Dec 12, 2019

Best Markets from Asia to America

One of the best ways to experience a new country is to visit the local market. Walk along the narrow alleys and be presented with an abundance of produce, crafts, and delicious food and drinks for you to sample. You’ll have the chance to see the frenetic activity of the market, where locals interact with each other and there’s always something fun going. It’s also an opportunity to hone your haggling skills and learn to find the best price for things you want. If you’re a fan of markets, here’s a list of the best ones, all the way from Asia to America.

  • No trip to Istanbul is complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar. In fact, it’s one of the most visited attractions around the globe, attracting over 91 million people every year.

    The market has been around for nearly 500 years. Some even say it’s the first shopping mall in the world.

    With over 4,000 shops spread through 61 covered streets, you can rest assured that you won’t be able to see everything in one day. The market is famous for its carpets, gold bracelets, jewelry, and leather goods.

  • Slap bang in the middle of La Rambla — Barcelona’s famous street peppered with artists and pickpockets — La Boqueria is an unmissable attraction. First accounts of the market date back to 1217 when it was just a few stalls selling meat. Since then, it has developed into much more.

    Travelers should refrain from eating before visiting La Boqueria as the variety of food available is staggering and much too tempting. Bar Pinotxo is regarded as the best place for tapas. At El Quim, you’ll find the local specialty huevos con chipirones (baby squids with fried eggs).

  • What started as a burial site for caliphs in 970 AD, Khan Al-Khalili Market eventually became a massive caravanserai. A caravanserai was a type of inn where travelers and foreign merchants could stay and store their goods.

    Nowadays, the majority of merchants are Egyptians offering products ranging from perfumes, glassware, silverware, antiques, and the ever-present beautifully-woven carpets. Travelers should also make time to visit one of the many traditional coffee shops serving delicious Arabic coffee such as El Fishawi.

  • While many travelers like to walk along Oxford Circus and explore the famous brand stores, it’s up north, in Camden Town, where they’ll see the real markets. With a myriad of stalls and shops catering for all tastes, one can spend an entire day walking and still not see everything.

    Camden Market is popular for its alternative vibe. As such, visitors will likely see people of different walks of life coexisting together, such as 80s punks and Rastafarians. While it’s the ideal place to find vintage clothing and goods, you can spend an amazing night out with venues offering jazz, rock, and salsa events.

  • Djemaa el-Fna is arguably one of the main attractions of Marrakech. It’s the central square that most visitors use as a base to explore the souks, a network of interconnected alleyways with hundreds of shops selling everything one could hope for.

    Expect to see Barbary monkeys and snake charmers during the day and Berber storytellers and magicians as evening approaches. Many sellers will invite you for a traditional Moroccan tea (green tea with mint leaves) and talk about their wares with enthusiasm. Just be prepared to haggle hard for the best prices.

  • spanning a history of over three centuries, Chandni Chowk Market is one of the oldest markets of New Delhi. The name means “moonlight square” as it was originally divided by canals that reflected the moonlight.

    With over 2,500 vendors, Chandni Chowk is the type of place where you can find everything. This includes:

    • Electronic goods;
    • Gold and silver jewelry;
    • Books;
    • Textiles, and;
    • An array of Indian food.

  • Taking place every Sunday in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, the Feira Hippie (Hippie Fair) is the perfect place to delve into Brazilian crafts, clothing, and arts. While it may not be the cheapest market in Rio, its location and variety make it worth the visit.

    You can also sample incredible food at Feira Hippie. Make sure you try an acarajé (spicy Black-eyed peas deep-fried in palm oil) and a bolo de aipim (cassava cake).

    If the day is too hot for you, don’t worry, the beach is just a five-minute walk away.

  • Covering an area of 27 acres, Chatuchak Market could easily be considered a small city inside Bangkok. In fact, it’s the largest market in Thailand. It houses over 15,000 stalls and receives between 200,000 and 300,000 visitors every day.

    Like other humongous markets, travelers can find all kinds of goods such as antiques, clothing, ceramics, and plenty of food and drinks. Unfortunately, the market is also known as a center for illegal wildlife trading.

  • Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the most famous attractions in Tokyo. However, visitors need to wake up early to truly enjoy it. The popular tuna auctions start at 4:30 a.m. and finish by 9:00 a.m.

    It’s the biggest fish market in the world moving around 3,000 tonnes of fish daily and 400 different types of seafood. Considering it’s possible to find the freshest and tastiest fish in Tokyo, the place is a goldmine for sushi aficionados.

  • While the street markets in Copacabana and La Paz are wildly popular with tourists, it’s in the little town of Tarabuco, just outside of Sucre, where you can find the true Bolivian culture. In all fairness, you’re probably going to be one of the few foreigners at the market.

    The highlight of Tarabuco is the abundance of colorful and intricate textiles made from alpaca wool. In addition to the textiles, one can find coca leaves, shoes, paintings, and crafts.

    If you start getting hungry, just hit the nearby Mercado Central for generous portions of authentic Andean cuisine.

  • Held every Thursday and Sunday, Chichicastenango Market is the ideal place to delve into the Mayan culture. Visitors will see the majority of locals wearing traditional attire.

    The market area is like a maze of stalls selling everything from wood carvings, flowers, and pottery, to chickens, fresh produce, and pigs. If you’re looking for something traditional, find the masks used by the dancers during the Dance of the Conquest festival.

  • Founded in Seattle in 1907, Pike Place is one of the oldest farmers markets in the U.S. It receives around 10 million people every year. Plus, it’s the 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the world.

    Despite the massive number of tourists, it’s where most locals do their shopping. The influx of locals gives the market a true community feel. Visitors will find antiques, comic books, flowers, and artisanal food, along with several street entertainers playing live music and lifting everyone’s spirits.

  • With over 500 stalls, Shilin is the largest and most popular night market in Taiwan. It’s been around since 1909 but was demolished in 2002 by the government due to sanitation, fire, and safety hazards. Vendors were temporarily relocated. Fortunately, the market reopened in 2011.

    While there are plenty of goods to purchase, the main attraction is the massive food court, where each vendor sells their own food specialty. Popular food options include bubble tea, fried buns, oyster vermicelli, and the famous stinky tofu.

  • Located in the westernmost part of China, Kashgar is an oasis city near the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Considering the city was an important trading post on the Silk Road, it’s still a thriving market spot 2,000 years later.

    Kashgar Bazaar is the largest market in Central Asia. Although the market is open every day, it’s on Sundays that it really comes alive. On Sundays, roughly 200,000 people come to trade.

    Visitors will find livestock, bicycles, traditional Uyghur knives, dried fruits, and plenty of textiles.

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