Smell that fresh fish? See those pyramids of spices? Hear the haggling? Taste that sample of fudge?
Markets are some of the most vibrant, chaotic, fun places that you can visit while travelling. They’re certainly a feast for the senses and a fantastic way to get a big dose of culture. We sniff out markets (quite literally, sometimes!) in almost every destination we go to – and here are six reasons why you should too. But beware – you’ll soon become addicted to them! Check out the list of our favourite markets at the end of this post.
It goes without saying that the food at markets is one of the main draw cards. We love street food and markets are where you can find some of the cheapest and most authentic local flavours! We’ve munched away on barbecued corn cobs in New York City, devoured sweet pastries in Auckland, slurped cocktails in Thailand, and welcomed Belgian poffertjies into our lives in Vancouver.
2. Photography opportunities
Markets are vibrant, bustling places that offer the chance to experiment with different photography techniques. The range of colours, products and people offer a great dynamic in photos. Get your zoom lens out and get up close! Some of our most favourite travel photos were taken in markets in Southeast Asia – we love the moments that can be captured at these places that are a confluence of all different types of people.
3. Interact with local people
Sometimes, depending on the destination, it can be difficult to interact with local people on a personal level. But in markets, especially in places where you haggle to determine the price, you develop a relationship with the seller for a few minutes. It’s a lot of fun meeting locals, no matter the country.
More often than not, markets are a feast for the eyes. All those weird vegetables, piles of textiles, and hanging carcasses offer a mish-mash of colours that can’t be found anywhere else. We love just wandering around and looking in awe at the different stalls – even if we don’t buy anything.
Coming back to buying things, markets are some of the best places for shopping. Especially in Asia, they’re full of cheap and interesting trinkets. Even if they’re a bit crappy, it’s still nice to have a souvenir to take home. If you want to buy a Folex (fake Rolex), you’ll probably be able to find one somewhere! In other parts of the world like the US, quite often there will be local craftspeople selling their handmade goods like clothes, soaps, jewellery, and other bits and pieces.
Overall, we just love the unique atmosphere of markets. They’re buzzing with activity, loud, chaotic and brash, but the clash of colours and smells makes them such interesting places to visit. Go and get lost in a market and you’ll come out having tasted some weird local food, wearing a funny hat that you were convinced is the ‘next big thing’, and with a better understanding and appreciation of the culture that you’re surrounded by.
The Global Couple’s favourite markets
- Chelsea Markets, NYC, USA
- 9th Avenue Food Festival, NYC, USA
- Smorgasburg, Brooklyn, NYC, USA
- Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, USA
- Burlington Farmers Market, VT, USA
- Marche de Vieux-Port de Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
- La Cigale French Market, Auckland, New Zealand
- Clevedon Markets, Auckland, New Zealand
- Hastings Farmers Market, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
- Nyaung U markets, Bagan, Myanmar
- Wet markets in Yangon, Myanmar
- Street markets of Mandalay, Myanmar
- Flower market (Pak Klong Talad), Bangkok, Thailand
- Fisherman’s Village markets, Koh Samui, Thailand
- Sampeng Lane (and around) street markets, Bangkok, Thailand
- Ladies Market, Hong Kong
- Apliu Flea Market, Hong Kong
- Campo de’ Fiori market, Rome, Italy
Do you love markets as much as we do? Where is your favourite market? We’d love some recommendations – leave your suggestions in the comments!
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