There are countless beautiful, inviting and busy markets and markets in Asia.
Many of them specialize in food and groceries, but most markets offer just about everything between earth and sky.
Pull on comfortable shoes on your feet and arrive early if you want to avoid the worst traffic jams. Then you also have more time to compromise.
Tip: Don’t bring more money than you plan to spend, and keep your money in a safe place.
Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok
When you visit the Thai capital Bangkok, head to Chatuchak Weekend Market, which, like the traditional market, is open on Saturdays and Sundays. There are more than 8,000 stalls in the market area, and among the huge amount of goods you will find guaranteed gifts for the whole family.
The store has everything from wood carvings to scarves and even animals of all colors, and several long corridors are entirely dedicated to shoes, clothes and bags, for example. Although the market is divided into themed areas, the navigation can turn out to be a bit tricky. So if you find something you absolutely want to buy, you might want to do the shopping right away – you may not find your way back to the right stall!
Chatuchak is said to be the largest marketplace in the world, and one thing is certain: finding the best deals and touring the stalls can easily make you spend an entire day. Be sure to take breaks in between and try some local snack sold at the market.
Tianshan Tea City, Shanghai
Tea, tea and more tea. Tianshan Tea City is the mecca of everything related to tea. Tea is imported here from all over China, and it is also worth buying it here for export to home Finland.
In Tianshan Tea City, you can, for example, learn about the secrets of tea making, view tea art, taste a variety of fine teas and learn to recognize the best tea leaves. The market is open every day and their 150 stalls sell thousands of different teas.
When you step into one of the stalls, you’ll soon get the first tasting, followed by the second, third, fourth, and so on – and everyone is so good that one favorite may be impossible to find. For example, try black oolong tea, the first Chinese tea called fermented tea, or tea flowers that open in hot water to resemble a flower.
Central Market, Phnom Penh
The name of the Central Market in Phnom Pen, Cambodia is Khmer Phsar Thmei, which means “new market”. The market is held in a yellow, French colonial Art Deco style building.
Four wings leave from the large dome in the middle of the building, each end to end full of stalls. Everything from delicacies to flowers, scarves, silverware and jewelry, suitcases and electronics is on offer. Be sure to bargain for the price, as it is part of the customs – the place is known for its slightly high prices, which can easily be reduced by negotiation.
The market is open from early morning to evening. If you don’t care about shopping or have already acquired your souvenirs, just touring the stalls and enjoying the atmosphere is a fun program number.
Ubud Art Market, Ubud
If beautiful artifacts and arts and crafts are your thing, include a visit to the Ubud Art Market in Bali in your itinerary.
The locals call the art market Pasar Seni Ubud, and they are held in the city center every day from morning to evening.
Here you will find a huge selection of more stunning handicrafts: beautiful woven bags, charming baskets of different sizes and clothes of all colors and designs. And if you’re looking for a painting or artwork to brighten up your living room – or crave a small snack – these are also available at Ubud Art Market. Here you can find almost everything you need, and most products are handcrafted in the surrounding areas.
It’s worth heading to the art market early in the morning, as the Balinese believe that good deals done in the morning will bring good deals for the rest of the day, so early shoppers are more likely to get the best price. The Balinese call this belief “pegarus dagangan”.
Toyosu Fish Market, Tokyo
Among other things, Tsukiji Fish Market, or Tsukiji Fish Market, which belongs to its tuna market, moved to a new location in late 2018 and was renamed Toyosu Fish Market. The marketplace, which covers more than 40 hectares, has more than 600 traders, making it the largest fish market in the world.
In its own way, the attractions also include the seafood delicacies offered by the many food stalls in the market, but one of the biggest attractions of the place is the tuna auction, which takes place every morning at. 5.30-6.30. Most of the stalls do not open until 7 am, so here you can start your day with a delicious fish breakfast, for example.
The floor of the new fish market is white elsewhere except in the tuna auction area where it is green. The reason for this is the tuna red meat, which is used to determine the quality of the fish. Against the green floor, the redness of the fish comes out better, and buyers can more easily assess the quality of the product and decide on a suitable price.
Note: If you want to secure good seats at the auction, you should book them in advance.
Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Ben Thanh Market is located in Ho Chi Minh City Center in Disctrict 1. As you approach the place, you can’t miss the large rectangular building that is one of the city’s hallmarks.
The multi-storey house has all sorts of souvenirs and crafts traded between earth and sky, and the building is so huge in size that it may seem impossible to find out from there. However, don’t worry – there will always be some helpful soul ready to advise you on the right route.
Towards evening, food stalls will be erected in the building, selling local delicacies such as Hanoi bun Cha noodles and bánh xèo rice noodles popular in the Mekong Delta. The atmosphere in the market is quite authentic, as 60-70% of shoppers are local.
Luang Prabang Night Market, Luang Prabang
If you find yourself in Luang Prabang, Laos, there is no way to miss a visit to the city’s night market.
The streets will be closed to vehicles from 5pm to 10pm, and Sisavanvong Street will be filled with stalls and pop-up boutiques selling arts and crafts such as pottery, carpets, lamps, silk scarves and more.
The city center isn’t very big, so it’s hard to avoid going to the market anyway if you go for an evening walk in the city. And it’s not worth avoiding anyway, as the market offers such an awesome selection of fine traditional crafts that you’re guaranteed to find something nice to take home.
If hunger surprises in the middle of shopping, a snack or even a firmer stomach filling can easily be found in both the market square and the adjacent evening food market.
Hongqiao Pearl Market, Beijing
The attractions of the Hongqiao pearl market are – as the name implies – shimmering pearls. Another of the more beautiful freshwater pearls on offer is on-line, and it’s impossible not to fall in love with their sleek glow. Bead sizes, colors, and degrees of hardness vary, and so do prices; from a few euros to several thousand.
In addition to pearls and other gems, the market has a lot more to trade, such as watches, silk scarves and clothes. On top of all that, the market has a large fish department where you can find everything from crabs to sea bass.
After shopping, it’s still worth the pain on the third floor, which offers great views of the Temple of Heaven next to the marketplace. The stunning scenery is a real point on top after a fun shopping experience.
Floating market, Bangkok
Bangkok’s floating market is definitely worth a visit. Imagine floating by boat one after another, all loaded on their mounds with stuff from souvenirs to pineapples and curry portions. And you floated on the boat yourself. According to COUNTRYAAH.COM, Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand.
This couldn’t be easier with no shopping: all you have to do is lean back, relax, enjoy the unique culture and atmosphere of the market and maybe buy a souvenir or a couple when the right thing happens.
There are several floating markets on the outskirts of Bangkok, and even if you have to leave the downtown area for them, the experience is definitely worth the short trip. The floating market is such a special and unusual way to shop that a market trip is sure to become one of the most interesting experiences of the whole trip.
Asian markets and markets offer great experiences. They give a good picture of the culture of each country, and you are guaranteed to find great gifts for the household or souvenirs for yourself.