One of the reasons why visitors from all over the world come to Yunnan is local markets. In fact, daily or weekly local markets in Yunnan are always bustling with people often dressed in their tradional colourful costumes and with many stalls selling fresh produce, textiles, fresh meat, traditional Chinese medicine, local delicacies, daily items, live animals, flowers and birds and much more.
When travelling in Yunnan, make sure to include some local markets in your itinerary (some only take place once a week). Although you might not buy anything (you surely will!), they're a great opportunity to experience the authentic local lifestyle; where markets are not only a place for business, but also for socializing.
Far from the large urban centres, most towns and villages in Yunnan have their own markets that are way more common than supermarkets. The variety of goods sold is incredible!
Here we listed five markets that we particularly love, including two wholesale markets in Kunming:
Lijiang Zhongyi Market
Once located in the main square of the old town of Lijiang, it now covers a much vast area and it takes palce daily. Here you can find produce, copper items, livestock and of course lots of food stalls selling freshly steamed buns and other local goodies.
Location: Lijiang Old Town, near Changshui St.
Kunming Tea Wholesale Market
Being Yunnan the motherland of famous Pu'er tea, many tourists visting Yunnan of course want to buy some tea as a souvenir. Needless to say you can find tea litterally everywhere in Yunnan and in China, but if you're a real tea enthusiast or just curious to see A LOT of tea in the same place, then you should pay a visit to the Kunming Tea Wholesale Market, an intire neighbourhood selling tea and related items at a wholesale price.
Location: Kunming, Jinshi St.
Shaxi Friday Market
With a history of hundreds of years, Shaxi market every Friday morning gathers people of Yi, Bai, Tibetan, Lisu, Naxi and Hui ethnic groups all beautifully dressed in their own traditional costumes. Located about half-way from Dali to Lijinag, we strongly recommend you take a detour to be there on Friday morning!
Location: new part of Shaxi Old Town.
Kunming Second Hand Clothing Market
Among the variety of shops and markets that Kunming has to offer, this second hand clothing market is the best place for incredibly cheap (not necessarily second-hand) clothes. Not the most pleasant place to shop, but overflowing with all sorts of clothes, shoes and accessories, so get ready to dig through piles of clothes and find amazing bargains.
Location: Kunming, Puji St.
Xiding Thursday Market
Located in Menghai County, Xishuangbanna, the small village of Xiding hosts a weekly market every Thursday, probably the best in the area. It's a great spot to see the local Dai, Hani, Bulang ethinc groups in their costumes. Not many tourists here, the only things on sale are local produce, household goods and cheap clothes.
Location: Xiding Market Square
So, it's time to hone your bargaining skills and go shopping!