Many foreigners often don’t consider visiting old markets in Dongguan for three main reasons: they don’t know which markets to shop at, b) they tend to visit relatively new and modern markets such as malls and supermarkets, and who cares?
If you make a habit of something—such as shopping at your local mall—and decide it works well, then there isn’t much of a reason to change. On the other hand, individuals are missing out on the traditional value and the adventure behind discovering the old markets in Dongguan, which may be even better than your localmodern-conglomerate-shopping destinations.
While physically going to these old markets might seem like more of an impediment than a benefit, the good news is that a few friends and I have already visited multiple markets and picked out our favorites. We wanted to see if they were really worth your time and shopping energy. Even if these markets don’t seem appealing at first, the true charm to any market is digging to find something you truly like. Consider living in Dongguan as a great opportunity to check out a couple of its distinct and worthwhile old markets.
Location: 28 Xiangyang Road, Guancheng | 广东省东莞市
Nestled between a neat tea shop and a nondescript apartment block lies the narrow and winding path that is Lady Street near Guancheng District. At first glance, it is easily overlooked, but ask anyone in the vicinity about Lady Street and they’ll point you to this alley. The market itself is about 60 years old and is composed of several small shops that line both sides of the alley. What separates Lady Street from other markets is the fact that all the items within Lady Street are clothing items specifically designed for women. You can find items ranging from attractive outfits, such as flowered dresses, to trendy items, such as the many bucket hats hanging off their stands.
While the quality of pieces varies from shop to shop, you will generally find average to good quality clothing for a very inexpensive price. Nearly all of the clothing is under 100 RMB with most items being around 20 RMB to 60 RMB.
A friendly shop owner, Wang Xiaofeng, mentioned that most of the market’s customers were young women, but clothing for women of all ages can be found. Lady Street is definitely worth a visit if you would like to do some cheap fashion hunting to freshen up your closet.
HE SHENG STATIONARY MARKET
Location: 120 Guangtai Road, Guancheng | 广东省东莞市莞太大道120号
He Sheng Stationary Market is as good as it gets for stationary lovers living in Dongguan. The 10-year-old market is divided into sections designated by giant red letters: A, B, C, and D. Each section consists of many shops, each specializing in stationary products. Any stationary item you are in need of, the He Sheng Stationary Market has it.
While the overall appearance of the market is roughly refined, I encountered a pleasant surprise hidden within: the Hong Yi Stationary store. Hong Yi Stationary has items from several notable brands including Faber-Castell and Sharpie. While you would expect these goods to be overpriced–they weren’t! Each sharpie costs only 7 RMB and were of expected quality. Besides stationary items, you can also find toys, sports equipment and skateboards dispersed among the shops.
When asked about his thoughts on the market, shop owner Yang Xiaorong said, “It’s not the best looking or newest, but we get lots of customers. We also sell a mix of products from other brands and items of our own creation.”
Check out the He Sheng Stationary Market next time you need to do some stationary shopping.
QIANYUFA SMALL COMMODITY TRADE CITY & WHOLESALE MARKET
Location: 50 meters east of the intersection of Wanjiang Road and Hehedi North Road | 广东省东莞市莞太大道120号
The Qianyufa Wholesale Market is actually a large four-floor mall surrounded by restaurants and tea shops.
The mall, built in 2011, sells a vast number of items with some sections dedicated to selling a specific product. For example, the very front of the mall has a few stores that sell car seats; the second floor of the mall is mainly dedicated to baby items. There are stairs that lead to stores that sell hotel products at the back of the mall. Nevertheless, there are still many regular stores located throughout the mall that sell more typical products, such as kitchenware, wigs, jewelry, antique clocks, decorations, and more.
While the mall’s seemingly bizarre array of products seems disorganized, the mall’s structure and cleanliness are quite the opposite. An employee at a baby clothing store revealed that the sales are quite good, and the quality of the items vary but are generally good quality. Qianyufa Wholesale is a peculiar mall where there isn’t much to complain about nor much to applaud for.
NEW GUANGMING NIGHT MARKET
Location: 27 Residential District Sanbo Bridge, Guancheng | 新光明市场
The first thoughts that popped into my head after hearing “night market” was delicious foods, mouth—watering aromas, a street lined with stalls and hanging lights. Luckily, New Guangming Night Market hit the mark on two-thirds of my expectations.
The night market used to be located on a well-lit street, but, unfortunately, was relocated to the second floor of the building adjacent to said street about four years ago. The first floor is a typical Chinese wet market, but the second floor is where the magic happens. Chinese dishes and snacks of nearly every variety are dispersed throughout the large area and designated to their specialty stalls, including sushi restaurants and barbecues.
Local students and families are the main clientele—the market sees an influx of these customers during the summertime. On the other hand, the night market’s signature pièce de résistance is not a dish at all, but the Bao Wang ice lemon tea. Costing only 9.90 RMB for a huge drink, this delicious ice lemon tea is refreshing for a summer day. New Guangming Night Market is a must-visit location in Dongguan to indulge in appetizing Chinese cuisine and drinks.
HUANG HE FASHION CITY
Location: Yongan Road, Humen Town | 中國广东省东莞市虎门镇永安路
Unfortunately, one of the best markets is the furthest away from Dongguan City: the Huang He Fashion City. This massive fashion area is spread across four out of nine floors within the mall.
The first floor contains cheap but good quality clothing that can easily be found in many of the tightly packed small stores. The second floor is even more densely packed; in my opinion, it contains better stores. I was even able to bargain a nice denim jacket down from 180 RMB to 100 RMB.
The only negative comment I have about the first two floors is the lack of changing rooms. Because the clothes are quite cheap and the spaces are small, some stores simply don’t have changing rooms. The third floor shifts the focus from clothing to accessories, which mainly consists of leather shoes and bags. I found several replicas of popular shoes including poor-quality Air Jordans.
The fourth floor is the most expensive floor. The fancy and well-decorated stores sell a variety of extravagant dresses and polished suits. This mall is the perfect place to expand your wardrobe for a good price. Depending on the floor you go to, it is definitely worth a visit.
WHOLESALE FRUIT MARKET
Location: Next to the Xiaqiao metro station | 水果批发市场[公交站]
The Wholesale Fruit Market is the largest fruit market I have ever been to—and the worst.
Its appearance is typical of a Chinese fruit market with disorganized vendors. It is an outdoor market separating shops on either side of the road. Large boxes and crates of fruit are presented to any passerby. A notable aspect about this market is that it divides different fruits by sections.
However, it was confusing to navigate through the market as the different sections are disproportionately sized, such as the mango area encompassing a third of the market and the other fruit areas much less. The general quality of the fruit appeared to be standard and the prices are inexpensive.
I believe that continuing to shop at your local Spar or Carrefour is a much better option compared to going to the Wholesale Fruit Market for fruit.