The Most Unusual Markets In The World You Just Can’t Miss
One of the best ways to really immerse yourself in a country you’re visiting is to go shopping in their local markets. Not the fancy shopping malls or posh Instagram cafes. The wet market is where you’ll see how the locals live and are able to buy authentic local produce. Some local overseas markets are really rare and unusual, either because of the products they sell or their locations. Here are some of the most interesting markets in the world you just have to visit once on your travels:
1. Maeklong Railway Market
The Maeklong Railway Market is located just an hour’s ride outside of Bangkok. What makes it so interesting is that the market is spread out over a functioning train track. A train actually passes through this market 8 times a day, and vendors will coolly pull back their products and overhanging umbrellas to let the train pass.
Many stores are actually dangerously close to the train as it passes, so it’s truly a sight to see. If you’re not in a rush, you can stay longer and actually witness a train passing through. However, schedules are not fixed and the train is notorious for not following any fixed times. While waiting for your photo op, you can browse through the market for Thai snacks, clothing, fruits and more.
Maeklong Market, Mae Klong, Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram 75000, Thailand
Take the BTS Skytrain to Victory Monument and take a minibus to Mae Klong district, which is an hour’s drive from Bangkok. The minibus will stop at Maeklong Market.
2. Muara Kuin Floating Market, Banjarmasin, Indonesia
Apparently, Thailand isn’t the only place that has floating markets. For something a little different, head over to the Muara Kuin Floating Market in Banjarmasin. The market takes place between 5am-9am daily, so you best be as early as possible. Most of the traders are women, and you’ll find lots of fresh local produce like fruits, vegetables, fish prawns and more. You’ll also be able to try a local delicacy called Soto Banjar, a type of noodles in soup.
Where: Muara Kuin, Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Indonesia
Getting there: Since the market starts really early, it’s advisable to stay the night at Banjarmasin town. From here, you can hire a boat called a ‘Klotok’ to go upriver to the market, which is about a 45-minute ride.
3. Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala
Surprisingly, one of the largest traditional markets in all of Guatemala is located in a rural Mayan town known as Chichicastenango. At an elevation of 1965 meters from sea level, this market truly defines the expression ‘being on cloud 9’. Apart from its sheer size and variety, Chichicastenango Market really stands out with its bright and colourful local fabric. You can buy these designs in the form of clothing, bags, blankets, purses, and shawls. The market is open every Thursday and Sunday
6a Calle, Chichicastenango 14006, Guatemala
You can always grab a colourful ‘chicken bus’ from anywhere you’re staying in Guatemala. Chichicastenango is about 2 hours 40 minutes from Guatemala City, so you can get a bus or a taxi there and stay the night. In the morning, grab a chicken bus or cab to the market. Your hotel will be able to help you with details.
4. Skuon Spider Market, Cambodia
As its name implies, the Skuon or Skun Spider market in Cambodia is well known for selling a myriad of deep-fried bugs, including several species of spiders. Usually, tourists stop by this market while travelling between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, as its located just beside the highway. Apart from just fried spiders and bugs like crickets, scorpions, and beetles, the market also sells fruits, vegetables, and local snacks.
Skuon, Intersection of National Highway 6 and National Highway 7, Cheung Prey District, in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia.
You can stop here on your way to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh or back. There are buses and cars you can charter for the trip.
5. Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar, Egypt
While some markets are outdoors, the Khan Al-Khalili bazaar is located in a structure that’s several hundreds of years old. Believe it or not, the Khan Al-Khalili has its foundations in the Mamluk period, which took place during the 14th-15th century. Over the centuries, this bazaar has become home to many local artisans and traders who specialize in heritage crafts and local products that span history. You’ll find a myriad of Egyptian arts and crafts here, including brassware, spices, perfume, coloured glass lamps, Egyptian coffee and much more.
El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Take the Metro to Ataba station, and from there you can walk to Khan Al-Khalili, which is about 30 minutes. Otherwise, you can take a Grab or taxi from Ataba station which is much faster and less tiring.
6. Izmailovsky Market, Moscow
The best place in the world to search for an authentic Matryoshka doll is definitely in Russia itself. Izmailovsky Market has all the hallmarks of traditional Russian craft, as well as antiques and collectables. It also helps that the market itself is laid out like a theme park, with incredibly beautiful spots for photos, including a brightly painted bridge scene, rustic Russian timber towers, log houses and a lake. You can expect to find Russian ceramics, dolls, teapots, bowls, carpets, paintings and of course, Matryoshka dolls.
Parkovaya St., 3-ya, 24, Moscow 613310, Russia
Take the Moscow Metro to Preobrazhenskaya (Преображенская) stop. Once you get down and exit the station, Izmailovsky Market is to your left.
You can begin planning your trip any ( or all) of these interesting markets today. Remember you can always book your flights, hotels and experiences online. Our travel promo codes, like those from Booking.com and Agoda, will make your trip better for your wallet.
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