Shopping as the locals do is one of the great adventures of traveling and is a fantastic opportunity to pick up some weird and wonderful bargains and gain a real insight into a city. Here are some of the world’s finest markets that are too good to miss.
1. Khan Al-Khalili, Egypt
Located in the heart of Cairo, this bustling and lively open-air bazaar is full of unique and exciting items, including spices and jewelry. It is particularly famous for it’s unusual, typically oriental souvenirs and handmade crafts. This traditional market has a medieval atmosphere and can be a labyrinth to navigate, but I have found it thoroughly enjoyable to get lost in. Remember prices aren’t fixed so don’t be afraid to haggle!
2. Chatuchak, Thailand
This is one of the world’s largest weekend markets, with between 9,000 and 15,000 stalls depending on the day. It has around 200,000 visitors per day, so can get very hot and overwhelming. But don’t let the crowds put you off; there are many fantastic bargains to be had here, and the atmosphere is simply electric. People rest your feet before carrying on in the commotion. I highly recommend the freshly squeezed lemonade; it’s delicious and very refreshing. This market sells pretty much everything you could imagine, furniture, food, clothes, etc. If you are looking for something, in particular, it may be worthwhile purchasing a map, otherwise enjoy exploring, what feels like, the never-ending stalls.
3. Camden, England
One of my favorite places in London, there’s a fantastic range of jewelry, trinkets, craft-type things, clothes, and quirky bits. This place has an incredible, lively atmosphere, full of young trendy types. There are some excellent vintage shops with big baskets of cheap scarfs that you can rummage through. People aren’t at all pushy and are happy to chat and offer advice if you have any queries. Particularly high in the summer, I highly recommend after browsing the stalls, grabbing a drink and relaxing by the canal.
4. Temple St, Hong Kong
This bustling night market is great fun with a vibrant atmosphere. Full of beautiful stalls and unusual smells from local cafes. There are many fortune tellers and tarot card readers, which can be a delightful experience. Market stalls are open seven days a week, from mid-afternoon till late. Many of the stalls will sell similar items so don’t be afraid to shop around and see who is offering the best price.
5. Albert Cuypmarkt, Amsterdam
A slightly smaller market with only 200 stalls but still plenty to see and do. There are clothes, jewelry, touristy bits, and food. You can stroll along nibbling as you go. The prices here are amongst the cheapest in Amsterdam; with plenty of stalls and boutiques full of quirky clothes and accessories, it is a fashionista’s dream.
Best of luck to all you shoppers! Don’t forget to haggle and let me know what you treasures you find.