Shenyangdao Antiques Market

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Shenyangdao Antiques Market

Tianjin (96 km [60 miles] east of Beijing) is a huge port city of 10 million people known to Beijingers for its baozi (steamed buns), wonderful antiques market, and international architecture, including British, French, American, German, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Austrian-Hungarian, and Belgian examples. For the best antiques shopping in China, head to Tianjin on a Wednesday evening train, check into your hotel, have dinner, and go to bed so you can wake up early for the Shenyangdao Antiques Market, which opens at 4 am every Thursday and is well picked over by midmorning. When buying at Shenyangdao, be wary of items dubbed genuine antiques. They do exist, but are very rare; even the prettiest, oldest-looking pieces can be fake. Some are made with antique wood that has been recently recycled into "antiques" by skilled artisans. The casual collector should remember: buy things because you like them, not because you think they are inherently valuable. Feel free to haggle relentlessly. Trains (Y22) to Tianjin leave Beijing Station nine times a day from 4:22 am until 8:27 pm, taking 1½ –2 hours. The express train (Y58) to Tianjin takes around 35 minutes and leaves Beijing South Station every ten minutes from 6:13 am until 10:43 pm. The market is a short taxi ride away or a half hour bus journey from outside the station, getting off at Jintazhan or Shandonglu.

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