When visiting a new country, traversing the local markets is a great way for people to fully appreciate the local culture. Each place features many different markets with many unique features, allowing travellers to passionately indulge in the excitement of adventure. Wanderlust Tips will take you on a thrilling stroll around the impressive exotic markets of the world.
THE GRAND WORLD OF SPICES AT THE SPICE BAZAAR, TURKEY
If you are a dab hand in the kitchen or just like to experiment with new flavours, stepping into the spice market, you will get lost in a “maze of flavours”. Spice Bazaar is located in Istanbul, Turkey. True to its name, there is no spice you cannot find here. Appreciate the terrific aromas and recognise the pungent smells of familiar spices amongst an eclectic bouquet of flavours.
As well as the Spice Bazaar, there are other famous spice markets in the world; for instance, Khari Baoli market in Delhi, India offers an impressive array of spices such as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and turmeric. Alternatively, located a stone’s throw from the Campo de’ Fiori Square in Rome, Italy, is home to the Testaccio market where you can find a multitude of Mediterranean spices such as fresh dill seeds, paprika, pepper and mixed seasonings.
AN EXHILARATING EXPERIENCE AT MAEKLONG RAILWAY MARKET, THAILAND
Maeklong is a local market located in Samut Songkhram Province, Thailand. The market is commonly called Siang Tai, meaning “Risky Life”. Located a stone’ throw from the Maeklong train station, the 100-metre-stretching market opens from 6 am to 6 pm daily for visitors to explore and experience this unique market. The Maeklong sells a variety of items like many other popular markets.
However, the most fascinating feature of this flea market is the passing train. When the train arrives, the vendors will put their parasols and umbrellas down and clear their goods off the tracks. The train passes and people continue about their daily works as nothing happened. When the train is out of sight, they put everything back in place and get back to work. This process is repeated several times a day.
TOYOSU – THE FAMOUS FISH MARKET IN JAPAN
Japan has long been famous for its fresh seafood, so when travelling to the land of the rising sun, a visit to the fish market is a must. In 2018, the 83-year-old original Tsukiji market was relocated and replaced by the Toyosu fish market, which is around 2km from the original location. The most interesting highlight of the market is the famous tuna auctions. The auction venues may have changed, but the auction rites still remain. A large frozen tuna is displayed on the ground, the auctioneer will start the auction by ringing bells and the bidders name their price. Many visitors have to queue up on the previous night to stand the best chance of being one of the 120 people allowed to witness the event.
DALIUSHU – “GHOST MARKET” IN THE HEART OF CHINA
When night falls and families reunite, the Daliushu market starts to open. Due to the unique opening hours, the market only opens on Tuesday evenings and closes before dawn. This is the reason why Daliushu is known as the “ghost market”. The last remaining ghost market was located in the heart of Beijing, China although people’s shopping habits have changed.
This type of market has been very popular in Beijing since the end of the Qing Dynasty. The times changed and many dignitaries and advisors who formerly served the court lost their status. Those of them who were fortunate enough to retain their treasures brought them to the market to trade. The “ghost markets” gradually disappeared and only the Daliushu market now remains. Over the course of the years, the change has brought out a different side to the ghost market. Starting out as a market for precious antiques and valuable objects, the Daliushu market has now become a unique sightseeing spot, showcasing the ancient Chinese culture to tourists and locals alike.
STROLLING AROUND THE BUSTLING NIGHT MARKETS IN TAIWAN
At autumnal night, tourists can visit the famous night markets on the beautiful island of Taiwan. The bright lights, the cool air and an array of diverse stalls are the reasons for the night markets becoming so consistently frequented with visitors from everywhere around the world. Most of the night markets in Taiwan open at 5 pm and end at midnight. Besides the stalls selling delightful items, the night markets in Taiwan are also home to plenty of attractive food shops with incredibly affordable prices. Enjoying street food at the night markets is a wonderful way for visitors to learn more about the lifestyle of the locals.
If you have the opportunity to go to Taipei, do not forget to visit the famous night markets located on Raohe Street, Ximending Street, Shilin Street and Ningxia Street. In Taichung, you can visit the Fengjia night market and Zhonghua night market. When travelling to Kaohsiung, make sure you remember to stop at the Liuhe night market and Rui Feng night market. The aforementioned night markets will bring you truly remarkable experiences.
DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET, THAILAND – BUSINESS ON THE WATER
The floating markets, where goods are traded on boats, are bustling trading places of many Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. Thailand, the land of golden temples, is famous for Damnoen Saduak. The floating market nestled on the canals featuring many boats laden with agricultural products, fruits, flowers, crafts and is opened from morning until noon. In Vietnam, the Phung Hiep market is one of the largest floating markets in the Mekong Delta with hundreds of busy trading boats. Additionally, Cai Be and Cai Rang are famous and crowded markets in the Western region. In Myanmar, Inle Lake floating market is a popular tourist attraction. Visit these floating markets and explore the distinctive beauty of the locals.
AROUND THE MEDINAS IN MOROCCO
Medina is dubbed the heart and soul of the Moroccan people. “Medina” is the term referring to the old markets zigzagging like a maze. In Morocco, Medinas have been built for many years with a unique cultural history, imbued with iconic marks in each location. For example, the Medina of Fes is an unforgettable maze of aromas teaming with the smell of leather, colourful crafts and crowded transport, making it an extremely busy area. Additionally, the Medina of Marrakech is dubbed a culinary paradise that is famous for cups of aromatic mint Moroccan tea.
ADMIRE THE COLOURFUL WORLD OF IZMAILOVSKY MARKET, RUSSIA
Located in the heart of Moscow, the Izmailovsky market is likened to a miniature fairy world, built in the typical Russian architectural style. With a labyrinth of walkways, the flea market specialises in souvenirs from the former Soviet Union period, Uzbek silk weaving products, fur hats, leather, vintage cameras and traditional Matryoshka dolls. The colourful houses with little walkways make for fantastic photo opportunities. Getting lost in this wonderful little world will make you forget about your aching limbs.
GET LOST IN AMERICAN AGRICULTURAL MARKETS
Travelling to the US, you can visit the farmers’ markets with lots of products on offer. Notably, the over-100-year-old Pike Place market, dubbed the soul of Seattle city is the largest agricultural and aquatic product market in Washington State. Alternatively, the Des Moines market is held every Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa city-state selling wine, baked goods, cheese and dairy products. The Portland Farmers’ Market operates regularly, selling fresh products in Oregon. Additionally, the Santa Fe market in New Mexico State is home to the best agricultural American products with over 150 stalls, making your trip more interesting.
THE BULGARIAN BRIDE MARKET
In Vietnam, there is also the Khau Vai love market or the Phong Luu market, located amidst Ha Giang Stone Plateau. The market opens once a year, on March 27th of the lunar calendar. The boys and girls who did not get together will meet to share stories about their lives. Today, the Khau Vai love market is not only a place for the ones that got away but also a place for the souls seeking happiness to come together. This is a unique cultural feature in the Central Highland.
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