Shanghai is a shopping city and a great place to go treasure hunting is Dongtai Road Antique Market. It’s a nice change of pace from the large department stores and malls on Nanjing Road.
Outdoor vendors line several streets on the outskirts of the Old Town. Antiques are few and far between and replicas, or fakes, abound but you will find plenty of vintage items, traditional crafts, curios and assorted knick-knacks. Among the stalls with embroidered slippers for bound feet, chopsticks, lanterns and furniture you will also come across Communist-era posters, calligraphy brushes and copies of The Little Red Book in several languages.
Dongtai Lu (which means road) also overflows with Cultural Revolution kitsch. Mao memorabilia includes alarm clocks, lighters and ceramic figures like those in the photograph above.
Be prepared to bargain. Open from about 9 a.m. until dark seven days a week the best time to go is in the late afternoon when vendors may lower their prices to secure a sale at the end of the long day.
The residential lanes surrounding the market are atmospheric and worth prowling. Low rise buildings are adorned with hanging laundry and narrow lanes beckon you to wander through and see where they lead.
How To Get There
The metro stop closest to the market is South Huangpi Road. Taxis are abundant and inexpensive in Shanghai and while most cab drivers know the market they do not speak English. Ask the reception at your hotel to write down the name of the market in Chinese so you can hand it to the driver. Most hotels have business cards with their address in English and Chinese and a space on the back where the Chinese name of a destination can be filled in.