The best shopping in Guilin can be had within the many day and night markets and there are all sorts of nooks and crannies to duck into to window-shop, people-watch and to find the best deals. Guilin arts and handicrafts are particularly good buys and you can pick up wood crafted items at a snip.
Gold, silver, and jade jewelry items are always good buys, while traditional paintings of the local mountain scenery, and calligraphy works, are also popular. For local products, look for osamnthus tea, wine, and sugar.
Guilin Zhengyang Buxing is a traffic-free street and the heart of Guilin's shopping, eating and entertainment for locals and tourists. ‘The first street in western China' buzzes by day (but is best done at night) and you can pick up lots of goodies, including souvenirs and cheap clothing.
Another fine spot for picking up souvenirs and art and crafts, this night market goes from 20:00 to midnight when it is made traffic-free. Products from southern China can be had here, including the much sought after Guilin Stone, as well as ethnic dresses, musical instruments, and bamboo carvings. It has a buzzing atmosphere where bumping shoulders with happy locals and tourists is fun.
Guilin is not awash with mega shopping malls and department stores as with the big economic powerhouses of the Chinese east, but the Guilin Department Store is getting there. It sits on Zhongshan Middle Road and is a multistory building that has products from all over China, with especially good quality clothes and shoes. Bargains can be had after Christmas and Chinese New Year.
The center square of Guilin is called Little Hong Kong and, along with the sightseeing in this part of town, is an intriguing web of alleys underneath where all sorts of nifty items can be had. Good deals can especially be had on clothes and accessories.
This mall-cum-wholesale market is one of the biggest in China for souvenirs and knickknacks. Great prices can be had for a large variety of Guilin arts and crafts, including paintings and wood carvings, while Burmese jade is also popular. Other items to buy here include Qingtian stone carvings, Fujian woodcarvings, and Suzhou embroidered products.
The Paintings and Calligraphy Workshop in Guilin Museum is a fine place to pick up quality specialty items. It has paintings and jewelry for sale along with intricate calligraphy works, jade items and wood, stone, and silk handicrafts.
Stick to the markets for the best deals and be sure to haggle vehemently somewhere between 30 and 50 percent off the asking price is about right. Also don't be afraid to also ask for a discount in the malls and department stores for the higher end stuff too, especially when buying more than one item.
Find more information about Guilin and hotels in the area:
Guilin hotels | China hotels