A Global Tour of Some of the World’s Greatest Bazaars
Filled with colorful handicrafts, authentic souvenirs, local street food, local delicacies, perfumes, and carpets, and all manner of used and antique goods, a local market, also known as a the world’s greatest bazaars and in the Middle East, is the physical embodiment of a country’s culture.
Traveling is all about discovering the culture and traditions of different nations and the best way to gain some insight into a country’s culture is by meeting its locals and visiting a local market. As a traveler, one way to do that is to avoid hanging around popular landmarks and touristic attractions which are not that organic as they used to be before tourism and where you will mostly find other tourists. Do you want to be able to sense the most of the country’s culture? If yes, then don’t forget to visit a local bazaar when you travel to that city next time.
Nations and Bazaars
Some countries are only known for their special bazaars and people all around the world travel specifically for them. For example, the world-famous floating markets sell cheap flights to Bangkok in herds. Similarly, the markets with the 1001 Nights setting in Turkey and almost all of the Arab countries, Global Village in Dubai and open-air bazaars in Mexico, Spain, Japan etc. The good thing about these bazaars is that the prices are not fixed and you can negotiate and bargain and save your pennies, which is great for you if you are traveling on a budget.
A global tour: The world’s greatest bazaars
From the great Global Village to vendors that sell goods directly from boats or stalls on the sides of narrow cobblestoned streets, detailed down below are some of the most amazing markets around the globe that will surely bring you some serious shopping fever and haunting cultural experiences.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
With 4,000 stores, 65 streets and almost six centuries under its belt, the Grand Bazaar in the capital of Turkey is a world in itself. The sprawling bazaar is Europe’s most-visited attraction with around 15 million taking a trip to the glorious market every year. You will find all sorts of jewelry, Turkish ceramics, spices, lamps carpets and rugs, fabrics and leather, amazing Turkish delights (sweets) and so much more there. It is considered to be the first shopping mall in the world, dating back to 1461 when it was a small warehouse built, making it the original bazaar.
Khan Al-Khalili, Egypt
Set in a former mausoleum, Khan el-Khalili is one of the most well-known bazaars or souks in the capital of Egypt, Cairo. The bazaar has a name for its gold shops, but there is almost nothing you won’t find here. From glassware, brassware, jewelry and perfume, and hand-made items, the 900 shops are the place to go when you are in the city. The Khan dates back as far as 1382, making it one of the oldest markets in the world. Passing from the sprawling maze of vendors, you will go to the Street of the Tentmakers, which is basically Cairo’s last remaining medieval covered tent market.
The flashy and dazzling Arab city is known as the wealthy people’s shopping capital. It is home to tons of traditional Arabian markets called souks. The most well-known is the gold souk, where you can buy genuine and cheap gold, platinum, and diamonds. The marketplaces are a world in itself, with their unseen passages that will lead you to other great landmarks. No trip to Dubai is complete without a visit to its souks, whether it be a spice souk, where you can buy and try dry fruits, rice, herbs, and spices, a textile souk, a fish souk, a perfume souk, or the famous Dubai Mall Souk.
Izmailovsky Market, Moscow
Izmailovsky Market is like a Russian architectural theme park, complete with a faux ship, cartoon-like kremlins and a jumble of other landmarks. Wind your way through the center to the more trafficked shops where you will see locals ruthlessly bargaining for Matryoshkas nesting dolls, cheburashkas, Soviet paraphernalia, antique Uzbek textiles, badges, winter shawls, fur hats, postcards, books, electronics and a collection of amazing watches etc. As a tourist, you might feel like the market is a trap to earn money, however, even if you don’t intend to buy anything from the bazaar, you can just take a stroll around and gulp in the Russian culture.
Camden Market, London
Gathered between Regent’s Canal and the Roundhouse theatre is an enthralling collection of English markets, which is home to over 1000 shops and stalls. The market is one of London’s top attractions, attracting thousands of locals and tourists. You will find everything English here, from heavy metal tee shirts, bean bags, bicycles, jewelry, records, vintage coats and dresses, music records, paintings and stalls and stalls of amazing English and international food.
Neighbourgoods Market, Cape Town
The Neighbourgoods Market, which started as an old biscuit mill, is one of Cape Town’s most visited attraction. No trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to the famous bazaar. There is something for everyone here, from fabrics, clothes, jewelry to delicious local and international cuisine that sheds a light to the city’s culture.
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, Bangkok
The fascinating city of Thailand is home to five floating markets that are famous for fresh vegetables, fruits and tasty Thai delicacies, like papaya salad and grilled fish. Khlong Lat Mayom is the best floating market, incredibly crowded which speaks for their authenticity, charm and the neatly lined up cottages along the banks that people wake up 5 am in the morning to go to.
Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong
The market is named after the nearby Tin Hau Temple. When the sun goes and the stars come out, the market comes alive like a nightwalker and offers traditional souvenirs such as tea ware and jade and amazing local cuisine. The Temple Street Night Market is known for the number of gangster films that are set in the location.