Monday, Oct. 13, 2008

7. Panjiayuan Flea Market

If you'll be in Beijing over the weekend, get up early and make a trip to Panjiayuan, a giant flea market where every imaginable curio, artifact and fake Tang dynasty knock-off is on sale. It used to be called the "dirt market" because peasants would cart in objects they supposedly unearthed themselves, squat in the market's open field and hawk their wares. There are no peasants now, and the market grounds are no longer just an open field, but there are still plenty of merchants selling everything from antiques to paintings. Many of the stalls are open through the week, but the flea market is best early on Saturday or Sunday. You'll find the market southwest of the Panjiayuan Bridge, on the southern part of Third East Ring Road. It's slightly off the beaten path — though only a 15-minute taxi ride from the middle of town — and well worth the trip.