20 Items You Can Buy Dirt Cheap In China


Oh, China. An amazing country filled with ancient history, beautiful buildings, and world famous sites. Oh…and lots of shopping!  Here’s what you can buy for cheap, cheap, cheap.

Want to get as much shopping in as possible? Come volunteer in China with ILP! You can see what living in China for a semester is like, right here. 

We have outlined a lot of really awesome ways to buy things cheap in China (like  bartering in China and places to buy things super cheap — like the Pearl Market)…but here is our list of the top items you can buy dirt cheap in China!

1. Shoes

You can get some shoes of all different styles and brands for $12-13 (or a bit more, depending on your bartering skills) — think Converse, Vans, and Hunter boots! I came home with 2 pairs of Converse for $16. 

20 Items You Can Buy Dirt Cheap In China

2. Purses

Compare getting hundred dollar leather purses for about $16-20. (I may have come home with about 12 purses my first ILP trip to China …whoops). Of course the cheaper the purse, the cheaper the quality, so shop around at different vendors depending on what you’re looking for.

3. Scarves

You don’t know how awesome scarves are until you can buy them for less than $2. Those are for lots of different scarves, but even some more expensive ones are a lot less money than they would be in America.

4. Silk

Either silk scarves, shirts, bags, table clothes, napkins, decorations, etc. Silk is a big deal in China and there are a lot of places you can go where the silk is made and buy it locally…oh, and it’s beautiful. 

5. Tailored clothing

 Guys, you can get a tailored suit so cheap in China…think $80 for pants, jacket, and a few tailored shirts.  In America that runs you at the very least $300. Girls, get your wedding dress made! Instead of spending thousands of dollars, think about $100-200.

20 Items You Can Buy Dirt Cheap In China

6. Souvenirs

You can get gifts for all your friends back home at killer prices. Jewelry, trinkets, fans, chopsticks and toys all for a few dollars. 

7. Jade

Jade is very popular in China. Learn the different ways to spot good jade vs. glass ‘jade’ and you can get gorgeous bracelets for super cheap.  About $60-80 for a nice jade bracelet and about $8 for jade pendants, and about $4-6 for jade earrings. 

8. T-shirts

Instead of $15-20 like at home, pay around $5! You can get great deals if you purchase several shirts from one vendor (so go shopping with your ILP group). 

20 Items You Can Buy Dirt Cheap In China

9. Suitcases

If you’re a really light packer, you can head over to China with one suitcase instead of two and buy your second BIG one there for about ¼ of the price. In China it is about $10-15.

10. Pearls

Get a long strand of pearls for about $6. Barter with your whole ILP group and get a better deal because you’re buying more than one. 

11. Watches

A word to the wise (and this goes for most items), just be sure that you’re getting a quality watch. If they pull out an unwrapped one for you, make sure it works. About $5-15.

12. Jeans

About $20 for nice jeans. Most are knock offs with the name brand sewn on them, but still nice!

13. Backpacks

Super cheap and awesome there. By cheap we mean about $8-10. 

14. Sunglasses

You’ll get to choose from hundreds of styles. There are some barter saavy volunteers who have bought them as cheap as $1 for a pair so buy more than one to get a good deal. 

20 Items You Can Buy Dirt Cheap In China

15. Decks of cards

Get the specialized ones with a lot of really cool themes! Movie themes, country themes, Chinese images, etc. You can get them for about .50 cents or $1.

16. Tea Sets

There are some absolutely gorgeous decorative and usable tea pots and cups. Just pack them with care for your flight home after your semester living abroad. 

20 Items You Can Buy Dirt Cheap In China

17. Electronics like headphones and speakers

Make sure they are very good quality because you’re taking a risk with electronics. Try it out, make sure it works while you’re still standing in front of the vendor. Think about $15-20 for headphones (similar to beats), and $5-10 for speakers.

18. Cases, decorations, screen covers, etc. for laptops, tablets, phones, and other electronic things

As cheap as $0.50 cents to $1.

19. Sports Jerseys

Instead of spending a ton of money on them at home, spend $20-25 in China. 

20. Make up and make up brushes

Think $5-10 for a whole set of makeup things and supplies. You can even get really cheap nail polish — (can be under $1 for a bottle).  

These are just a few of the MANY things you can get for much cheaper in China than in America. So…pack light when you head over so you have room to bring all the things back. 

20 Items You Can Buy Dirt Cheap In China

Interested in spending a semester living in China teaching English? International Language Programs is a non-profit organization and volunteer program who sends college-aged volunteers abroad to teach English in places like China … no experience necessary!

Plus, we keep costs low (with an affordable program fee) so you can spend money buying souvenirs, site seeing on the weekends and taking rad trips, like a vacation in southern China to trips to go see the Great Wall. Sounds pretty great, right?

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