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Eyeglass Paradise in Beijing

Travelers to China think of Beijing as a shopper's paradise, purchasing clothing, electronics and all kinds of souvenirs from large markets. Unknown to most visitors, Beijing also has a unique specialty market that often gets missed -- The Eyeglass Market. The China Guide, an American owned travel company, describes Beijing's Eyeglass Market as four floors of overflowing frames and sunglasses having everything from classic shapes to wild designs. It's an added bonus that lenses are ready in 30 minutes.

Frames and lenses can be very expensive purchases, meaning that most wearers only have one or two pairs. Beijing's Eyeglass Market provides a cheap solution for shoppers with prices for basic frames starting very low, around $15. The price is based on quality and there are plenty of opportunities for bargaining. Peter Danford, Managing Operator of The China Guide, says, "Prices are a fraction of what they would be in the west, from $20 to $200 depending on design, quality and style. I have been coming to this market for years. It's amazing how much money you can save. If you wear eyeglasses, this place is a goldmine. With over 100 shops under one roof, it's easy to compare and bargain. Having a guide to help you translate is a must."

Lenses are also available in varying quality based on price, with the basic ones being very cheap. The Eyeglass Market will make up lenses in 30 minutes and does on-the-spot prescription exams free of charge. The exam equipment is modern and there are plenty of technicians so shoppers don't have to wait. Technicians can also get prescriptions from shopper's eyeglasses, for those who want to avoid an eye exam. Additionally, the Eyeglass Market can make up prescription sunglasses (even polarized lenses) with plenty of frames and styles to choose from. Different types of bifocals and gradient lenses are available too. All purchases come with a glasses case and cloth for cleaning.

The China Guide is offering shopping tours in Beijing for travelers who want to pick up special items and visit the less-touristy local markets, such as the Eyeglass Market. They will provide a private English speaking guide to help with shopping and bargaining as well as transportation. Trips to shopping markets can be combined with Beijing's historical sights and a stop for lunch at a recommended local restaurant. The China Guide's tours are flexible and customizable.
 

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