Well, when it comes to men, buying something awesome for them tends to be trickier than when buying gifts for women. One has to really know the interests of the guy, and think about what would impress that special man in your life (dad, son, husband, boyfriend, brother, best friend).
When you're in China, you luckily have quite a few options to choose from, each unique in its own way, and guaranteed to awe him! We have listed out the top things we think make great gifts for men. We hope this helps you focus and narrow down your search for that special something from China.
Chinese Board Games
China is known for its board games, some of which are hugely popular. Mahjong is one of the top, most classic board games that comes to mind, and gifting a Mahjong set is a great idea. Some of the other board games that are famous are Chinese Checkers and Chinese Chess. It's easy to find board games across Chinese cities. Explore the wholesale markets, electronic markets, toy shops, tourist hot spots and you're sure to find one of these. It makes a great show-and-tell for your guy.
For more on the rules of Mahjong, read this.
Who wouldn't enjoy a classic Chinese puzzle? In most touristy places across China, you would find puzzle sets which are intriguing and engrossing for those who like a challenge.
You'd typically find two kinds of puzzle sets, one is wooden, and comes in various shapes and sizes of wood blocks, which are to be shaped and arranged in various combinations to achieve results (one variation is known as the Chinese Cross). Easy to spot if you are familiar with burr puzzles (of Chinese origin). The other type is made of metal rings, and is supposed to be linked and then un-linked which is a cool trick!
These make a perfect gift for your guy who is into puzzles and games, and has the patience to match these Chinese puzzles.
This makes for a really great gift for men. Chinese calligraphy has a rich history in oriental art. For men who are artistically inclined and love to learn about different arts and cultures, one of these sets would be perfect.
You can buy these, which come in all shapes and sizes, in tourist hot spots (fake markets in Shanghai and Beijing), places like Sanlitun in Beijing, Tianzifang and Yu Garden in Shanghai and other similar venues. These contain seals and stamps in various shapes and forms, paint brushes, carving tools, along with the ink in colors like red, black, blue, and more, depending on how complex the set is plus the pricing.
Silk Pajamas or Robes
Silk is not restricted to the ladies. In shops where you'd see silk fabric being sold (silk dresses, scarves, etc), you are sure to find some really amazing silk robes, Chinese-styled pajama sets, traditional prints on shirts and neckties for guys. These are great quality and look kitschy, and make for unique Chinese presents.
In Shanghai, you would find silk clothing for men in the Fabric Market as well as in touristy places like Tianzifang and Yu Garden, and in Beijing you should check out The Silk Museum.
There are lots of categories and types when one thinks of Chinese art. But the most popular ones to gift your man would be Chinese scrolls, paintings depicting important figures and iconic images in Chinese culture and history, popular themes like "the Four Beauties", scenery like Guilin's hills, and much much more.
Chinese art, which is said to be to have the oldest tradition in the world, is very visual. One of the more popular types is called shui-mo ('water-ink'), which is basically water color based paintings. You can expect to buy these in wholesale markets, fake markets and touristy hot spots across Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities.
Also, definitely check out art exhibits of Chinese contemporary artists. This type of artwork is widely available and is of a quirky, modern, fresh, unique style. One place to find such art would be Qibao water town and M50 Art District in Shanghai, Sanlitun in Beijing and other similar hot spots.
Chinese Baijiu ('White Liquor')
This will make a great addition to your home bar back home. And the perfect gift for the guy who likes a strong drink and is interested in something Chinese. Definitely a unique conversation starter with your guests. Chinese Baijiu or Shaojiu is a strong white liquor, with 50% or more alcohol content, distilled popularly from rice, but also from wheat and barley, depending on the region it hails from.
Some of the best brands that you should look for when purchasing, are Moutai, Er Guo Tuo and Wuliangye. While this drink is very popular and is used to celebrate important occasions among the Chinese, you should be prepared for the acrid taste and the burning sensation you feel with a tiny sip. This clearly needs an acquired taste!
Get Creative and Tailor Your Trip with China Highlights
We hope this article helped you decide what would make the best gift to purchase. If traveling with us you'd always have our guide to help you with more ideas, and to take you to the right spots for authentic products. Our guide can also help ensure that you don't overpay.
- First-time-to-China top choice: 11-day CLASSIC WONDERS tour (Beijing–Xi'an–Guilin–Shanghai)
If you want a shopping-oriented trip, then our tailor-made trip tool is the best and most convenient way to go. If you want shopping included in a tour you have your eye on, let our sales team know when booking.