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“Be Prepared to Haggle” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Beijing Gaobeidian International Folk Tourism Culture Village

Beijing Gaobeidian International Folk Tourism Culture Village
No.551 Gaobeidian Village, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100024, China
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Ranked #531 of 1,238 attractions in Beijing
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50 reviews 50 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Be Prepared to Haggle”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

This area is really just a lot of trinkets with a few good things in the mix. If you are a foreigner be prepared to haggle and even then be prepared to pay more than a native will.
There are some beautiful things among the junk, but you have to look hard and be prepared to haggle.
We found the Muslim Market in Tian much more interesting and ethnic.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4 reviews from our community

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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
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English first
Edison, New Jersey
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Not for tourists”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

This is NOT a place for the average tourist or the first time visitor to Beijing. It's for those who want to get more immersed or familiar with the cultural life of the country and the preservation of its cultural heritage. While much of the furniture seen on the furniture street would not be found in my home, even if given to me for free, I certainly appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that went into the making of that furniture. Loved wandering down the narrow lanes and experiencing local life and fare.

Traffic and the drivers can be bad by USA standards, but its how the locals drive in their country, so its just something that must be dealt with, just like dealing with the local currency or weather. After all, we are visiting their country.

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
“Nothing for tourists.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2011

With due respect to Gaobeidian Village, our morning visit turned out to be a complete waste of time. We visited the village in early July 2011.

The village is easily accessible on the Beijing 1 subway line. It is only a short walk from the Gaobeidian station. There are no signs for the village in the subway, but a big city park flanks one side of the station and the village is on the other. If you end up entering a big city park, simply walk back to subway station and walk under the tracks. When you re-emerge, you will enter a transit pick-up area, and you will need to walk past the car dealerships, head to the next major intersection, which is the outer boundary of the old village. Not suprizingly, Gaobeidian Village has been swallowed up by greater Beijing, but the area is still relatively low density and parts still have the real feel of a village.

I wholly believe the powers that be in Beijing want to turn this into a major tourist hotspot, but so far it is a big bust. The village area has a big tourist information building, where we met a guide who was ecstatic to see us. I think she was so chatty (in Mandarin) because we were the only people foolish enough to visit the village that day. She was very happy to give us a complementary, full-colour, 75+ page tourist book of the area, which turned out to be the best score of the day.

At the time we visited, a large portion of the area was a construction zone. Clearly, much of the old village has been razed to build this new magnet of tourism, A very large number of brand new, grey, two-storey “pseudo Hutongs” have been built in the area, presumably to house hundreds of tourist shops and local businesses. I think I counted six functioning businesses in the whole lot of them.

In many ways, the area still functions as a village for locals. Apart from the commercial area and the vast amount of new construction, there are still quite a number of traditional hutong alleys in the area. But unlike the hutongs within the Beijing’s Second Ring Road, which are populated by the city’s middle class, the people in Gaobeidian clearly look like relatively poor and displaced farmers, who have presumably taken up work in other places.

We decided to take a self-guided morning tour of Gaobeidian because we read descriptions that stated, “The village provides a destination for tours, sightseeing, food, lodging, shopping, as well as performance and entertainment.” Having been to Beijing a number of times, it looked like a promising place to putter around and see something new, and it was easy to get to. However, we were disappointed.

We walked the around area for two hours and saw nothing of any note. The famed Beijing-Tianjin dock has a small building under construction, but otherwise the dock has nothing else. The scenery is dreary and the water is polluted. There are large, new “old-style” buildings about 500 metres adjacent to the dock, but we were not able to discern their function and all appeared to be closed. There is supposed to be a big cultural centre and garden in the village, but we couldn’t find it. I am not sure if these things actually exist or if they are located in the construction zone or the old style buildings near the dock. Perhaps we are bumbling idiots (absolutely possible), but we are generally good at getting around Chinese cities and villages, so at the very least, Gaobeidian is very confusing to navigate in its current state of construction.

The village is perhaps most famous for its Chinese furniture street, which does indeed exist. There are dozens of large stores selling antique furniture, replica antique furniture and modern furniture and accessories. My wife and I were expecting some kind of bustling market and throngs of people (you know, like everywhere in Beijing), but the stores are all located in modern buildings and the street was completely dead. I think we were the only customers on the whole street. Apparently the shops are busy on weekends and given the very large number of sellers, I can only imagine it is, or the sellers need another line of work.

The first store we went into was the internet famous Lily’s Antiques, and I do admit the place was stunning. There were some beautiful and unique items of all descriptions in the store, but the place isn’t fit for browsing or even casual shoppers. From the second we entered the store, we were followed by an intense clerk who held a clipboard two feet from my head. When we asked if he could back off, we were told in a very blunt way that wouldn’t happen. Even though we intended fully to buy something, we promptly left. The place is built around a very hard sell and a level of intensity that my wife and I not used to. I think a place like Lily’s and probably the street in general is perfect for professional interior designers or people looking to decorate a brand new flat from scratch. Some of the product is stunning. I don’t think I have ever been in a more astonishing retail store, but I don’t think it is a place for tourists or people wanting a richer view of life in Beijing.

Overall, we were completely disappointed in Gaobeidian. I don’t think we have been to a place where the internet descriptions were so incredibly removed from the reality of the location. This place might get hopping one day, but it is going to take a lot of time.

Visited July 2011
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