The team at Journeys to Come have been dreaming about our favourite markets in the world this week. Inspired by my story on the Punanga Nui Markets in Rarotonga Cook Islands, showing this week on Getaway, we couldn’t help but put together a list of our Top 10 markets around the world.
Of course these are just some of the places that have given us happy memories, so we’d love to know yours. Feel free to share and in the meantime, here are the markets that make our hearts sing.
Ben Thanh Markets in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Inside one of the oldest surviving structures in Saigon, you’ll find the most exquisite embroidered linens and finest ceramic bowls for next to nothing, all under this age old, vast roof. Save your shopping dollars until you can make it here. Definitely worth the wait.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. We think this is one of the world’s best seafood markets, worth the visit just so you can look 20 years younger from all the humidity. Make sure you arrive hungry!
Place des Luces, St Tropez. Yes, it’s one of the great provincial markets, where everything from the antiques to the strawberries are stupendous. But truly, I’ve never seen so many beautiful people congregate together on a Saturday morning. The people watching alone is worth the visit.
The Dirt Markets in Beijing. Also known as the antique markets or Panjiayuan to locals, this is where I found my first ‘Shard Boxes’ made from the broken porcelain of Ming and Qing vases. So many curiosities here, the finest silks and amazing one-off treasures. Great for gifts and strange items you’ll treasure forever.
Daylesford Markets. Australia. Of course we have so many amazing markets in our own backyard. I love the authentic, local atmosphere in Daylesford. The stores spread out across a vast paddock and you’ll still find vintage utensils for 50cents, alongside bread baked that morning and locally made hats or leather belts. It’s polite, it’s quaint and best of all you can still find great market bargains.
Kahn El Kalili in Cairo. Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll be dazzled by the glittering lanterns, the shiny silver, the scent of sweet tea and the beauty of the locals. These are one of the oldest markets in the Middle East, yet the energy is absolutely buzzing.
Flea Markets in Paris. Double check the time you’re going as it’s not always open. I’d catch a cab, bring cash and give yourself plenty of time. You will see every era of antiques here (the Art Deco had my eyes falling out of my head) but I’ve found great bargains here too. An old botanical calendar I took apart and framed brings me so much joy, an old farming sign, vintage hair clips. All your heart desires and fabulous cafes to boot. Worth doing a walking tour too. J’adore Marche de Puces, Paris!
Punanga Nui Market, Rarotonga. Arrive around 8am, treat yourself to a freshly made fruit smoothie, smile with the flower adorned locals, buy your black pearls or coconut soaps to take home and wrap the morning up by watching the little girls hula dance to young men beating a rhythmic drum. All of your senses will be working overtime when you visit a South Pacific market.
Pike Place Markets, Seattle. Just promise me you’ll buy a sweatshirt from the famous fish throwing fishmongers that shout the roof down at the entrance here. Not only will it show people that you’ve shopped at these world famous fish markets, they’re also amazing quality. Not just seafood here, beautiful flowers, chefs essentials and two restaurants made famous by Sleepless in Seattle. A total buzz!
The Grand Bazaar Istanbul. I had one of the best meals of my life after a shop through here. Tomato-drenched chicken, on rice. Although these markets are famous for their textiles (Turkish rug anyone?), give yourself time to sample the food too.