Hangzhou is justly famous for tea and silk, but it's also a great place for freshwater pearls, local crafts, fans, antiques and souvenirs. The night market is a good bet for bargains, as are the Hangzhou Tower Shopping Center in Wulin Square and the stalls of the Sijiqing Clothing Market. Don't forget to haggle.
Tea production dates back two thousand years in China and Hangzhou's climate creates an ideal location for a green tea known as Longjing tea, as well as chrysanthemum tea. You can see Longjing tea growing and sample it at the source at Longjing Tea Plantation, and many stalls and vendors sell this refreshing tea throughout the city. Hangzhou's chrysanthemum tea (baijuhua cha) is made by mixing jasmine and chrysanthemum flowers with tea leaves during processing. According to Chinese traditional medicine, chrysanthemum detoxifies the body.
Along with that of nearby Suzhou, Hangzhou silk ranks among the best in the world, and Hangzhou satin is considered by many to be the absolute best. You can find good deals on silk at the Hangzhou Friendship Store, at Hangzhou Silk City (Zhongguo Sichou Cheng) or shops along Jiefang Lu. The silk market between Fengqi Lu and Tianmushan Lu is known for low prices, but watch out for fake stuff. If you have the time, Hangzhou's tailors have the skills: get a custom-made garment from one of the city's many needle-and-thread experts.
Hangzhou Silk Parasols
Made from Hangzhou silk and Zhejiang bamboo, Hangzhou Silk Parasols have shaded royalty and locals alike for centuries. Available in an array of colors and designs, look for merchants at major tourist attractions as well as the Hangzhou Friendship Store.
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Hangzhou on the China Travel Blog
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