Nine on a Monday morning at Panjiayuan Market sets a beautiful scene. There is none of the hectic touting and shouting which usually dominates weekend trips to this famous Beijing antique market. The stall owners are just setting up and sharing breakfast snacks with their merchant friends. Families are getting ready for a day of business and local shop owners are seeking unique items and quality jade to fill their more expensive Beijing boutiques. There are no tourists and only half of the 4,000 stalls are open during the week. I walk, almost unnoticed, among the bustle—mostly ignored by sales people who have better things to do.
Panjiayuan Antique Market 潘家园 (Sometimes called The Dirt Market) is located just west of Panjiayuan Bridge on east 3rd Ring road. It is open all week until about 18:30, but it has more stalls and is much busier on weekends.