What to Buy and What to Skip! CHINA Shopping Tips & Tricks! Part 2 of 3

I hope you enjoyed reading Part 1 all about my Taiwan shopping experience!  In case you missed it, click here :)

Next stop on my trip- Mainland China which is still very much a third world nation.  CAUTION- You can’t drink the water here and there are almost no ‘Western’ toilets.  Expect a hole in the ground and to B.Y.O.T.P. (Bring Your Own Toilet Paper as I like to say) and soap with you to restrooms.  It’s pretty gross, they even give you boiling water at the restaurants so that you can wash your plates/utensils yourself before you eat- Ehwww.  But once you get past those things there is of course plenty of great things about this country like the SHOPPING!  We were able to go to a mall in Guangzhou which was pretty interesting…

Mall in Guangzhou
Mall in Guangzhou

We decided to go into a store called RT Mart which reminded me a lot of Walmart.  They had EVERYTHING in this overcrowded discount store including a full grocery store.  Which was perfect for me as I had been searching high and low for these Chinese Apple Pears I had over a year ago, which they had here so I snatched a few!  They also had dragon fruit which is another one that I love :)

Food section of RT Mart

Of course as we entered the store I heard this woman screaming (of course I couldn’t understand what she was saying as she was speaking Chinese), so I turned around and saw that she was yelling at ME!  Thankfully I had a girl with me to translate and she was informing me that I had to check my bag (I was carrying a backpack).  So I go outside the store where, instead of checking my bag, they made me put my backpack inside a huge red bag with what looked like some kind of communist flag on it and then they zipped it shut and put a sensor tag on it so that I couldn’t open it! Whoa security- we don’t even do this in America!  Then I had to walk around the whole store with this stupid red flag bag- So not fashionable lol.  It was pretty hilarious.

Flag bag they put my backpack inside of
Flag bag they put my backpack inside of

I also noticed inside this mall that the floors were separated by the type of clothing, so all mens clothes were on one floor, women’s on another, etc.  It was interesting to see and I wondered if this really helped business or not.  Seeing that typically more women than men go shopping, it is usually best to put the mens section somewhere where the women will see it because they will often times be buying for their loved one.  I did end up buying a shirt for my bf which thankfully I got the right size for him (I learned my lesson after shopping in Taiwan so I went up a size).  Another thing you do need to keep in mind is that most places do NOT accept American credit cards.  Even though I was carrying my Visa and the stores clearly said they accepted Visa, it was a huge hassle and their machines wouldn’t accept it.  So it’s best to always have cash on hand even when inside a huge Mall.

A really great item to buy in China is luggage.  Again since almost everything is manufactured in China these days, its so much cheaper to buy right here from the source and bring it back to the US.  And since most airlines allow you to check 2 pieces of luggage on your return flight home- even more reason to grab one!  My coworker had gone to a local flea market in Guangzhou and got a really nice 20″ suitcase for about $40 USD.  Of course it helped that she went with a local and he haggled the price down for her.  I unfortunately waited until I got to Hong Kong where the prices were a little bit higher even after I haggled :(    So if you plan to buy luggage- Mainland China is the place to do it.

So here are a few TIPS:

1. Always have cash on hand as most places will not take credit cards

2. Try to go shopping with a local so that they can not only translate but also bargain for you!

3. Don’t bring a backpack to a store (unless you want it to be on lockdown inside a Communist flag bag)

4. Always go up a size if you are unsure

5. If you are in a Mall and notice you can’t find a certain type of clothing- try going to a different floor.

6. Buy some Luggage :)

7. B.Y.O.T.P.  -Enough said

8. This has nothing to do with shopping but it’s worth mentioning- Be prepared to have NO Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, or Google while in Mainland China.  It is a Communist country and so the government blocks all social media and various other websites.  Even American bank sites like Chase as well as Yahoo are blocked at times!  I did manage to figure out a way to check my Yahoo email by going through the Taiwan Yahoo site instead of the American one and logging in from there- Good Trick to try!

So what would you do if you had no Facebook for an entire week?!?!! Comment below and share this blog with your friends please!

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I head to HONG KONG!

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