[Wanderlust Tips November issue] Markets located in different regions often have distinctive features, which contributes to their culture and identity. Travel to exotic markets with wanderlust tips to explore the cultural diversity of the world.
THE WITCHES’ MARKET IN BOLIVIA
Mercado de las Brujas is the witches’ market which can be found in the capital La Paz of Bolivia. This market is located at an altitude of 3,600 metres above sea level, specializing in providing wizard products used to make amulets. Mercado de las Brujas is a special feature of the religious and cultural life of the Bolivians.
The market opens daily from 9.30 am to 7 pm. Here, you can find one-of-a-kind items such as llama fetuses, dried frogs or toads, to name a few. Among those exotic items, the llama fetus is the most favourite one because locals believe that it is able to protect humans by dispelling evil spirits. In addition, students who want to wish for luck during their exam will buy stone amulets with a carving of an owl on it – the creature which symbolizes wisdom, or the sun – the symbol of energy. Products are also used to cure diseases; for example, coca leaves are said to be effective on a wide range of ailments such as headache, stomachache, or nausea.
Aymara women wearing the traditional dress, black hat, and gown while doing their business is another Bolivian cultural feature of this market. People call these women Yatiri, medical practitioner, and believe that they have the power to connect to a different world. Therefore, when someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, they find Yatiri and these medical practitioners use different parts of an animal to make an amulet to pray to God to cure the disease.
GO TO THE MARKET TO BUY…BRIDES IN BULGARIA
The bride market fair in Stara Zagora takes place 4 times per year on different religious holidays during spring and summer. The bridal market has been passed through many generations, and it is a special custom of the Kalaidzhi people who have nomadic habits from ancient times. They believe that it is an occasion for them to meet, exchange thoughts, and is an opportunity to find their soulmates. Today, the majority of Kalaidzhi people do not follow these nomadic habits, but the bridal market still survives as a unique and distinctive cultural feature that draws the attention of many visitors.
Young men and women who take part in this fair are very young, ranging from 16 to 20 years old. People often say that this is a vibrant and colourful market which is always filled with music. Girls apply their make up carefully and wear beautiful clothes to attract the men they like, while men also dress politely and concentrate on finding their true love in the crowd.
In addition, some girls try to draw attention by climbing on a car hood or a high stage to show their singing or dancing talents. If they feel their hearts flutter, they dance together to get to know each other better. And without much delay, some couples even get married at the end of the fair. The grooms are supposed to pay GBP2,200 – 4,300 (approximately 72 to 140 million Vietnam dong), and the cost may go up depending on the number of guys pursuing the girl.
GET LOST IN THE SPICE MARKET IN INDIA
People often call Khari Baoli the biggest spice market in Asia. This market is located near the Red Fort of Old Delhi. On narrow streets, the dim light covers the whole space of the market, creating special ambiance which makes it even more special. In the stalls, there are many kinds of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, anise, turmeric, and many other spices.
The atmosphere filled with the fragrance of countless spices sometimes confuses visitors while looking for the spices needed. However, visitors should not worry as hospitable store owners will help you select exactly what you need.
If you are in love with the colourful stalls and want to take photos, you can ask for permission to stay a little longer on the narrow path between these opposite stores filled with all kinds of attractive spices.
When visiting Khari Baoli, wandering on long streets, smelling countless wonderful aromas mixed together, and listening to the noise of the crowd, you will be fully immersed in the special cultural feature of India.
In addition to famous spice stores, Khari Baoli provides many kinds of food, fruits, and well-known local cuisine.
THE CONTAINER ARTBOX MARKET IN THAILAND – A PARADISE FOR THE YOUTH
The Artbox market in Bangkok, Thailand originally took place on one single occasion. However, thanks to its unexpected success, organizers decided to turn it into a mobile market. Artbox is a top choice for energetic people, and visitors are attracted by its vibrant atmosphere. Shopping and food devotees can find an abundance of exotic accessories and clothes, or indulge in many delicious food options.
In addition, the Artbox market is also where many exciting live music performances take place regularly. Young artists of Bangkok often come here just to show their talents, not to earn money. Or you can visit artistic booths have your portrait drawn, and create lifelong memories.
The container Artbox market opens from Friday to Sunday, from 4pm to midnight. However, it is still recommended to check their website for updates before travelling to Artbox because it only opens on selected weekends of the month.
Its location also changes regularly but often only a few walks from train stations.
DUBAI GOLD SOUK – WHERE GOLD IS SOLD IN KILOGRAMS
The Gold Souk is known as one of the most famous destinations for tourists in Dubai, UAE. This market is located along Sikkat Al-Khail road in Deira and home to 500 booths that are only several tens of square metres. It has become famous due to the splendid, sparkling space filled with a thousand kinds of precious stones and metals displayed in stores. Visitors can find all kinds of luxury jewellery made of pure gold such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, and exquisitely designed items to order.
The Gold Souk is always bustling with visitors because the gold price here is said to be the lowest in the world. Gold is often sold in grams or kilograms instead of mace or tael like in Vietnam.
The best time to visit this market is the evening as it is much cooler. It is when stores turn on their lights which shine and make all the countless jewelry items sparkle.
Thi Thi | Wanderlust Tips