A Tea Addict's Journal

Maliandao geography

October 19, 2006 · 6 Comments

Warning: lots of pictures today and a long entry! I seperated my entry into two. The first one is just on where things are located on Maliandao, while the second concerns my shopping today.

I figured that since I talk about Maliandao a lot, and since it’s so big, I should provide you all with some sense of the place as a whole, rather than bits and pieces.

So, with that in mind — I will guide you all down the street. With a VERY crude map that I drew of Maliandao. You can all follow along.

This is the map in question — you enter Maliandao from the north (i.e. the top of the map). Remember, this is not to scale, and does not include anything that is not tea related!

As you enter, you’ll see a shabby gate. I usually ask the cabbie to drop me off at the entrance of Maliandao instead of turning in, because the left turn there can take 10 minutes before you actually get to go as very few cars make it through every light change. It’s faster to walk, and today’s weather was pretty nice for walking.

Then, all along the street as you walk down, you will see LOTS of tea stores lined up on both sides, although there are more on the right hand side than on the left. Like this:

They are all generic stores — selling everything from white tea to black tea, with teaware thrown in. Very few have quality goods, and prices tend to be high.

Then, you will hit an intersection

If you turn left, you will see the Beijing Puer Chadu (black on the map)

If you keep walking, however, you will see the Maliandao Tea City on your right (green), in front of the Carrefour

Across the street of this is, oddly enough, a Nike Factory Outlet

This is where I think most people stop. That’s what I did the first few times I came to Maliandao. It looks like there’s nothing more down the street, and Maliandao Tea City offers plenty of stuff for the regular joe. HOWEVER, there’s way more.

If you keep walking a little bit, another 50-100m, you will see this on your left

The Qingxi Tea Market (grey on the map), next to it is the Jingma Tea Market (yellow)

The Beijing Tea Corporation Market (cyan)

And the Jingdinglong Tea Market (Magenta)

I’ve been to all of them, and for the most part, there aren’t much in there that’s impressive. The Qingxi and the Jingma are both open air markets and seem to trade in lower quality stuff, and mostly tieguanyin and green tea and the like. The Beijing Tea Corporation market, aside from a few teapot stores, is mostly crap as well. Jingdinglong is about the same

Across the street from about the Beijing Tea Corporation Market is the Jingmin Tea City (blue)

Where I got the Wuyi tea.

Then, when you are across the street from Jingdinglong, it will look like there’s nothing more down the street

With lots of construction going on

And bricked up storefronts that are about to be demolished while new apartments are going up (tea addicts’ heaven!)

The teashops along the street also stop right around where Jingdinglong is. If my cabbie didn’t go through the south, it might have taken me a lot longer to figure out that there’s something more at the end of the street — Chayuan Tea City

If you look to the right of the gate, you see this neon sign that has “24” on it. Yes, Chayuan is OPEN FOR 24 HOURS!


It’s a very interesting arrangment — the stores at Chayuan all have a staircase that lead to the second floor. I have always thought that the second floor was storage space, with maybe a bed or something for the storekeepers to rest.

Apparently not.

They all STAY THERE! This is their home, at least for the low level storekeepers who have to be there all day. Sometimes the owners of the stores are the ones who sleep there, sometimes just the lowly clerks. Either way, most stores have somebody who stays there full time, thus the claim to open for 24 hours. Many of them run their business until 11 or 12, and if there’s no more customer, they close up shop. If you want, however, you can stay till 2 or 3am, with tea to fuel your late night shopping trip, and they will stay up with you.

So that’s that for the geography of Maliandao. If you want to shop there next time, you’ll know where you’re going. Of course, this will probably get outdated in a year or two, since construction is nonstop on the street and new buildings keep propping up. I have a feeling that those open air markets across the street from Jingmin will eventually make way for air conditioned tea malls more like Maliandao Tea City or Jingmin, or just lots of apartment buildings.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • Phyllo // October 19, 2006 at 2:11 pm | Reply

    Oh geez…that’s tough on the girl!  I hope you’ll get it from her directly.  That makes the tea even more interesting and valuable.  It’s now something rare…most likely not something that you can find anywhere anymore and it’s THAT good, too!

  • MarshalN // October 19, 2006 at 2:28 pm | Reply

    I KNOW the tea is not sold anywhere in Beijing, and it really is quite good

    It’s no longer 100% guaranteed I’ll get the tea …. 🙁

  • Phyllo // October 19, 2006 at 2:41 pm | Reply

    If it’s because the store owner found out about this side dealing, work it out with the boss.  Give the boss % of finder’s fee or something.  The cake is there, I’m sure, and it’s just a matter of money, I think.  Sorry to hear this.  If you really like it that much, I guess it’s worth the trouble and expense.  And tell them this, there in another interested buyer if more is available…which means more commission to the boss.  Sorry to hear about this.

  • MarshalN // October 19, 2006 at 3:36 pm | Reply

    Well, yes and no, I think she’s against it in principle, and besides, I’m not really interested in dealing with her at this point given the lies she told and the nasty tactic.

    I’m planning on going to Yiwu next spring. I’ll buy it from the source, if anything.

  • Frenzied development | A Tea Addict's Journal // July 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Reply

    […] quite remarkable, and every time I go back and visit I can see it on the ground.  Maliandao, which I discussed five years ago when I first got there and updated last year, is no longer the backwater shopping street it used to […]

  • Maliandao, ten years later | A Tea Addict's Journal // April 25, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Reply

    […] and Sundays (well, they still do, mostly). I wrote my first physical description of the street here, with an update four years later here – and photos here. You can see how the street changed […]

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