Whether flea, fresh produce or fashion hotspot (or a combo of all three), markets are the soul of the city. The ultimate experience, however, is when you purchase at least one item of desire through your innate or, newly developed bargaining skills. So, hang on to your wallets and get ready to put those bargaining skills to test at some of the best markets in the world.
Words: Efi Hafizah Hamzah
Once a wholesalers and traders market, the Chatuchak Weekend Market has reached tourist must-see status, drawing in as many as 200,000 visitors every weekend. Its sheer size and the variety of merchandise offered wows even the most experienced shoppers – 35 acres of land with more than 8,000 stalls! Everything here is cheap and bargain-friendly; from light fixtures, fashion accessories, to pots and plates, shoes and sweats… the whole lot! There are some simple restaurants and cafés on the east of the market where you can take a break with a paad thai noodle dish and a refreshing coconut water. [opens Sat and Sun 9.00am - 6.00pm] http://chatuchak.org
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Located in the north of the city, Queen Victoria Market was officially opened in 1878. There are more than 1,000 stalls here most of which are outdoors, quaintly set up with tin roofs and iron gables. Delicatessens renowned for Greek, Italian and Polish foods are a feast for the eyes and palate, and most stall owners offer taste-test morsels. There is a wine market on Sundays featuring an extensive array of Australia’s best. It can be a bit daunting to figure out where everything is, so make your way to the Market Office in Elizabeth Street for a brochure or join in one of the daily tours that covers the market’s history. Check out www.qvm.com.au for opening times.
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Tokyo is not cheap and bargaining may not be allowed but you can’t miss out on visiting LaLaport Tokyo Bay on the eastern outskirts of the city. This is an invigorating experience in fashion, electronics, food, health, and pretty much anything you’d want in a shopping mall. It boasts one of the biggest Zara fashion stores in the world (1,000 sq. metres), among other international high-end and mid-range brands. This is no market but a high-end mall; nonetheless one you have to experience to see where the pulse of Tokyo meets, greets and shops when they’re not working. [opens daily from 10.00am - 9.00pm] http://tokyobay.lalaport.net
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One of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, no trip to Istanbul will be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar. With over 5,000 shops in a warren-like complex, the bazaar first started off as an important trading port around 1461. Subsequent rulers of Istanbul renovated and kept adding to the structure. The bazaar houses two mosques, four fountains, two hamams (Turkish bath) and several cafés and restaurants. This bazaar is famous for antiques, furniture, copperware, prayer beads, inlaid weapons, mother-of-pearl mirrors, watches and clocks, candlesticks, and silver and gold jewellery. The many cafés here offer the perfect spot to recharge with a cup of strong spiced coffee while watching the world go by. The criss-crossing lanes in the bazaar can be a tad confusing and it’s easy to get lost so, do pay attention to which gate you entered from. [opens Mon to Sat 9.00am - 7.00pm] http://grandbazaaristanbul.org