Beijing – Street Vendors

Street vendors can be found selling all manner of wares throughout Beijing. Many are migrants from Hebei or other nearby provinces. They live on the outskirts of the city, beyond the 4th Ring Road, where the gleam of Beijing’s skyscrapers disappears behind a veil of smog, and where the line of the mountains divides urban wealth from rural poverty.

Some sell scented prayer beads and faux jade bracelets, while others offer up T-shirts and even the occasional adult novelty. Trinkets are laid out on blankets on the sidewalk, allowing them to be quickly wrapped and whisked away should the Chengguan, a police force responsible for controlling low-level crime, decide to raid the area.

Most everything for sale is not as unique you’d be led to believe, and haggling is necessary to secure a fair price, especially if you look like you’re from out of town.