The Most Famous Markets in The World
When travelling around the world, one thing that most people do is explore the local markets. There are few better ways to dig into a place’s local culture than by exploring a full on market. Thailand certainly has its share of famous markets, but there are fantastic markets all around the world that are entire experiences in themselves. – and these are what we think are the best markets in the world to do just that.
Tsukiji Market (Tokyo, Japan)
Tokyo’s colossal Tsukiji Market is perhaps the world’s most well-known wholesale fish market; it’s a hive of frenetic activity from early morning until mid-afternoon, and no round-up of the world’s best markets would be complete without it. Apart from the local individuals, chefs and restaurateurs who shop here for the premium-grade seafood that plays such an integral part in Japan’s world-renowned cuisine, tourists also make a beeline for the numeous restuarants around the market in hunt of unforgettable sushi and sashimi for breakfast or lunch. For the most popular restaurants expect a long queue!
Among the highlights of a visit to Tsukiji is witnessing the fast-paced tuna auction take place each morning – but, such is the popularity of the market, there’s now a limit imposed on the number of visitors, with entry on a first-come, first-served basis - you will have to get there super early (e.g. 4am or earlier to get a chance to witness it). The market also sells other product like fruit and vegetables and, while it has been slated for relocation to a new site, that move has now been delayed and isn’t anticipated to take place until late 2017 or 2018.
Monday to Saturday, 5am-2pm (closed on public holidays and some Wednesdays); Tsukiji Shijo station (Oedo subway); www.tsukiji-market.or.jp
Borough Market (London, England)
This phenomenal foodie market is known for its extensive selection of high-quality and specialist cooking ingredients, and is a haven for cooks and gastronomes both based in and visiting the British capital. Nestled into a series of enclosed trading spaces just alongside the south bank of London’s River Thames, Borough Market is also a hugely popular spot for ready-to-eat dishes from all around the world serves up by the countless vendors who pitch up here. It’s especially popular on Fridays and Saturdays, when you’ll have to push through the crowds to get your hands on all the most delicious bits.
Monday to Thursday, 10am-5pm; Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, 8am-5pm (limited market on Mondays and Tuesdays; full market Wednesdays to Saturdays); London Bridge underground station; www.boroughmarket.org.uk
Grand Bazaar (Istanbul, Turkey)
Turkey’s Grand Bazaar is believed to be among the world’s biggest covered markets, and boasts thousands of vendors touting all manner of goods for the home, including furniture and exotic-looking carpets, plus fashion and jewelry. More than 60 meandering alleys make up the market as a whole, which is even home to its own mosque. The Grand Bazaar also has a rich history that lends itself to the site’s enduring attraction to visitors as well as locals – in fact, it’s over 550 years old!
Monday to Saturday, 9am-7pm
Camden Market (London, England)
Among London’s most popular markets, Camden sees thousands of visitors pour in every weekend, such that it’s now open – albeit in just mildly smaller proportions – every day of the week. Camden Market has an edgy reputation for attracting goths and hippies, and it’s true that this market draws a diverse and largely alternative crowd, but these days it sells just about everything under the sun – from clothing to gifts, and plenty to eat and drink.
Daily, 10am-6pm; Camden Town underground station; www.camdenmarket.com
Kashgar Sunday Bazaar (Kashgar, China)
Situated on the ancient Silk Route, this remote border town in the western Xingjiang province has always been a trading town, where traders meet from neighbouring Central Asian countries, crossing 5000m mountain passes on the way.
While, there is a large market every day of the week, it is the Sunday livestock market that stands out as one of the most unique market experiences you can ever experience. Every Sunday, buyers and sellers come from all over the region to trade animals, such as horses, sheep, goats, chickens. The sight of people unloading trucks of live animals and the buyers selecting which ones to take home is truly amazing.
Market open daily. Livestock market every Sunday.
St Lawrence Market (Toronto, Canada)
This is a great market located in the heart of the city. It is all indoors so provides so is perfect to visit on a rainy or cold day. St. Lawrence Market is actually comprised of three markets. There's a farmer's (every Saturday), an antiques market (every Sunday), and a more general food market open every day except Monday.
Does Thailand have the Most Famous Markets in the World?
Thailand has its own impressive array of regular, show-stopping markets that are well worth a visit when you’re here – many of which are worthy of a mention in a list of the worlds most famous markets.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The photos of colorful boats with vendors and buyers filling this canal based floating market has graced Thailand guidebooks and promo posters for several decades, so we have included it on this list. Unfortunately this makes it the most touristy and least authentic market on this list, so visit with caution. Of course there are several more authentic local markets around Bangkok and you can check out this post on
Daily from about 8am
Chatuchak Market (Bangkok)
The saying goes that if you can’t find something for sale at Bangkok’s Chatuchak, it simply doesn’t exist. Once you see the size of this sprawling weekend market, it’s hard to disagree – depending on who you ask, there are anywhere between 8,000 and 35,000 vendors here each Saturday and Sunday, selling just about every product imaginable. Also known in Thai as JJ Market, it’s an immensely popular destination for both first-time and repeat visitors to Bangkok – and it’s easy to see why.
Weekends, 9am-6pm (also a limited selection of stalls on Fridays, 6pm-midnight); BTS Mo Chit, MRT Kampaeng Phet, or MRT Chatuchak Park
Chiang Mai Sunday Market
This expansive Sunday walking-street market is a hit with visitors to Thailand’s northern capital of Chiang Mai, running along Ratchadamnoen and Phra Singh roads in the old walled city. The streets are pedestrianised for the event, giving way to a countless number of vendors who come out to tout a wide variety of goods in a relaxed, fun environment (though it does get particularly busy come evening). Come expecting predominantly fashion and handicrafts, plus – of course (this is Thailand, after all!) – all manner of delicious food and drink.
Sundays, from around 5pm
Pak Khlong Talad Flower Market - Bangkok
A market with a very special place in our hearts, Pak Khlong Talat is Thailand’s premier wholesale flower market – supplying florists, other businesses and individuals all over Bangkok and Thailand with fresh flowers, garlands and more – and it also trades in fruit and vegetables. It has a history spanning over six decades, and operates 24 hours a day; it’s a vibrant place to visit and discover another side to Bangkok’s infamous market scene. The Market Experience has a base right inside Pak Khlong Talat flower market itself, from where we operate a wide range of experiences, workshops and classes allowing you to explore and discover the stories of the flower market and the people behind it.
Daily, 24 hours; Yodpiman river boat pier
Which of these world-famous markets have you visited, and which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!