Yunnan Shopping

What to Buy in Yunnan

Yunnan has abundant shopping options. Though it is easiest to shop at the large department stores - the quality is usually good, they have fixed prices, and they will replace any defective items - shopping in markets can be cheaper, but requires bargaining skills. Few vendors speak any English.

Thriving cottage industries exist in some ethnic communities, offering many attractive handcrafted items. There are also government tourist centres selling a variety of handicrafts and many silk shops will make clothes to order.

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Yunnan has been making chess sets for over five hundred-year and craft some elegant and startling pieces.

Chinese Medicines

Rich in medicinal plants and herbs, thanks to its varied climate and topography, a wide variety of locally manufactured traditional medicines are available. These include White Powder - a well-known Chinese patent medicine, apparently effective for invigorating the blood is circulation and treating inflammation.


One of the highest forms of traditional Chinese handicrafts, this enamelware uses thin metal strips to separate colours and designs.

Jewellery, chopsticks, boxes, and other decorative items are among the many attractive items available.

Dai Brocade

Bags, skirts and other decorative items are beautifully spun and woven by the Dai people.

Dali Marble Products

Many unusual and decorative items are carved from the abundant and beautiful marble found at Dali.


This extraordinary skill, dating back thousands of years, requires the artist to use micro-thin filaments to conceal the ends and joints, so that the picture on both sides of these exquisite double-faced pieces appears flawless.

There are countless different designs and qualities, and the most precious and expensive pieces feature different colours on each side.

Jewels and Jades

Chinese master jade carvers are recognised as the finest in the world and Kunming, Ruili, Yingjiang and Manshi are well-established centres for precious stones and jades from Myanmar.


Carved or inlaid with mother-of-pearl, these decorative and durable pieces are equally appealing.


Shops are willing to make a necklace with a wide selection of individual strands.


Yunnan tea is one of the world's finest, its industry dating back 1,700 years.

Green tea, jade green tea, mixed tea, Xuanchun tea, Hongbao and Yinzhen tea are all available, as are the scented varieties, including smoked, white orchid, and the popular jasmine tea.

Teak Carving

Yunnan's famous and gifted wood carvers create a wide range teakwood items, including many in the form of animals and birds.

Yunnan Bronze

There are many beautifully crafted bronze items cast using special techniques dating back hundreds of years. This technical skill has won Yunnan's craftsmen international recognition.

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