Sunday, May 18, 2014

China 2014 | Bargain-Hunting at Dongtai Road Antique Market {东台路古玩市场}

Dongtai Road Antique Market {东台路古玩市场} is located at the north-east part of Luwan District in Shanghai, China. With over 100 stalls, it sells an endless supply of "antiques" here, such as writing brushes, Chinese statues, ancient coins, leather suitcases, Mao Zedong memorabilia etc... however, the authenticity of the items is quite doubtful. Although some may really have historical value, most are just likely to be reproductions of real antiques.

I love bargain-hunting at flea markets and could not give this place a miss. It was definitely on my must-see list! We visited it on our first day in Shanghai, which was pouring!

However, the rain might have been a blessing as there wasn't much of a crowd despite it being a weekend, and the store-keepers were more open to settling for lower prices because of the lack of customers. I actually found them to be nicer than those in Hong Kong's flea markets :P

My Shanghainese friends had already told me that bargaining is key when shopping at Dongtai Lu, and we should start from at least 60% off the sellers' first asking price. You can read some of my tips for bargain-hunting at flea markets here but I think the most important thing is to pay what you are comfortable for and not be pressured into buying!

Oh ya, another tip that my Shanghainese friends told me is to let the locals know that I'm not local {by speaking English} as they tend to treat foreigners better. I'm not sure how true this is because I'm thinking if they know I'm a foreigner, won't they want to charge me more??? At least that's what tends to happen in Singapore.

Anyway this being a tourist destination, most of the shop-keepers can speak a little English, or at least communicate with you using the powerful... calculator haha.

I wasn't looking for real antiques {although I did love the old leather suitcases & Chinese locks!} but more on curios and knickknacks unique to China. There were some interesting stuff for sale to see, but I didn't find much on what I actually wanted to buy.

In the end, I walked away with only a cute kungfu panda t-shirt for Lil Pumpkin, 2 sets of Chinese chopsticks and 2 porcelain goldfish chopstick holders. That was it! A far cry from what I got from the Aussie flea markets haha but they were definitely a bargain.

Pretty little porcelain containers, Chinese fans, postcards and jewelry...

Highly doubt that those are real terracotta statues hehe

The antique market covers a few small streets and neighbourhood and if you look carefully behind the stalls, you can catch a glimpse of the local life with people playing mahjong or exercising to their radios.

Even if you're not looking to buy, I'd say it's still worth a visit for the experience. It is, after all, the only remaining flea market in Shanghai that is still devoted to selling antiques.

It's also just across the street from the Flower & Bird Market {花鸟市场} and we popped by that after we were done with Dongtai Road. It sells more than just flowers and birds; but also crickets, cats, dogs, ducks, rabbits, bonsai plants etc.! Not stroller-friendly though, and probably not a good idea to bring young kids because it is very cramped.

P.S. Don't forget to check out my list of 25 Must-Do, Must-See and Must Eat Guide from the Locals!

Dongtai Road Antique Market {东台路古玩市场, Dongtai Lu Gu Wan Shi Chang}
Dongtai Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu, Huangpu district {黄浦区东台路, 近复兴中路}
Nearest Metro station: Laoximen {老西门站}, Exit 5
Open daily 9am - 6pm
Free Admission

* Disclosure: My Shanghai Story trip was partially sponsored by Spring Airlines. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.



Indah Nuria Savitri said...

look at those precious items..I love antiques and really wanna see them! Used to spend hours on Geneva flea market as well..hope I'll soon find great ones here in NYC ..

Masshole Mommy said...

That looks like such a cool place to shop. I love seeing the differences in cultures between there and the US!

Ai Sakura said...

Indah: this really was a very interesting market! Looking forward to what you'll find in NYC.. heard it's a very exciting city!

Masshole Mommy: yeah me too! Love to find out all about the different cultures and traditions in different countries :)

An Apel a Day said...

I love going to places like that! That orange bike is cute! My kids love Kung Fu Panda!

Jac said...

I didn't see this, guess this is good reason to go back again :)