The best markets in Shanghai

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Shanghai is one of the cosmopolitan cities in China, always on the move, always evolving, and always able to offer some interesting experiences for those who visit it. Shopping might not be something that all travelers (especially budget conscious ones) like to do, but in Shanghai’s bustling markets shopping is like nothing you’ve experienced before. You can approach the best markets in Shanghai as mere places where you can buy things, or see them as a cultural experience and the beating heart of the city where people from all walks of life come to do their daily shopping, buy souvenirs or browse the rare treasures that you can find in hidden corners.

Qipu Lu clothing market

Imagine a market so huge that it would take the better part of a day just to take a peek at all the stalls. Qipu Market can feel like the largest and most crowded market in the world, and it probably is the most gigantic clothing market in the world. If you are interested in the latest affordable fashions in China, or if you need a change of t-shirts, this is the place to buy clothes that come at much lower prices that in shops. There is a huge variety of knockoffs on sale, and bargaining with the shopkeepers is strongly encouraged.

Dongtai Lu antiques market

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If you are looking for genuine, valuable antiques, Dongtai Lu antiques market is probably not the best place to look for them, despite the name. It’s common knowledge among the locals that many of the ‘antiques’ at the market are in fact not very old, but fact is that you can find very interesting art, decorations and nicknacks inĀ Dongtai Lu antiques market, as long as you preserve a healthy skepticism regarding their origin and age.

Wenmiao book market

Wenmiao book market in the old town is one of the best markets in Shanghai for those who can read Chinese. This Sunday market has an amazing number of Chinese language books on display, as well as some English ones (although mostly coffee table books). You can find century-old novels, interesting vintage posters and loads of comic books – there are even old propaganda booklets on sale!

Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market

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If the fake brand clothing that you can find at other Shanghai markets doesn’t interest you, visit Shanghai South Bund Fabric Market where you can have all the painstakingly sewn handmade clothing you want. You can either buy beautiful rolls of fabric, or traditional clothing like qipaios. Some of the best tailors in the city have set up shop at the market, so if you are staying in the city for a couple of weeks you can have custom made clothing done here.

Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Market

The ‘wares’ at the Flower, Bird, Fish and Insect Marketare not the kind that you probably won’t be able to bring home with you, but the market is definitely worth a visit for novelty value alone. The pets sold at stalls and shops are not the happiest looking, but the variety of insects and other creepy crawlies marketed either as animal companions or animal food are very interesting.

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