Guangzhou Part 3 ~ Shopping
It was a leg breaking experience while shopping in Guangzhou. Their malls are HUGE! In fact, the biggest & the second biggest mall in East Asia are in Guangzhou. I don't really like to window shop, so I don't go mall cruising even in Singapore. In Guangzhou, their huge malls are nightmares! Near our hotel, along 天河路 (Tian He Road), is East Asia biggest shopping mall, the Grandview Mall (they are building a bigger one just opposite it).
North Entrance of Grandview Mall
Me at it's West Entrance.
For the record, I didn't explore Grandview Mall completely. Was put off by it's gigantic size. Saw an amusement park at its top most level & a ice-skating rink on 5th level. Haha! Nice ice-skating rink! Bigger than the one we have here. I love to ice-skate! Ok, more about that in a later update coming soon.
Inside Grandview Mall
Ice-skating rink & Merry-go-round
Just 200m away, separated by two small shopping centers is the second biggest mall in Guangzhou, Tee Mall. Was told by our host that local prefer to shop here instead of the bigger Grandview Mall due to better variety in shops.
Interior of TeeMall
Sandwiched between the two giant malls are two small shopping centers. Located in one of them is my favorite shop in Guangzhou.
Two midgets malls squeeze between the giants.
Inside my favorite shop
When I first saw this unique little shop, I wanna take pic of it's shop front. Was so disappointed when a staff informed us that no photo is allow. Later when they discovered that we were tourists, the embarrass staff told us that we are allow to take pic. Do I look local in my outfit? Haha... never mind.
Beautiful crafts made me look lovely too =P
Me with their friendly & helpful staff
This small, but unusual shop sells handicrafts made by minority tribes of China. I so love those beautiful works of art. The shop is stuff full of them, on shelves, hanging on wall & dangling from a frame in the ceiling, all tastefully arranged. On my first visit, I was in a rush & didn't look at everything thoroughly. Too much lovely things to take all in at a glance. I went back the next day after visiting their website from a cyber cafe. This shop is where I bought the most items from & took the most pic of, when I'm in Guangzhou. =P
天河路 (Tian He Road) is like the CBD of Guangzhou with many high rise buildings. Unlike other areas which all shops close for business at 5 or 6 pm. At 天河路 (Tian He Road), you can still find shops open at 11 pm with many people wandering around. Just next to our hotel is a shopping center, The Plaza, which shops open till quite late. There's a cinema inside too. Owner of The Plaza is the same as the hotel we stayed.
The Plaza next to our hotel
Inside The Plaza
At the opposite side of the road, a short distance from our hotel are three malls located next to each other in a row. Inside are full of computers & electronic shops much like our Sim Lim Square, but much bigger.
Guangzhou's geeks & nerds paradise =P
All the locations mentioned above so far are all situated at 天河路 (Tian He Road). Now to a more 'fashionable' district, 北京路 (Peking Road). It's Guangzhou's Orchard Road where all the branded fashion goods are. The whole stretch of 北京路 (Peking Road) is closed to traffic, permanently. You can find most of the famous brands there, but me not a branded fashion person, didn't find much to buy. Just went there to look see, look see.
北京路 (Peking Road)
In the center of 北京路 (Peking Road), covering about half it's length, is a long armor glass enclosure which preserve a history of Guangzhou. Peek into the enclosure & beneath is ancient roadway discovered by archaeologists dating thousands of years back in China's history.
Glass covered ancient roadways at 北京路 (Peking Road)
The People Park of Guangzhou is 三下九 (San Xia Jiu), 'Three Down Nine' if it's name is literally translated. Heehee... Funny, right? Don't ask me why it's named that coz I dunno. All I know is this area have less branded fashion & many locals prefer to shop there coz it's cheaper. It's not a tourist place like 北京路 (Peking Road).
三下九 (San Xia Jiu)
River of shoppers frank by shops
Small stall Big mall
Aiyooo... came across this guy who was carrying an advertising banner. Wanna took a pic with him, instead he handed over the banner, making me advertise for a noodle house for free! Tricky fellow! Hahaha...
From bland to brand =P
Drink that & be a man!
三下九 (San Xia Jiu) had me walking till my legs turn to jelly. Then there's this place called 状元坊 (Zhuang Yuan Fang) with stretch of small shops like our Bugis Village, patronize by mostly teenagers & young adults. Unlike Bugis Village which is just a short stretch with just a few branches off the main lane. At 状元坊 (Zhuang Yuan Fang), along the main lane, there're NUMBEROUS... countless of little lanes branching off. In those small lanes are many tiny alleys looping & twisting all over the bloody place, all lined with tiny shops at both side. Those tiny shops are locally known as 鼠店 (shu dian) meaning 'mouse shops' literally. Ya... like mouse in an alley. =P
Entrance to 状元坊 (Zhuang Yuan Fang)
One of the shopping alley
In Guangzhou, many places like 北京路 (Peking Road), 三下九 (San Xia Jiu) or 状元坊 (Zhuang Yuan Fang), many of their malls together with small shops stretches about 2 km ~ 5 km from one end to the other. And that's counting only in a straight line. From the main road, lots of small lanes branching off & many alleys branching off from those small lanes. Think Mazes. Think Labyrinth. Think Total Confusion! I would have got lost if I'm alone. Luckily, I have a guide who have superb directional sense & knew those areas quite well. Ok, good guide, but I still got to do the walking. Walked, walked & walked some more. "Is this the end yet?!?" I remember an area with lots of shops selling bags. Very many kind of bags. You can find any types of bags there as they claimed. Bag Lover Heaven! My friend brought me to the one end of the road. Took one look into the lane from a high ground. Saw this super long wringing, twisting & turning route with many side tracks. Nonono... Nope! Me not going in there! Not on my life! Me total surrender! What make it worse is when I was in Guangzhou, the whether turn hot... dry heat kinda hot... making my lovely fair skin darker everyday I'm there. =(
China is the Factory of the World. Almost everything is Made in China. Guangzhou is where many clothes & footwear factories are located. So, after covering most of Guangzhou popular shopping streets, you have to try their wholesale area. This is, by my friend's estimation, a 5 km long stretch of route in a straight line, not counting venturing into countless small lanes & their alleys. The route start from 高第街 (Gao Di Street) & stop at the end of 一德路 (Yi De Road). Many of these shops won't sell you single item. You have to buy by bulk or at least a dozen, but imagining a pair of sport shoes for S$2 ~ S$3, a lady belt for S$0.30, a pair of sock cost S$0.20, keychain for S$0.03, cheap handphone pouch or accessories? You can choose not to take one type of item as long as you buy in large amount. Good place to get multiple gifts. =P
Beginning of wholesale adventure
Starting from the entrance of 高第街 (Gao Di Street) you will find socks, stockings, gloves, underwear, lingerie, pajamas, belts & towels. Then comes the footwear. Lanes & alleys of shoes, slippers, boots, sport shoes & many more shoes till it terminate at a footwear whole sale mall. Next to it is another wholesale center called Sea Pearl Wholesale Center.
Masks & soft toys from small to huge
Horns, Swords or Framed Arts, Anyone?
Inside Sea Pearl Wholesale Center is a kaleidoscope of products. Toys, lanterns, flicking lights, masks, deco items, fans, swords, pots, vases, artificial flowers & plants, clocks, watches, bags, handphone pouches & accessories, stationary, lucky charms, wind chimes... the list goes on...
Plastic Butterflies, Paper Fans, Cloth Lucky Charms
In front of the wholesale center is 一德路 (Yi De Road) where many wholesalers of dried food & seafood are located. Sharkfins, sea cucumbers, dried abalones, scallops, salted fish, cuttlefish, waxed ducks, sausages, mushrooms, Chinese hams, salted veggies & many things I couldn't identify... I don't want to know. =P
Wholesale preserved food
The wholesale stretch end at two wholesale malls at the end of 一德路 (Yi De Road). One mall are wholesalers of toys & the other, wholesalers of handphone accessories, stationaries & costume jewelries. It's dusk when I reached there & most of the shops are closed or closing for the day. No chance for photo, but I managed to snared a cute panda soft toy for a friend back in Singapore.
All those shopping/walking trips break my legs. What did I get for my effort? Legs of jelly(I wore flats) & darker skin! The fashion at Guangzhou when I was there don't suit me. Look obiang to me. Well, that's my opinion. I tend to dress quite differently from many girls even here. Don't conform to current fashion & never will. Not into branded stuffs. So, my haul from Guangzhou is not much.
Still, I did bought a new luggage bag to carry back what I bought. =P
*Note: The items at the back row & some from the 2nd back row of top pic are bought for friends & family. The keychains at right of center pic are free gifts.