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In this post, I am going to answer one of my most asked questions; what are some of your favorite shopping markets from around the world? Not an easy question to answer for sure. Kind of like which kid do you like better. So far I have bargained abroad in 15 countries and have had a lot of amazing bargains. Every shopping market is a little different, but that’s what I love about all of them. From night markets to super fake shopping markets, there is a little bit of something I love in every market. Here are my top 10 favorite shopping markets in the world.
10. Greenhills Shopping Center, Manila, Philippines
To start off my favorite shopping markets list, is a nice and organized shopping center in probably the friendliest country I have ever traveled! In the Greenhills Shopping Center you find just about everything, from shoes, jerseys, electronics, you name it! Of course, as with all the shopping markets from around the world on this list, you can drive quite the bargain. One thing I noticed about the Philippines is that, although you can get a bargain here, it’s not as deep of a “discount” as you will find in other shopping markets from around the world on this list.
Most of the shop workers don’t actually own the shop, therefore, there’s not much incentive to bargain super hard. However, I still think it is worth being in my top 10 as the products (especially the shoes) are of high quality and the people are VERY friendly.
9. Myeongdong Night Market, Seoul, Korea
Coming in at #9 is the first night market on my list. Personally, if you had to give me a choice, I’d choose to go to a night market any night of the week over a traditional shopping center. There’s just something about being outside, enjoying the ambiance of the city at night and Myeongdong Night Market in Seoul has all of that and some! What I like about this market is the mixture of traditional shops alongside food stalls, massage parlors and “backroom” shops.
Focusing on the backrooms is where you’ll get to the good stuff. They have a lot of accessories here to bargain for such as handbags, belts, and wallets. In order to find these, just find someone selling on the street and ask “you have any more stuff?” Usually, they’ll direct you to a room where you can test your haggling skills!
8. MBK Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Situated in one of the hottest travel destinations in the world, Bangkok, you will find the MASSIVE MBK Center! You could easily spend a whole day in this 5 story mall. Whenever I would need something, MBK Center was my go-to as they have everything! Camera gear, electronics, furniture, western restaurants and of course, fake merchandise you can bargain for! As you’ve probably already realized, the further we go down this list, the more you can push for a bigger discount!
7. AP Plaza, Shanghai, China
The AP Plaza in Shanghai is a place that has a soft spot to me that this was one of the first-ever markets I have gone to! It’s weird though, just going in there, you get a vibe that everyone is hustling and it makes you want to jump right in! Be aware, as you peruse the market, there will be people “headhunting” to bring you back to their shop to try and sell you something. But don’t worry, it’s not really a sketchy as it sounds but as always, make sure to always be careful when traveling. Also make sure you check out my, “How to Haggle” post. How I miss this market!
6. Petaling Street Night Market, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ah yes, here at #6 is Petaling Street Night Market. This market has 2 very long walkways that intersect in the middle to form a + shape. This was my first introduction to a market where sellers didn’t just come from the local country but really all over Asia. From China to Bangladesh to Myanmar to Thailand. I guess that’s what I really loved about this market is that it was so diverse and unlike anything I have experienced before. As with I said earlier, night markets just have that “vibe” to them and this is no different!
5. Patpong Night Market, Bangkok, Thailand
The second, “less-popular” Bangkok market on our list is Patpong Night Market. Far different from MBK Center, this market situated in between Go-Go bars and well, regular bars. A very compact area that’s loud and vibrant. I enjoy this more than MBK for the simple reason that it just feels more like Thailand. It’s outdoors and chaotic, just what I’d imagine when traveling to Southeast Asia. Oh and yes, the bargaining is much more than what you will experience at MBK Center, however, there is a lot less variety in products here.
4. Mong Kok Night Market, Hong Kong
Probably the most visually pleasing NIGHT market I’ve visited so far. Mong Kok Night Market is long and narrow, jam-packed with neon signs everywhere, you can go balls to the wall on the bargains here. The quality of products range widely, so make sure you know what you’re looking for!
3. The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
The Grand Bazaar is something else. Like I had said on #4 about that being the most visually pleasing night market… Well, The Grand Bazaar is the most visually pleasing market period. It is one of the largest and oldest markets in the world, and it shows! Just walking in you can feel the history of the place. Istanbul alone has always been one of my top 3 bucket list cities, and the Grand Bazaar just makes it much better. Unlike most markets in Asia where the products come from China, The Grand Bazaar sources a lot from Europe, making it unique in that sense as well. Bargain hard and enjoy the sights!
2. Silk Alley Market, Beijing, China
I’m just going to say it. The Silk Alley Market has hosted some of the most intense bargaining moments I have experienced in these markets so far! The bargaining here is on another level! What you should realize though is that it’s all a game and the seller’s aren’t really that angry with you. I’ve been bargaining at the market on multiple occasions and it never fails to entertain. Get prepared to get hyped. These sellers come at you hard. And I love it!
1. Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ahhh yes! We have arrived at my HANDS down favorite market! #1 and #2 were a toss-up for me. But I eventually settled on the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City as my favorite because even though the bargaining is ALMOST as intense as Beijing, the seller’s are a tad more friendly and easier to joke around with. So you get the best of both worlds, hard bargain and an easy attitude… If that makes sense!? I think it’s just something you have to experience to fully understand it.
Another reason this just edged out Beijing was because of the food. Unlike Beijing, this place (and places around it) have some amazing food and beer. Perfect to take a break in-between bargaining stints. Stay until nighttime and the area around it also doubles as a night market! Although not as atmospheric as the ones I mentioned earlier, but it is a night market nonetheless!
There It Is, My Top 10 Markets in the World!
Anyways, there you have it, my Top 10 favorite shopping markets from around the world that I have visited (so far). Stay tuned because as I travel more and more to different shopping markets around the world, I’m sure this list will be ever-changing!
What are some of your favorite shopping markets?
Please share in the comments! I’m always looking for more exciting markets to visit.