To market, to market

Travelling overseas can be an expensive exercise. By the time you’ve paid for your flights, accommodation, food and activities, there often isn’t much left over for shopping. However, indulging in some retail therapy overseas doesn’t have to be expensive.

One of the best parts about buying something overseas is that not everyone back home will have it. Whether it’s a jacket, watch, handbag or rug, it’s nice to have some unique pieces. One of the best places to find said one-of-a-kind pieces is at a market. While they may require more work, for example sifting through the large array of stock and bargaining with vendors. These aspects are half the fun of it they add to the rich history of your purchase when you pull it out again at home.

Here are some of the best markets around the world. Add them to your bucket list for budget shopping sprees when you’re next in that part of the world. BYO bargaining skills!


Portobello market in West London runs straight through the heart of Notting Hill. A popular destination for both Londoners and tourists, it is divided in to five distinct sections; antiques, fruit and veg, new goods, second hand goods and the fashion market. Stretching for around two miles, it runs every Saturday.


Considered one of the world’s most exciting shopping experiences, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world. Spanning 60 streets and 5,000 shops, it attracts up to 400,000 visitors daily. Like Portobello, many of the stalls are grouped into categories with special areas for leather, gold jewellery, antiques, ceramics and spices. A great way to take in the culture, the Grand Bazaar is open Monday to Saturday from 9AM to 7PM.


Chatuchak claims to be the world’s largest weekend market covering an area of 27 acres and home to 15,000 stalls which sell goods from every part of Thailand. Divided into 27 sections, the market receives over 200,000 visitors each day it opens its doors on Saturday and Sundays. With most vendors coming from local factories, everything from antique carvings, wooden furniture, ceramics, silk, clothing and even dogs can be found here.

Also worth mentioning is the floating fruit and vegetable market which is open daily along the canals at Damnoen Saduak. A once in a lifetime experience, tour the floating market by boat.

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Dating back to the 11th century, the Rialto Market is located on the banks of the Grand Canal, not far from the famous Rialto Bridge. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Venice, the Rialto Market is a treat for the senses with endless fresh, seasonal and local produce including fruit, vegetables and fish. One for the foodies, the fresh produce market is open 7:30am until 1pm Monday through to Saturday.

Hong Kong

Something for both the ladies and the men, Hong Kong is home to the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street and Temple Street night market, also known as Men’s Street.

With over 100 stalls across a one-kilometre stretch, the Ladies’ Market houses bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs. As the name suggests, it specialises in a large amount of clothing and accessories for women, however, you can also pick up watches, cosmetics, bags, CDs and home furnishings here. Open daily from noon to midnight, the first day of Chinese New Year is the only day of the year that the Ladies’ Market is closed.

Temple St in Yau Ma Tei is another famous night market open from 4pm to midnight every evening. A popular open-air street bazaar, you can expect to find trinkets, tea ware, electronics, watches, menswear, jade and antiques here. Not to mention a vast selection of restaurants selling claypot rice, seafood, noodles and other treats. The market is nicknamed ‘Men’s Street’ due to the large amount of men’s clothing for sale, the gangster films that have been set there and the variety of ‘men’s pleasures’ on offer at the stalls.

Written by SJ