New York, Paris, and Tokyo are known as epicenters of fashion, but they may not fit the bill for bargain hunters. Fortunately, many cities around the globe specialize in the age-old comparison-shopper’s dream: the bazaar. What better way to experience the local color than by wandering through the bustling stalls of an urban market?
In Melbourne, travel addict lo7la guides us through the seemingly endless Queen Victoria Market, or “The Vic.” With endless rows of tables sheltered from the elements by enormous 19th-century canopies, The Vic is where locals and tourists alike shop for everything from souvenirs to leather jackets to the freshest produce—all for the best prices around. Though phileasfogg warns visitors of some rather rough stalls, she admits that they "sell everything under the sun" at "great bargains."
While The Vic seems romantically old, actonsteve can tell you what an ancient market really is. He recounts a recent trip to Turkey in Istanbul—"City of the World’s Desire," providing insightful reviews of hotels, tourist sites, and the splendors of Istanbul, where he took time to visit the Grand Bazaar. Replete with colorful fabrics, along with trinkets and even gold, the Grand Bazaar has been selling local goods since the Ottomans arrived in 1461. While he knew that haggling was expected, actonsteve was surprised by the lack of pushiness that usually characterizes bazaar traders.
Farther east, in Bangkok, fellow stall-hopper LenR lamented the impending demise of his favorite night market. However, he takes heart in knowing that the bars and restaurants, perfect for people-watching in this bustling area, will still remain. And, lucky for him, there is no shortage of great bazaars in Bangkok, including the famous Chatuchak Market; according to self-professed lover of local markets eunoshishi, it stakes its claim as "the world’s largest open-air weekend flea market." At a whopping 35 acres, the market is indeed a staggering—even overwhelming—sea of bartering. Though you may not do better (or, at least, bigger) than that, we want to hear about all the top deals on the market, wherever you go.