This large shopping street in central Beijing is steeped in history. The name literally means sweet wells for princes mansions. During the Qing dynasty the emperor built 10 mansions for his princes in this area, convenient to the Forbidden palace. This Wang Fujing shopping area has been around for more than 700 years.
After building the homes the wells were discovered to have very sweet water. Thus the origin of the name has been used ever since. Locals call it Wan Fujing Dajie nowadays.
Wang Fujing has always been the most famous and successful commercial center of the city. It is a shopping venue for foreigners and locals, as there is something for everyone in the various shops. And also just a fun place to wander around and have a snack to eat.
This area consists of two Western style shopping malls, plus various food centres. It is located near the center of the city, near Tiananmen square, and just one stop from the Tiananmen subway stop.
The long street and surrounding area boast 280 name brand shops and much more to explore, travel and experience. There are some 200,000 people who visit daily, and during the Chinese New Year rush up to 1,200,000 frantic shoppers are looking for gifts.
In the 1990s the area was renovated extensively, with totally new infrastructure, and made into a pedestrian mall. It closes at 9pm, but there are still is a night food market to the North of the street.
This area is known as Donghua An, and it will not cost very much. The expense is minimal but the experience can not be described. There are the traditional street foods such a lamb kabobs and sweet candied apples (Tang Hu Lu) on a stick. For more adventure try the black crispy fried scorpions on top of some noodles.
The Oriental Plaza is the ultimate in a mall. It is only two stories but it covers some 20 square blocks of shops, and takes 15 minutes to walk the entire length. Anything from the 100 lane bowling alley, automobile showrooms, movie theatres, and of course a variety of restaurants can be found here. Food choices are from traditional Beijing duck, noodles, and of course all the common fast food chains.
Prices are not totally fixed, but do not expect to find cheap prices like at the silk market. But one can count on getting a discount of about 25% if one haggles well, and walks away a few times. Wang Fujing shopping is not just just a bunch of shops, but a total experience.