[Wanderlust Tips September 2019] With the theme “Colours of the markets”, Share the love section in September 2019 will take you to an amazing variety of famous markets in Vietnam and around the world.
LE HONG QUAN – BANK CLERK, HCMC | VAKIL BAZAAR IS NOT JUST A TRADITIONAL MARKET
In the Iranian dictionary, the term “Bazaar” refers to markets featuring vaulted ceilings in a sophisticated architectural style. A bazaar is a commercial exchange centre in urban cities and one of the typical ancient cultural features in Persia. When people think of bazaars in Iran, the Grand Bazaar in Tehran – one of the largest bazaars in Persia often springs to mind. Additionally, Iran has many other unique markets, notably Vakil Bazaar in the west of the country – a not-to-be-missed destination when travelling to Iran. The Vakil Bazaar has beautiful courtyards, fountains, public baths, old shops and a number of mosques in the vicinity. According to the locals, many tourists cannot discover the bazaar completely and find it a tough nut to crack because of the labyrinth of interlaced stalls and aisles.
From my perspective, Vakil Bazaar is not simply a bazaar but also an exhibition centre for countless diverse and high-quality goods from the Middle East. For instance, delve into a treasure trove of woven carpets, antiques, jewellery, gemstones, perfumes, vegetables, dried fruits and spices. Each stall is arranged methodically and professionally. In Iran, it is commonplace for the salespeople to be male, with the notable absence of females throughout the bazaar. Traditionally, merchandising is reserved for men. Be sure to pick up some souvenirs of your trip, the merchandise on offer is worth every penny and the Iranians are always hospitable, happy and thankful for your custom and intrigue.
LE THUY – KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, SWEDEN | AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE AT LA BOQUERIA MARKET, SPAIN
When setting foot in a new place, I often head to the local markets after visiting the bigger tourist attractions as I think they showcase traditionally cultural characteristics. I have a true passion for enjoying local delicacies, admiring lovely artisanal crafts or simply strolling around to absorb the hectic atmosphere. I have to say that Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, known as La Boqueria is one of the best markets I have had the opportunity to visit. Located along La Rambla in Barcelona, La Boqueria is one of the most distinguished food markets in Spain.
When I walked into the market, I was completely mesmerised by a diversity of stalls bursting with an array of produce from delectably pre-cut fruits to signature jamón serrano. It can be said that travelling to La Boqueria is to enter the world of food and you can find everything at La Boqueria. There is a wealth of options to sample including noodles, seafood, lamb, cakes, delicious jams, nuts and dry ingredients. Additionally, there are a wide array of unique cafes and bars meeting the entertainment needs of visitors. Located in the heart of the city, the market is always bustling and crowded with people toing and froing. Due to the hectic nature of the market, be mindful and keep an eye on your belongings to ensure a pleasant trip.
LE BINH – ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, HANOI | EXPERIENCE THE MORNING AND NIGHT MARKETS IN LUANG PRABANG, LAOS
Nowadays, shopping malls are becoming more and more popular and I am afraid that markets will gradually be forgotten over the course of time. Hence, I always try to spend a lot of time perusing the markets during my travels. Among the markets I have visited around the world, I was most impressed with the Luang Prabang market in Laos.
I woke up at 5 am to experience the early morning buzz in Luang Prabang. The morning market here does not sell many souvenirs, instead, there are many different foods for sale. You can easily buy vegetables, meat, fish and shrimp for instance. It is similar to self-established markets in Vietnam; however, the food was very rich, to name a few, whole grilled fish, barbecued meat, noodles and Pho. Moreover, there were a variety of fresh vegetables which made me extremely excited.
There is also a night market in Luang Prabang. Although it is called the “night” market, trading actually began at 4 pm. At this time, you will see people arranging goods along both sides of the road. The food available in the evening is more diverse than that in the morning, I also discovered a small alley selling typical Lao cuisine. Luang Prabang night market also has many unique souvenirs for visitors to buy for their friends and relatives.
NGUYEN VAN THANH – TRAVELLER, HANOI | VISITING DONG BA MARKET IN HUE ON A RAINY DAY
A friend once told me that when travelling to a new place, we should visit the central market to better understand the local culture and people. Thus, I popped by Dong Ba market in Hue on a rainy day. Dong Ba market made a great impression on me as the authentic scenes of life in Hue in the early morning were extremely peaceful. The vans got wet and sparkled in the headlights; people wearing red, blue and yellow raincoats walked quickly through the shops adorned with all kinds of brilliant colours; the muscular rickshaw-pullers greeted me with a friendly smile rather than yelling or getting annoyed when we held up our cameras to take pictures.
All of these things made me appreciate the familiarity and kindness of Hue people. People would often prefer it not to rain on their trips, but for me, the rain is precious. In other words, the fleetingness of nature and how suddenly it can change are something really rather magnificent. It is during this time that I can experiment with perspective, movement and the ability to capture ephemeral moments through photography. I often find these photographs full of emotions, like those of the Dong Ba Market on a rainy day.