which is located on the third and fourth floors, runs from 5 am to 6 pm. On weekends, the fourth floor is open to small local vendors. Over here, you can find all sorts of treasures such as ethnic Yunnan bags, reproductions of traditional furniture, porcelains, old jade pendants, used furniture, Qing Dynasty coins, Chairman Mao buttons, old Russian cameras, Buddhist statues, 1950s propaganda posters, boxes of yellowing photographs and many more.
Yuyuan Bazaar

5) Yuyuan Bazaar (must see)

Regularly packed with locals and tourists, this busy shopping area – located just outside the famous Yuyuan Gardens – is a good chance to get a glimpse of Shanghai's everyday life. Amid the plethora of goods on sale – including fresh produce, second-hand stuff, antiques and handicrafts – the most intriguing, perhaps, are the countless food offerings whose vendors seemingly compete with each other. The vast majority of them specialize in dumplings of every imaginable filling; they even have dumplings filled with soup and served with a straw. The Nanxiang Shanghai steamed buns are pretty good on a chilly day either, and there's a long but well-organized queue for them in the central courtyard.

On the whole, this new-looking Ming-style bazaar is a cacophony of shops, street performers, sedan-chair rides and swarms of people everywhere. It covers an area of over 50 hectares and houses almost 3,000 shops and nearly 10,000 vendors. Among them are souvenir shops with tonnes of fine gift ideas, from painted snuff bottles and delightful Chinese kites to embroidered and clever palm-and-finger paintings.

As with any shopping in Asia, haggling skills are quite handy here, especially if you've done your homework on products and prices previously. Another good thing is to buy as the locals buy, particularly women, who certainly know where the best deals are.

Why You Should Visit:
No matter how commercialized, this is still a pretty sight to behold. Only in China!

Other than the bazaar itself, there are a few spots just behind the Yuyan Gardens on Fuyou Street where you can find things at wholesale prices. In particular, if you're after household items, check out the Fuyou Street Merchandise Mart – similar to WalMart in the U.S., but in a fraction of the space it usually occupies there. Bargaining here is recommended, but the prices aren’t too high to begin with – just perfect for those on a budget.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am–10pm
Antiques Market of Shanghai Old Town

6) Antiques Market of Shanghai Old Town

Located in the basement of the Huabao building in the main Yu Garden Shopping Complex, this is Shanghai's largest indoor antique market, housing a labyrinth of over 200 established antique dealers selling all kinds of merchandise and curiosities from the days gone by. Among other things, the stalls here are filled with embroidered silk jackets and dressing gowns, freshwater pearls, ceramic tea sets, Cultural Revolution posters, wooden fans and painted scrolls.

Even before 1949 and the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s-70s, this antique bazaar was a holiday market that sold folk antiques and handicrafts. Nowadays, with a huge variety of goods on offer, it attracts tens of thousands of visitors on a daily basis.

Beware – you will definitely have to bring out your haggling skills here! Whatever the price the dealer asks you initially, try to bargain for at least 40% less.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am–5:30pm
Folding Fan Workshop

7) Folding Fan Workshop

Folding hand fans were invented around 7th AD and were introduced to Europe through trade and the Silk Road. For centuries they are a stylish symbol of wealth and class around the world. One can buy a handmade folding fan at a workshop at 140 Jiu Jiao Chang Road (JiuJiaoChang Lu, 旧校场路), a side alley near 337 Middle Fangbang Road (Fangbang Zhong Lu, 方浜中路). There you can even find the artisans at work. You can choose ready fans, order custom ones, and browse their other products such as their beautiful marble and jade stamps.

What to buy here: folding Fans. Symbol of femininity, folding fans were widely used by concubines during the royal periods, both to give some relief during the hottest hours of the day and as an essential accessory to be compared to a piece of jewelry. Today they are still used during the hot summer months, although they are not all as finely decorated as they were in the imperial era.

They are available in very different prices, depending on the quality of the material and if they are handmade. They can be made in silk and hand painted with typical Chinese patterns of nature subjects such as birds, landscapes, mountains, lakes. You can also order it according to your taste and the artisan will make it for you.
Image Courtesy of Angela Corrias.
Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market (上海十六铺面料城)

8) Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market (上海十六铺面料城)

Apart from the traditional silk, in Shanghai you can find any kind of fabric material at very accessible prices. The best place where to find fabrics of any type are Shi Liu Pu Cloth Market at 168 Dong Men Road. The market is very popular among expats living in Shanghai, and offers a complete choice of any kind of fabric materials.

Entire market is organized and devoted to fabrics, where tourists can buy raw material for sewing or order pieces of clothes or even buy the traditional cheongsam (Chinese dress). Here you will find everything you can search for, not just silk, but also linen, cashmere, mixed fabrics. It’s recommended to bargain, as prices are never fixed but change depending on the day (usually higher on weekends and busy seasons in general) and if you are a first-timer.

Prices vary also depending if the material is bought per meter or the finished product. A silk half linen and half silk is usually RMB250 or the same material around RMB50 per meter. Cashmere is usually more expensive, especially if it comes from Mongolia. A tailor-made dress or a jumper in cashmere can be bought between RMB600 and RMB900.
Image Courtesy of Angela Corrias.

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