3 WORLD-FAMOUS MARKETS
Camden Town Locks & Market ( Image: Bigstock)
Travellers, Don’t Miss These 3 Famous Markets!
One activity most travellers engage in when visiting other countries is shop. Even the tourist with the most antipathy to shopping can’t resist a token item to remind them of their journey. And at the opposite end of the spectrum, some people travel to shop. Whatever your inclination, here are three of the many world-famous markets that currently exist and if you are in the area of one of these, don’t miss out on the experience. It is more than shopping and often an immersion into local culture.
Let’s start in Europe, at the market in Camden, England.
The Camden market graduated from a week-end affair to being open every day including bank holidays. It is in London in Camden Town, an area popular with those of the counter-culture. Be amazed at the variety of products on offer and the variety of humanity that frequents this place from goths to celebrities. There are over a thousand shops and cafes/bars offering everything from antiques to vintage fashion, coffee to international cuisine. Different sub-areas concentrate primarily on specific items. For example, if you are into crafts, try the Lock Market,or if it is fashion, consider the Stables or Electric Ballroom. The latter is also a music venue. Bet you can’t return home without scoring one unique item as a souvenir!
The Khan el-Khalili
Travelling east, let’s visit the Khan El-Khalili (or just Khan) in Cairo, Egypt.
This is an ancient market or souk, dating from the 14th century. Be aware many, if not all, its nine hundred stalls are closed on Fridays and Sundays. Shopping here is a walk along medieval laneways with stalls and shops on either side or clustered in small courtyards branching out from the lanes. Here you will find the usual tacky souvenirs but also real gems – yes gems, semi-precious ones at least – plus an array of local products. The market is like many of its kind, broken down into areas of specialties: the gold merchants, spice dealers, and so on. Do not miss the Street of Tentmakers even if you are not “in the market” for a tent. These handcrafted tents are absolutely stunning. No matter what you buy, be prepared to bargain and remember these stall owners have had centuries to fine tune their patter and bargaining tactics.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Saving the biggest for last, there is the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand.
Don’t visit this one if you have no stamina or if you don’t like crowds! A daily average count of shoppers is 200,000 with 30% of them tourists/visitors. This market is so big, it is divided into 27 sections. You can get a free map to help you navigate your shopping trip! It is open 6 to 6 on Saturdays and Sundays. and there are banks on site as it is mostly a cash venue. Common sense by now would tell you to prepare for at least a half day of walking by dressing comfortably with sun protection, wearing sturdy shoes, packing bottles of water, and not carrying exorbitant amounts of cash at any time.
You can buy most anything here and, like any market, you can get a bargain as the prices are geared to local shoppers. Be prepared to bargain as it is expected. So, what do you want to take home with you? Hand carved items, silks, pottery, amulets, furniture …
As with all shopping, it is buyer beware, “antiques” may not be old, and some items may be unmarked factory seconds – and don’t be tempted to purchase an exotic pet. Just have fun visiting the largest outdoor market in the world!
A shop of souvenirs in Chatuchak Weekend Market