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Hangzhou is a shopper’s paradise and has been since the Song Dynasty. The best silk and Jade are produced locally and can be bought at a bargain. Look out for the time-honored seal of approval, which is only given to stores offering the highest quality products. Here are 12 souvenirs which can only be found in Hangzhou.
For serious collectors; this is one not to miss. There are snuff boxes on display of all shapes and sizes. Most of the pieces protected behind glass panels are hundreds of years old and depict scenes from past dynasties immortalized in fine bone china. They have a small selection of snuff on sale but the majority of their business is collectible snuff boxes. Prices range from 100RMB to 10 000RMB for the oldest, most ornate pieces.
Tea is a requisite souvenir for anyone visiting Hangzhou. The best tea is Longjin or Dragonwell, which can be bought from any of the plentiful tea stores found on Hefang street or from the China National Tea Museum itself. Chrysanthemum flower tea also makes a great souvenir. Be sure to buy vacuum packed tea to preserve its quality, longevity and also for ease of traveling. At De Shou Tang you can witness the tea being roasted and even order a sample in the upstairs tea house. You’ll also notice a huge 9 meter tall smoking pipe on display at the entrance, as they also sell bespoke small batch cigarettes.
Phone: 0571 87064108
Since 1919 the Pan family have been manufacturing and selling high quality cotton quilts throughout Zhejiang Province. Over a century later, out of more than 200 shops, only one remains in the family. A popular attraction for local and international tourists, the shop offers a limited selection of finished quilts, as well as swatches of cotton which can be ordered for personal use. This charming store is like a window into history, with its sparse furnishings and unpretentious storefront. Stop by and purchase a one-of-a-kind traditional Chinese quilt, or chat with the elderly shopkeeper, who is always smiling.
Phone: 0571 87062921
A novelty for Chinese ladies, these cosmetics are made from ancient recipes that have been passed on through families for generations. The powders and creams carry exotic scents of jasmine, peony, rose and other oriental aromas. A popular store on the shopping street is Dai Chun Li, a tiny store, barely fitting 4 customers at a time and packed to the ceiling with product. Here you can sample the creams and powders before purchase or simply browse and admire the beautiful images painted on the dainty containers.
Phone: 0571 86029045
You can buy silk scarves just about anywhere in Hangzhou. If you are looking for a top quality product, Zhen si shi Jia is the best place to go. You can also find traditional qipao dresses and matching his-and-hers pyjamas, made from the finest silk.
Phone: 0571 86795602
On Hefang street, just next to the Cotton store, is a shop offering calligraphy supplies such as rice paper, ink and brushes of all sizes. You can personalise your purchases with your Chinese name, written in traditional calligraphy style. If you don’t know your Chinese name, simply scan through the in-store dictionary to find it or just choose one that suits you!
Mainly reserved for special occasions; Jade is precious and highly valued in Chinese culture. Brides and new mothers still receive Jade bangles as wedding or extravagant presents. You can also find good luck charms, statuettes, rings, necklaces all made from Jade crystal. Only buy Jade from stores certified to deal it, who can issue a certificate of authenticity. The best service and finest selection can be found at Ling Jin Fei Cui.
Phone: 0571 87807369
Hand made confectioneries
Hangzhou’s favorite snack is handmade sweets which are pounded, rolled, diced and packaged right before your eyes on Hefang Street. The sesame and peanut paste treat is rolled in bamboo floss. It is so popular that many tourists line up to purchase it as soon as a fresh batch is ready. A popular stall can be found next to Xi Le Yuan food market.
Jianping specializes in high quality embroidered clothes. Located in a brand new shopping mall, this high-end store sells bespoke silkware, especially dresses. Each item is then embroidered by in house seamstresses whose worktables are prominently displayed by the windows, attracting clientele and tourists. The store also has several locations in Shanghai and Beijing.
Phone: 0571 86776768
For handcrafted combs made of wood, bamboo or fine bone china, head to Tan Mu Jang, a specialized store with unique pieces, a perfect gift for all ages. Prices range from 130-300RMB, which is a reasonable price for top quality handicrafts.
Haider Alley, Hubin Shang Quan, Xiacheng Qu
Phone: 0571 85097523
This is both the most popular and most practical souvenir to buy in Hangzhou. In ancient times fans were reserved only for the Imperial palace and had many uses such as relaying secret messages or as parchment to preserve poetry and other writings. Today you can find fans all along Hefang Street, especially at stalls on busy walking streets. Better selections can be found at Hangzhou Silk Town, along with umbrellas and other silk products. Fans can be any price from 5RMB up to 30RMB for an embroidered silk version.
Traditional pharmacies such as Huqingyutang and Fanghuichuntang sell medicine which can be bought over the counter as well as amulets of colored silk cloths, filled with your prescription or choice of Chinese medicine. These amulets are usually gifted to children to wear for protection but also make an interesting conversation piece as a souvenir for tourists.
As you walk down Hefang Street you will encounter many stalls selling small wood carvings of wall hangers, ornate Chinese characters and daily utensils. The most interesting are the cups made out of hollow bamboo tubes with one end sealed to make a bottom. These are hand engraved with traditional Chinese romantic couplets and for a fee they will also engrave your name or facial likeness. These souvenirs tend to be popular with young people, who line up to have personal messages engraved on their purchases.