Whether you consider yourself a shopaholic or not, exploring local markets while travelling is one of the best ways to get a taste of the local culture (and a taste of the local street food). Especially when some of these markets have hundreds of years of history.

You might even discover things about shopping you never knew could be fun – like getting lost in a maze of shops while trying to find the perfect hand-woven rug or waking up before dawn to watch fishmongers bid on the biggest tuna. Trust us, weaving through colourful stalls and honing your bartering skills are all part of the unique market experience you won’t want to miss. Here are five of our favourite markets in the world to shop till you drop.

1. Khan Al-Khalili Market – Cairo, Egypt

Often referred to simply as “the Khan”, this market dates back to the 14th century when it was a hub for trading gold, copper, spices and more. Nowadays, you can buy everything from jewellery, to decorative tents, to toy camels amid the winding lanes filled with over 900 shops.

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2. Chatuchak Market – Bangkok, Thailand

The Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the biggest markets in the world. Be sure to grab a map to help you navigate the 35 acres and 15,000 stalls that are divided into (not-so-strictly) organized sections such as food, antiques, pets and clothing.

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3. Grand Bazaar – Istanbul, Turkey

One of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar was originally founded in 1461. As time went on, the market expanded into the patchwork, labyrinthine mall that it is today. Here you can snack on baklava as you barter for textiles, spices and pottery and more.

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4. Tsukiji Fish Market – Tokyo, Japan

The Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world, is perhaps the best place in the world to buy seafood, sushi and other groceries. And even if you’re not into eating the seafood, the sheer spectacle of three blocks dedicated to buying and selling fish – especially the daily 5 a.m. tuna auction – is certainly worth a visit.  

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5. The Marrackech Souk – Marrakech, Morocco

The Marrakech souk, the traditional market that borders Jemaa el-Fnaa (the main square in Marrakech) is a veritable maze filled with merchants peddling wares such a leather goods and clothing. And when darkness falls, the main square itself turns into a night market where you can eat your fill of kebab, tajine and other street food.

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