Situated 150 km from Beijing, Baoding is a sizeable, industrial city with ten million residents. There is a wide variety of shopping opportunities to buy some lovely souvenirs ranging from traditional markets where good-hearted bargaining for products is expected, to a number of really smart shopping malls. With so much to buy and take home, here are the top souvenirs to buy in Baoding, China.
1. Pack some excellent tea
Tea is one of the most famous products from China and it is fun to buy an assortment of loose tea from one of the many market stalls where it is sold loose by the gram – so no problem fitting it in your suitcase! It is actually the perfect opportunity to buy some specialty teas such as Jasmine Silver Needle’, which is made from the silvery white tea buds that are layered with jasmine flowers. The result is a light fragrant tea with a pure and sweet taste. Another very popular tea is pan-roasted organic Dragon Well Tea. (also known as Long Jing).This tea is made by artisans who gently roast the tea leaves which give them a distinctive taste that is a little like freshly cut grass with nutty undertones.
2. Select some gorgeous silk
China was the first country to produce silk and there is a wealth of different types and qualities to buy. There are some great bargains to be had in the markets, but spend time looking at the different qualities for sale on the different stalls. There are colorful lengths of silk material, sensuous bed linen and some attractive items of clothing – both in European and Chinese styles.
3. Treasure some pearls
Both freshwater and cultured pearls are deep-rooted in Chinese tradition as they are symbols of perfection, love, and beauty. There is an amazing selection of pearls available in every size, shape, color, and luster imaginable. There are loose pearls that can be hand-picked and then made into the necklace or bracelet of your choice by the stallholder. Most pearls are popped into a pretty silk pouch which will help protect them. All real, quality pearls will be sold with a certificate of authenticity.
4. Pack some chopsticks
What better souvenir from Baoding than some authentic chopsticks! They are available in presentation boxes ranging from one – ten pairs. Chopsticks are made from bone, resin, and wood, both plain colored or highly decorated. If you have mastered using them, that is great, but maybe your family and friends might not be so successful, so to help them there are hinged chopsticks available! Apart from just chopsticks, there are matching chopstick rests and bowls available too.
5. Decorate your home with calligraphy
Chinese calligraphy is famous throughout the world and is seen as a real art form with a long history. Today there are five main times of script and it is fine to get your name written on a scroll that can be hung on your wall when you get home. Alternatively, you can have the saying of your choice written down such as ‘Think positive and enjoy true happiness’. Apart from wall hangings, calligraphy is used to decorate china, cloth, and fans of all sizes.
6. Admire some Cloisonné
Cloisonné is popular throughout China and makes a very special souvenir. It is not the cheapest handicraft but that is because it is a highly skilled technique using fine gold or silver wire to create a design on metal or pottery that is then in-filled with different colored enamels. There are not just beautiful decorative plates, vases and trinket boxes but also stylish bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces. Pieces do differ in quality and if you want a really special piece it’s best to seek out a master craftsman.
7. Choose some local knotwork
Knotting is an ancient art that is still found in many parts of China and makes fun and original souvenir. There are small pieces that have been made into keyrings and much larger pieces that make beautiful wall hangings. The knotwork is usually red in color as it brings good luck. A wall hanging makes the perfect wedding gift as it wishes love and togetherness.
8. Pick colorful operatic masks
The opera is an important type of Chinese entertainment and some marvelous masks are created for different operas. If you are looking for something different as a souvenir, one of the brightly colored masks would make an excellent wall decoration. The masks come in a variety of different colors and designs.
9. Enjoy a taste of Chinese spirit
Baijiu is a local spirit that is made from rice and is sold everywhere from roadside stalls to high-end stores. It is best to go for a branded bottle and Moutai has a good reputation. Baijiu is definitely a drink just to sip in modest quantities as it can lead to a heavy head the next morning!
10. Get some dried fruit
The selection of dried fruit in the city’s markets is impressive as dried fruit is popular as a snack with everyone. Bought loose by weight, it is good to get a selection to enjoy once you are home and the different bags are easy to fit in your suitcase.
11. Decide on a lovely piece of Jade
Jade is a very special stone in China as in old Chinese culture it was viewed as a sign of power and nobility. Thee are some attractive pieces of jewelry to choose including bracelets and necklaces, or if you prefer a jade statue of Buddha or a skilfully carved, bird, fish or frog. There are many fake pieces of jade for sale. So always buy from a reputable shop.