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[The List]: Shanghai Markets
Welcome to hell.
By Sep 9, 2015 Shopping
Some say that if you dig deep enough in Paris's catacombs, you will reach the gates of hell. In Shanghai, you don't even need to dig -- we have places like Qipu Lu. Like the catacombs, Shanghai's markets wind endlessly, and dark minions will chase your wretched soul, screaming "Bags! Watch! What do you want!?" But like the box in Hellraiser, some cannot resist the temptation of the markets, and thus we present this guide.

Before you set out, a few rules:

1) Never go to the market hungover, for this is worse than 9,000 demons ripping apart your flesh.

2) It is not uncommon for hawkers to ask for prices 32x higher than the actual price, so bargain hard. That said, don't ask for an unreasonably low price -- this is 2015. For some of the more specialized places like the tea market, bring a friend who knows the game.

3) Don't trust electronics like USB drives, unless you're at an electronics market (and even then, be careful).

4) When you first move here, there is a temptation to buy everything, just because it's cheap. Think twice -- you'll probably end up throwing most of that away in a few months.

5) Returns are usually impossible.

Qipu Lu Clothing Market


168 Qipu Lu, near Henan Bei Lu | 七浦路168号, 近河南北路



District: Zhabei
Metro Stop: 1 min walk from Tiantong Lu Station, Line 10
Good For: Clothes, Korean Clothes, Shoes, Accessories, Wigs, Watches, Thieves.
Hours: 8am-5pm

In the '90s, this was the biggest clothing market in town. Aunties and sisters would fight viciously over the clothes, spend 10 hours digging for the best items, then walk away at sunset with suitcases and shopping bags stuffed with their finds.



Flash forward to 2015, and the place is still nuts -- dirt cheap, sweaty, raw, and absolutely packed on the weekends. You will really need to bargain hard here. It's a war. In general, you'll find higher quality goods on the 3rd floor and above, but overall the quality is low, and the fashion styles are mostly like "Countryside Sister". The basement is mostly shoes. The English level here is not real high.



Touts will start hounding you as soon as you step off the subway. Ignore them. Also, watch out for thieves in this area. That said, the area around the market is pretty hood, but safe, and worth a wander. Lots of cutty alleys and cheap restaurants (though a lot of the food is dodgy).



****

Han City a.k.a The Nanjing Lu Fake Market


580 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Chengdu Bei Lu | 南京西路580号, 近成都北路



District: Jing'an
Metro Stop: 7 min walk from Exit 2, Nanjing Xi Lu station, Line 2
Good For: Cheap Gifts, Fake Clothes and Shoes, Accessories, Silk, Custom made items.
Hours: 10am-8pm

This is probably the most popular market for foreign tourists. A lot of locals really can't understand why so many foreigners pay for the fake / low quality shit here, but if you are patient enough, you probably can find some decent gifts to bring home. Most of the salespeople speak conversational English.



Not recommended for anyone who's been in Shanghai more than a few months. This is more for the "I'm in Shanghai for seven days" set. Little known fact about this place -- there's a really hood arcade and a sketchy massage parlor on the top floor. Both seem like places you could lose your wallet or a few organs. Stay clear.



***

Nihong Children Clothing Market


10 Pu'an Lu, near Jinling Zhong Lu | 普安路10号, 近金陵中路



District: Huangpu
Metro Stop: 6 min walk from Exit 2, Huangpi Nan Lu station, Line 1
Good For: Children's Clothes and Shoes, Children's Photography Stalls, Toys, a Fun Playground.
Hours: 9.30am-8pm

This one is like a smaller, cleaner version of Qipu Lu, but only for children. Been there since 2001. Toys are definitely cheaper here than at Carrefour.



Playground for the youth 'dem.



****

South Bund Fabric Market


399 Lujiabang Lu, near Nancang Jie | 南外滩轻纺面料市场, 陆家浜路399号, 近南仓街



District: Huangpu
Metro Stop: 5 min walk from Exit 3, Nanpu Daqiao station, Line 4
Good For: Custom Shirts, Suits, Dresses, and Coats. Also, accessories like gloves and scarves.
Hours: 9am-6pm

This one is actually pretty good. The fabric market has been around since 2005, serving a mostly foreign crowd. Let's preface this by saying that it's not the place to get a really high quality suit -- this ain't no Savile Row. But if you're on a budget and your friend is getting married and you need an OK suit, you can get something passable here for 500-700rmb. Shirts and coats are good though (shout out to Jennifer), and they can copy just about anything (Gucci!) and make custom uniforms, jerseys, etc. For men's shirts, expect to pay 70-150rmb, depending on the fabric. If you don't know about fabrics and stitching, bring someone who does.

For more details on this place, check out our guides on Dresses And Womenswear and Suits And Menswear.



***

Caojiadu Flower Market


33 Wanhanghou du Lu near Changshou Lu | 万航后渡路33号, 近长寿路



District: Putuo
Metro Stop: 8 min walk from Exit 3, Longde Lu station, Line 11
Good For: Flowers and Plants, Potting, Chinese Antiques, Wedding Supplies
Hours: 9am-6pm

This is the largest spot in the city for plants, flowers, trees, and herbs. They've got like 400 stalls with all kinds and sizes of flowers and plants, including some rare imports. And if you buy some large trees, they can arrange the delivery for a small fee.



For those who stay in the kitchen / behind the bar, they've got fresh mint, rosemary, and other herbs for like 8rmb a pot.



****

Xinyang Market


Inside Metro Line 2, Shanghai Science & Technology Museum Station, 2000 Shiji Da Dao, near Yingchun Lu | 地铁2号线上海科技馆站内, 世纪大道2000号, 近迎春路



District: Pudong
Metro Stop: Inside the Science & Technology Museum station
Good For: Clothes, Toys, Shoes, Accessories, Silk, Pearls, Chinese Antiques
Hours: 10am-8pm

Massive market with 488 stalls running daily beneath the earth. Super touristy, so naturally the staff speak the Incessantly Hounding dialect of English. If you need to pick up some gifts for people back home on the way to Pudong Airport, this is the place. Touts can be annoying, but not to the degree of Qipu Lu. Lots of fake USB drives here, which will claim to be like 128gb but are actually only 4gb.



Remember: those chops are legally binding, yo.



****

Tianshan Tea Market


851 Kaixuan Lu, near Yan'an Xi Lu | 凯旋路851号, 近延安西路口



District: Changning
Metro Stop: 7 min walk from Exit 1, Yan'an Xi Lu, Line 4
Good For: Tea Leaves, Tea Sets, Chinese Antiques
Hours: 9.30am-8.30pm

Do you know about tea? If not, better bring someone who does, lest you get fleeced. The tea market has around 150 stalls slangin' thousands of varieties of leaves, a lot of which ain't cheap. But if your tea game is strong, there's lots to find here, like rare Pu'ers and that Da Hong Pao.



Some stalls will offer lessons and tea ceremonies. Again, use your best judgment -- there's lots of tea scams in China.



****

International Glasses City


Railway Station North Plaza 1688 Zhongxing Lu, near Henfeng Lu | 国际眼镜铖 闸北区中兴路1688号, 近上海火车站



District: Changning
Metro Stop: 10 min walk from Exit 4, Shanghai Railway Station, Line 1 / 4
Good For: Cheap Glasses, Thieves [outside]
Hours: 9am-6.30pm

When you get a decent pair of glasses for 120rmb in China, that's when you realize just how much the American medical system and the insurance companies have been fucking you for your entire life.

Shanghai's biggest and only glasses market is just a 10 minute walk from Shanghai Railway station. There's three floors and hundreds of stalls, all selling cheap, custom made glasses, which they can finish within an hour. They also sell contacts, but...in our experience, better get those from a bit more legitimate place. Again, bargain hard and expect to pay 120-150rmb per pair. They can also do eye exams on site, usually for free.



And watch out for thieves around the train station. And skip the 100rmb Lasek surgery! It's not worth it!



****

International Pearl & Silk City


3721 Hongmei Lu, near Yan'an Lu | 虹梅路3721号, 近延安路



District: Changning
Metro Stop: 7 min walk from Exit 2, Longxi Lu station, Line 10
Good For: Pearls, Shoes, Accessories, Clothes.
Running hours: 10am-9pm

Hongqiao -- home to Laowai Jie 101, Koreatown, all kinds of imported grocery stores, DVD shops, and lots of posh shopping malls. And about three minutes away from Laowai Jie 101 by foot, you've got the pearl market. Guess what they sell here.



Guess they're real? Maybe bring your aunt to test? Think you're supposed to bite down on them, and if you break your tooth, they're real.

Anyway, there's more than just pearls. The first floor is covered with clothes, accessories, and silk. Not amazing, but you can probably find something.



***

Xing Guang Photography Equipment Center


288 Luban Lu, near Xietu Lu | 鲁班路288号, 近斜土路



District: Luwan
Metro Stop: 5 min walk from Exit 1, Luban Lu Station, Line 4 (also close to Tianzifang)
Good For: Digital and Analog Cameras, Accessories, Video Equipment, Mics, Camera Repair
Hours: 9am–7pm

Definitely the best camera market in town. It's been around since 1997, and while it's probably fallen off a bit now because of online shopping and big box stores, they still have the largest selection of photography equipment in town.

The market has three sections. Zone A has accessories for cameras and video cameras, with tons of lights, backdrops, and whatever else you might need for your shoot. Zone B is mostly covered with photo-printing stalls and other new gear.



Zone C is all second-hand gear, with lots of used lenses, DSLRs, and vintage film cameras. Just do your research first. Also, you can find stalls to do camera repair, though that might void your warranty.



*****

Qiujiang Lu Electronics Market


500-526 Qiujiang Lu, near Sichuan Bei Lu | 虬江路500-526号, 近四川北路



District: Hongkou
Metro Stop: 4 min walk from Exit 4, Sichuan Bei Lu station, Line 10
Good For: Electronics, Home Security, KTV Gear, Bizarre Finds
Hours: 10am-6pm

This is the finest, most colorful electronics market in Shanghai. We've got a whole article dedicated to this place. With the Xiangyang Lu / Fuxing Lu market gone (R.I.P.), this is the spot to buy blank CDs, AV cables, personal massage devices, fake cigs, boomboxes, pipes, medicinal liquor, roach traps, and bike locks all in one noisy, dirty, beautiful place. There's way more than just electronics here -- we've found Vietnamese Lizard Wine, pepper spray, and pilates balls.



Lots of old-school, high-end Hi-Fi equipment here, too.



*****

Xujiahui Electronics Mall


41 Caoxi Bei Lu, near Hongqiao Lu | 漕溪北路41号, 近虹桥路



District: Xujiahui
Metro Stop: 2 min walk from Exit 10, Xujiahui station, Line 1
Good For: Electronics, Laptops, Video Games, Phones, Headphones
Running hours: 10am–8pm

Honestly, this place sucks. The prices aren't much cheaper than chains like Suning and GOMZ or websites like JD.com, and you've gotta deal with the worst kind of salespeople. Lots of fake products here, too. This place used to be a lot better when they had a dedicated Hi-Fi center.

But there are a few reasons to go. One is a really nice headphones shop you'll have to seek out. They've got a bunch of high-end models by brands like Sennheiser and AKG, and some really good cheap earbuds. The other reason is video games. Lots of those up in here, including modded / chipped consoles, and you can test the games on their big-screen TVs.

Returns here are beyond impossible.



***

Friday Muslim Market


Corner of Ao'men Lu and Changde Lu | 澳门路常德路路口



District: Changning
Metro Stop: 5 min walk from Exit 1, Changshu Lu station, Line 7
Good For: Halal Foods, Snacks, Cakes, Full Lambs
Hours: Fridays, Morning till Afternoon

We've got a full article dedicated to the Muslim Market, which has been running for years. Tons of good food, furs, and photo opportunities here. Definitely worth a visit on a Friday.

Note: The market has been on and off over the past few years -- we cannot guarantee it will be there on any given Friday.



****

Wenmiao Lu Anime Ghetto


215 Wenmiao Lu near Zhonghua Lu | 文庙路215号(靠近中华路)



District: Huangpu
Metro Stop: 5 min walk from Exit 7, Laoximen station, Line 10
Good For: Manga, Action Figures, Otaku Gear, Making Wishes To Confucius
Running hours: 10am-6pm

Just down the road from Laoximen is a wild street that specializes in bootleg comic books, Korean boy-band fan gear, toys and model robots, video games, and erotic Japanese action figures. It's chaotic, but the harmony stays in balance thanks to one of Shanghai's most low-key altars of worship -- the city's only Confucian Temple. It's a fine place to spend a Sunday, especially if you get up early enough to hit the ghost [book] market, which starts before dawn on Sunday mornings.



And they do speak the universal language of Magic The Gathering in this quadrant. Lots of cheap food around here, too. Recommended for an offbeat date. For more info, here's a full article.



***

Shanhua Wholesale Fruit Market


1366 Caoyang Lu, near Tongchuan Lu | 曹杨路1366号, 近铜川路



District: Putuo
Metro Stop: 1 min walk from Zhenru Lu station, Line 11
Good For: Crates of imported fruits
Running hours: 9am-6pm

This is one of Shanghai's biggest wholesale markets, focused solely on fruits. Everything is incredibly cheap and fresh, but unfortunately, they're moving to Qingpu Qu by the end of October, so get there sooner than later.



As this is a wholesale market, the smallest amount they sell here is a crate.

After October, their new location will be:

1500 Xinfu Zhong Lu, Near Hualong Lu | 新府中路1500号(近华隆路)

****

See you in hell!

10 comments.

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  • 2 years ago likeagisy

    Is the Muslim market still ongoing? Went a few weeks ago on a friday at noon and there was nothing there.

  • 2 years ago SmartShanghai

    @likeagisy: Someone we know went there a few weeks ago. We'll check up on this for you tomorrow and report back. The market has been on and off over the past few years, for example:

    http://www.smartshanghai.com/wire/community/muslim-market-is-back

    The market is now directly ON Ao'men Lu, near Changde Lu. Just a little ways away from the original location.

  • 2 years ago treefrog0

    Hello? dark minions? that's so mad racist

  • 2 years ago SmartShanghai

    Ok we just went to the Muslim Market, and it's open from 5am-5pm. Had some lamb baozi and some cake, both really good.

  • 2 years ago moses

    Moses gets his robes from the South Bund Fabric Market.

    It is probably the best market in Shanghai for cheap tailor made clothes. Business shirts and trousers are fine, and more importantly the quality is decent and they will last. Don't believe signs that read 100% cashmere, it is a mixed blend of rubbish

    I haven't been to the muslim market on Changde Lu but I know that market stalls are often set up outside the Rushan Road Mosque in Pudong, every friday afternoon.....

  • 2 years ago GanMa

    Hotel Market - for crockery and kitchenware should be on this list, and of course don't forget the "erotic" market.

    I would also argue not every market needs you to go with someone who knows what they're talking about as the article suggests...unless you're a complete muppet, it's not that hard!

  • 2 years ago lawrence

    Missing a couple -

    Tong Chuan Lu (fish market), although i think its moving too if not already gone.
    The motorbike market in Putuo, (may be gone, haven't visited in a year or so)
    A few of the car parts markets in the outskirts (less and less of those), as well as the second hand car market(s) that are still around (barely!).
    The insanely huge decoration market out by jiuxing etc.

    Is it bad when I can recognize the stalls at qiu jiang lu? hehe.
    The computer mall in the basement towards sichuan lu there used to be great for repairs, but now thats going the way of the dodo.

  • 1 year ago martenkid

    hi there,

    im seeking for a special electronic products. video glasses, or android glasses. I have one myself. and i know you can get them on taobao enz. but i like to see the product first.

    anybody know, if there is place in Shanghai that sells video glasses. already went to some places, like qipu lu. or big electronic store in Shanghai. but no luck yet.

    thanks for your feedback.

  • 2 years ago marydemay

    This was very informative, but does smartshanghai not have editors anymore? There are so many glaring mistakes in this.

  • 2 months ago ph Unverified User

    hi
    do you know where can i find some cute stationery or kawaii stuff?

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