While name brand and knock-off shopping is easy in Guangzhou—locals and expats alike seem to live and breathe it—if you're not shopping for fashion, a few passes through the malls of the metropolis can feel like an exercise in monotony. Shoppers who are looking for something unique, especially traditional handicrafts or artwork to give as gifts, might want to look a bit further than the city's shining shopping plazas. Three of the big traditional art forms of Guangzhou are embroidery, carving and enameled ceramics; however shoppers looking to make a unique statement from the Guangdong capital may also consider purchasing jade jewellery or statuary, bronzeware, calligraphy or paintings. When on the hunt for a special gift or an unusual souvenir, here are a few places to check:
1) Chen Clan Academy's Folk Art MuseumView In Map
Anyone looking for local handmade gifts should swing by the Chen Clan Academy's Folk Art Museum for an orientation in Guangdong handicrafts. Especially interesting here are the miniature carvings and ceramics. It's worth noting that many of the museums in the city, including this one, have gift shops, which feature crafts by local artisans, often at surprisingly reasonable prices.
Add: Chen Clan Academy, Zhongshan Qi Lu, Liwan District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8181 4559
Opening hours: Daily, 08:30-17:30
Price: 10 RMB. Children under 1.2 meters tall get in free.
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Chen Clan Academy station, exit D. Bus No. 85, 88, 104, 107, 109, 114, 128, 133, 181, 193, 204, 233, 250, 251, 260, 268, 286.
2) Changshou Lu Metro Station View In Map
The streets both east and west of the Changshou Lu Metro station in Liwan District have plenty of unique shopping opportunities. To the west, at the edge of Liwanhu Park, are clusters of antique dealers and other shops collectively called the Xiguan Guwan Cheng (西关古玩城). Housed in examples of traditional Guangzhou Xiguan architecture, the array of area-specific goodies as well as antiques and antique-looking objects from all over China attracts both domestic and international collectors.
Add: Lizhiwan Lu, Liwan District Guangzhou
Opening hours: Daily, around 08:30 to 17:30
Getting There: Metro Line 1, Changshou Lu station, Exit B then follow Baoyuan Lu. Bus No. 226, 541, 39 to Hengbao Garden Bus Terminal; bus No. 2, 25, 55 or 66 to Pantang.
3) Hualin Jade Street and Yuansheng Xijie Street
To the west of Changshou Lu are two more major sites for decorative homeware and jewellery. The Hualin Jade Street (华林玉器街), near the Hualin Temple, and neighbouring Yuansheng Xijie Street（源胜西街) feel more like bazaars than the “street” in their names suggests. Find jade and other semi-precious stone curios, jewellery, beads, antique and bronze collectibles, ceramics, brassware and carvings. Wise shoppers will double-check authenticity of any 'antiques' and bargain shrewdly.
Getting There: Take metro Line 1 to Changshou Lu Station (长寿路站). Follow Changshou Xi Lu (长寿西路) to Wenchang Nan Lu (文昌南路), turn right and look for Hualin Lu (华林路) on the left. The handicrafts market area extends south to the intersection with Xiajiu Lu (下九路) and west to Kangwang Lu (康王路).
4) Guangzhou Antique Shop Head Office / Wende Lu Culture Street
The museum-feel Guangzhou Antique Shop Head Office offers impressive examples of Guangdong handicrafts. While in the area shoppers should also visit the Wende Lu Culture Street art market. It has some original calligraphy and paintings as well as reproductions of famous paintings.
Guangzhou Antique Shop Head OfficeView In Map
Add: 172 Wende Bei Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Wende Lu Culture Street
Getting There: Take metro line 1 or 2 to Gongyuanqian station (公园前站) near Beijing Lu (北京路). From Beijing Lu walk east along Zhongshan Lu (中山路) then turn right on Wende Lu (文德路).
5) “Cheap” options
For less pricey shopping, the markets near Haizhu Guangchang are sometimes touted as places to buy 'handicrafts', however most of the goods sold there don't really fit the bill. That said at the Haizhu Accessories Market there are some neat souvenirs to be had, especially of the key chain and soft toy variety. These are mostly wholesale distributors, but bargaining for one-offs is often acceptable.
By subway: Metro line 1 to Haizhu Guangchang Station (海珠广场站).
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Keywords: Handicrafts in Guangzhou traditional art gifts in Guangzhou Chen Clan Academy
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