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Shopping Tips

shopping tips

We will not force our customers into shopping. It is up to you to decide whether to shop or not. Considering that you might be interested in Chinese specialties, we will make some recommendations. You can purchase some of these items for yourself or as gifts for your friends and families. The shops and souvenirs we recommend to you will definitely not disappoint you.

1. The voluntary principle always comes first. If our customers make it clear that they don't want to shop, then we will not push them into any of the shops. If your tour guide does so, call your travel advisor to report coerced shopping.

2. Unlike "tourist-trap" shopping, the shops and items that we recommend are all legal. Tourist-trap shopping refers to the illegal business behaviors that aim to profit by defrauding customers. The shops we recommend are all certified and legitimate businesses.

3. Most of the shops we recommend specialize in items with Chinese features, such as Cloisonné and jades (Beijing), pearls and ink and wash paintings (Guilin), silks (Shanghai), tea (Hangzhou), Thangka (Tibet), and blankets and nuts (Xinjiang). These are items that you might not be able to see in your country at this quality. Even if such items can be found in your country, the price will always be much more expensive than those bought in China.

4. During your trip you can spend 40 minutes or even less on shopping. That is up to you to decide. You can also request no shopping and thus your personal travel advisor will create an itinerary that has no shopping time or visits for you.

5. Bargaining may not be a habit for you in your country, but you really have to haggle in the tourist shops or other Chinese markets. Normally, you can offer a price that's at least 50% lower than the one given by the seller. Chinese sellers are usually quite amenable, but they may not be happy if, after agreeing a price, you still don't buy their products. In regions where ethnic groups live in small communities, such as Xinjiang and Tibet, you have to buy once you have agreed a price with the seller, or you will invite trouble. It may be helpful if you ask your tour guide to help you haggle.

6. If you are interested in some antiques, you need to have a knowledge of the exit restrictions on cultural items before you buy them. Some items produced before 1911 are restricted, including potteries and porcelains made in China or overseas; copperwares and metal wares; jades, lacquers, glass wares, carvings and sculptures; furniture, paintings and calligraphic works, books, documents, artistic works, stamps, currencies, ancient tools and handiworks. Representative works from ethnic groups that were produced before 1966 are prohibited from export.

7. If you are interested in cultural relics, you can go to the designated shops. According to Chinese laws and regulations inbound visitors can take home cultural relics that they have purchased in the designated shops using foreign exchange. In these cases, there is no need to apply for an inspection from the local cultural administration. Such cultural relics need to be declared at customs on departure, and will be allowed as long as you can provide the relevant invoice and stamp of the local cultural administration.

8. You need to keep invoices of any products that you purchase in China. If you find that the things you buy are not desirable (for example, the size of the silk quilt is too small), you can contact the shop owner for exchange.

9. We arrange a wide spectrum of shops with local features for your reference, but definitely do not violate the voluntary principle. Among the shops we arrange are the following:

  • Beijing: Cloisonné, jades
  • Xi'an: replicas of the terracotta soldiers, Tang Dynasty hand-painted China
  • Shanghai: silk carpets
  • Hangzhou: Longjing Tea
  • Suzhou: silk
  • Guilin: scroll paintings; China Southern Sea pearls
  • Yunnan: mounted butterflies, pure tea
  • Dali batik
  • Xinjiang: carpets, jades
  • Tibet: Thangka

Note: If you do not reject the shopping items in our final confirmation letter, you are assumed to agree with all the shopping arrangements we make for you. The confirmation letter is proof that we do not actually force you into the shops. It is up to you to decide whether to enter the shops or not. As to the shops we recommend to you, we cannot guarantee all the items you purchase there are 100% authentic and we are not held legally accountable in this regard. What we can do is to help you negotiate with the store owners according to their shopping policies. When necessary, we will also help you in applying for a refund.