Six Markets in Asia Where Every Day is like Black Friday
PHOTO: An array of belts on display at Chatuchak Market. (Photos courtesy of Thinkstock)
Shopping will be on many people’s minds this weekend. There are deals to be found, either in stores on Friday or online next week. Surely, at some point, everyone who is in line waiting for the gates to open on “door-buster sales" has to wonder: “why am I shopping today, when everyone will be competing for a few deals? Why not look for a place where there are more deals than shoppers?"
If you happen to be traveling in Asia next year, you will find that some of the continent’s traditional markets actually have Black Friday-like prices year round. The catch, of course, is that you have to be able to bargain and to distinguish the good products from the knock offs. If you can do that, though, you can save some serious money (and earn the right to sleep in on the day after Thanksgiving).
Here are six Asian markets where everyday prices are Black Friday-esque:
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Bangkok’s weekend market, Chatuchak (often romanized at Jatujak and shortened to JJ), is simply massive. It has thousands of vendors selling all sorts of items in 27 different sections. One section, for example, might have handmade ceramics and furniture while another has clothing and accessories. There are sections for live pets, appliances, antiques, amulets and books as well. The problem with Chatuchak is that it takes an entire day to wander around. Even with the different sections and a good map, you are still probably going to get lost. Luckily, there are lots of drink and food kiosks, so you can sit down and indulge while you get your bearings.
Mustafa Center is not a traditional market. However, it is THE place to find souvenirs and deals in Singapore. The six-floor Little India department store is open 24 hours, so if you have jet lag after a transpacific flight, this is an ideal shopping attraction. The joke among Singaporeans is that you can find literally everything here. That may or may not be true, but you will get plenty of good deals on jewelry, shoes, clothes, electronics and even small appliances.
Chandni Chowk is a market in one of the oldest sections of Delhi. It is pretty easy to find because it is near to the famous Red Fort. Depending on who you ask, this place is either charming and bustling or chaotically crowded. Chandni is known for its Indian-ness; it’s a great place to try traditional foods and buy items like saris. Many of the areas at the market and the streets that come off of it are filled with wholesalers. Chandni Chowk can definitely be intimidating, but it is worth it for the atmosphere (and the deals).
PHOTO: Dried fruits for sale at Chandni Chowk.
The Chow Kit area of Kuala Lumpur has a couple of markets. Bazaar Baru Chow Kit is a morning wet market where local people come to get their fish, meat and veggies for the day. Even if you aren’t in the market for a whole chicken or a pungent durian, this is a worthwhile place for sightseeing. Tourists who actually want to buy something can wait until sundown and head to Chow Kit Bundle (AKA Bundle Chow Kit), a night market that features cheap, second-hand clothing and accessories. You’ll definitely find some deals, but this is also an interesting place for people watching.
Ben Thanh Market
This venue, in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, is admittedly much more touristy than it used to be. That said, the narrow walkways and need to bargain still give it an authentic appeal. And, if you are skilled, you can negotiate down to “locals’ prices.” At night, the market closes, but the streets outside of it host a night market with open air restaurants. These are a bit overpriced, but if you head down the side streets away from the main market square, you will find more authentic, cheaper eats.
Phnom Penh Central Market
You can find plenty of deals at this Cambodian market, but the main attractions here is the Art Deco architecture. The market dates back to the 1930s, and it recently underwent a $4 million renovation, which was funded by former colonial power France. Inside, you can take a break from gazing up at the domed ceiling to find some deals on t-shirts, accessories and traditional Khmer kramas.
More by Josh Lew
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