Shop til you drop and experience a myriad of different sights, sounds and souvenirs in bustling bazaars around the world. Soak up the atmosphere in the souks of Marrakech, barter for bargains at the ginormous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul or lose yourself in Beijing's Silk Alley Markets. Visit the old covered market in Damascus or get some great souvenirs in Otavalo the handicraft market in Ecuador.
With over 1500 stalls, the Silk Alley (Xiushui Jie) is Beijing’s most famous indoor market. Whilst there is actually very little silk, there is a large selection of shoes and clothing much of which are designer knock offs. Upstairs you’ll find the children’s clothes and Chinese handicrafts, great for souvenirs and presents!
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar attracts tourists and locals alike selling everything from beautiful Turkish carpets, pottery and brassware, belly dancing costumes, things made from and wool, shisha pipes, and all sorts of other things. Visiting is heaven for shoppers but is also a great way to discover the Turkish hospitality, and you may well find your self offered lots of cups of tasty Turkish tea with no obligation to buy!
Otavalo market has lots of interesting gifts from carpets and rugs with Indian patterns to jewellery, paintings and reed pipes, but is also a great place to go people watching. The handicrafts market is a maze of colourful stalls with Andean pipe music coming from ‘Poncho Plaza’ the square around which the market is centered.
Markets are a great way to experience life as a local but wherever you go, don’t forget to do as they do and haggle! Below is a selection of tours that will take you to these bustling hives of activity.