Hunting for that perfect souvenir and checking out the scene at local markets is part of the fun of foreign travel. Test your haggling skills, breathe in the scent of exotic spices and just get lost in the alleyways of stalls. Here’s our favorite bazaars and street markets in Asia:
Panjiayuan Jiuhuo Shichang, Beijiing, China
Panjiayuan Market is a sprawling gargantuan living being that comes to life in the wee hours of Saturday morning as the vendors set up their stalls and display their wares. One day, even one weekend, isn’t enough to see everything there is on offer, but thankfully, there is some method to the shopping madness. This market is also known as the ‘Dirt Market’ because vendors would bring objects to what used to be an open field to sell items they said to have dug up themselves!
Wares are somewhat divided according to type, so you’ll find jewelry (pearls, amber, jade) in one section, furniture in another, etc. Make your way here in the early morning weekend hours,to this giant flea market to browse antique furniture, memorabilia and other vintage curiosities.
Johari Bazaar, Jaipur, India
Artisans, rejoice! Get inspired! Jaipur, the home of Arts, is itself a gem, both literally and metaphorically. Its talent and creativity has found expression in so many areas that this gem sparkles from every angel. The businessmen of Jaipur have achieved first rank nationally in export of artistically cut precious and semi- precious stone. A carving in stone is believed to be long lasting.
This stone carving is in the hand of skillful artist and it results in sculpture which appears to be everlasting. Jaipur is a center of many kind of sculpture of great excellence. The skilled stonecutters and metalworkers at the Johari Bazaar have family trade secrets have been passed on through the generations. Find everything from saris to costume jewelry to loose gems.
Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok, Thailand
This enormous market of over 15,000 stalls will leave you completely mesmerized. Once only popular among wholesalers and traders, Chatuchak Weekend Market has reached a landmark status as a must-visit place for tourists. Its sheer size and diverse collections of merchandise will bring any seasoned shoppers to their knees – this is where you can literally shop ‘till you drop’.
Selling just about everything, it’s thoughtfully set up by ‘department’ so you can browse beautiful flowers in one section before moving on to shop for art, home goods or even exotic reptiles.
The 35-acre (68-rai) area of Chatuchak is home to more than 8,000 market stalls. On a typical weekend, more than 200,000 visitors come here to sift through the goods on offer. Veteran shoppers would agree that just about everything is on sale here, although not all at the best bargain rates. But if you have one weekend in Bangkok, squeeze in a day trip to Chatuchak Weekend Market and you will not be disappointed.
Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong
Market culture is alive and well in Hong Kong, many open every day.
When the sun goes down, the traders have already laid out their wares and the opera singers and fortune tellers begin to emerge. Welcome to the Temple Street Night Market, a popular street bazaar, named after a Tin Hau temple located in the centre of its main drag, and a place so steeped in local atmosphere that it has served as the backdrop to many a memorable movie.
Trinkets, tea ware, electronics, watches, menswear, jade and antiques are scrutinised and haggled over, while claypot rice, seafood, noodles and other treats are consumed with gusto. Temple Street Night Market is an enduring example of the theatre and festivity of a Chinese market. And it’s on show nightly.
Tsujiki Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan
Although Tokyo doesn’t have many street markets, Tsujiki Fish Market belongs in a category of its own.
Tsukiji Market is a large wholesale market for fish, fruits and vegetables in central Tokyo. It is the most famous of over ten wholesale markets that handle the distribution of fish, meat, produce and flowers in Tokyo. Tsukiji Market is best known as one of the world’s largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day. It is scheduled to move to a new site in Toyosu in November 2016.
The sight of the many kinds of fresh fish and other seafood and the busy atmosphere of scooters, trucks, sellers and buyers hurrying around, make Tsukiji Market a major tourist attractions. In fact, the numbers of visitors have increased so much over recent years, that they have become a problem to the course of business, as the aging market’s infrastructure was not anticipated to serve as a tourist spot.
This enormous fish market is the largest in the world with over 2,000 tons of seafood passing through every day. Along with several fish stalls, you can enjoy the freshest sushi of your life and experience the tuna auction, an attraction in itself. Hope you like sushi for breakfast though, shops start closing as early as 10am.
Sunday Bazaars, Kashgar, China
The westernmost town in China, Kashgar is located at the end of a long road surrounded by desert and mountain ranges. This remote location makes the Sunday Bazaar one of the most remarkable in the world.
Bazaar is Uygur language, meaning market and trade place. The traditional bazaar was originally held on Sundays, but it currently is divided into two sections, one is livestock district that is only open on Sundays and the other is ordinary district especially busy on Sundays although open every day.
One of the only places to shop in the area, vendors and buyers travel for miles, leading to fascinating market scenes and stalls of exotic produce plus just about anything else. While out and about, be sure to stop by the Animal Market to see the locals trade livestock, mostly sheep and cows.
On your next trip include a trip to a local bazaar, flea market or fair for incredible items you won’t find anywhere else. Bringing home items from these places will give you stories to tell for years to come. As you can see, there’s an abundance of treasures to find at one of the amazing and diverse Asian markets. From semiprecious gems to antiques, produce to pets you never know what you’ll find!