In between climbing pagodas and snapping pictures of golden goddesses, most travelers to Asia take time to visit the shopping districts. The quality and selection of designer clothing and extravagant items found in shops across Asia will not disappoint those with a penchant for luxury goods. From China to India, great buys are available for those who know what to look for.
Mainland China is a fantastic place to find extravagant jewelry at discount prices. Jewelry markets are filled with glittering gems and beautiful jade pieces abound.
Exquisite strands of high quality, lustrous pearls are easy to find in China. When purchasing jewelry in mainland China, feel free to bargain. It’s the way business is done in China, and most owners of small shops expect it.
There have been cases of shopkeepers taking advantage of tourists, and the best defense is knowledge. If buying pearls, test them against your teeth for roughness. You might want to test both a real pearl and faux pearl in advance to make sure you can recognize the difference. For gems, consider purchasing a jeweler’s loupe and learning to use it.
Be especially careful when buying jade, since it can be difficult to tell true jade from false.
Silk is also a good buy in China. Stores that sell lengths of fabric and silk garments are abundant, and some shops will make a shirt or dress from the silk fabric of your choosing.
Because there is no sales tax in Hong Kong and imported goods are not taxed, designer clothing can be purchased there for excellent prices. Bargains can be found on cameras and electronics, but make sure you know the going prices for these items so you’ll be able to spot a good deal. Hong Kong is also an excellent place to buy watches and jewelry.
Thailand is another great source for jewelry. Unfortunately, dishonest jewelry dealers are plentiful. Never follow any “helpful” individual who offers to lead you to a jewelry store with incredible bargains – it’s probably a scam.
To avoid being cheated it’s best to deal with a respectable jewelry firm, preferably one that is a member of the Jewel Fest Club. The Tourism Authority of Thailand founded this reputable organization, and member stores are listed in a booklet and display the Jewel Fest Club logo.
In India you can find many items made from the amazing textiles created in the country. Clothing, tablecloths, towels and other household goods are good buys here.
Jewelry is also a good buy in India, but again, beware of fakes and frauds.