Selling everything from street food to art, markets offer a neat microcosm of a city’s culture. Here are some of Asia’s best
Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo
The world’s busiest fish market is a must-visit for any traveller hungry for sushi and sashimi – walk into just about any shop, and you’ll be guaranteed a mouthwatering meal whipped up from the freshest produce. For an experience to remember, head to the market in the wee hours of the morning to catch the tuna auction. Besides tuna, you can also feast your eyes on other bounty like oysters, octopus, abalone and salmon.
5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku; tsukiji-market.or.jp
Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok
This sprawling market is always filled with tourists eager to snag a good deal (bargaining is a must). You can easily spend an entire day wandering through its labyrinthine lanes, which are filled with stalls selling everything from vintage clothing to housewares, and even pets. There are also vendors selling an excellent selection of Thai street food – perfect for recharging after hours of shopping.
Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd, Khwaeng Lat Yao, Khet Chatuchak; chatuchak.org
Also read: The best places for shopping in Bangkok
Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong
One of the most popular bazaars in Hong Kong, the Temple Street market is where travellers flock for colorful souvenirs of every shape and size. Magnets, wallets, keychains, bottle openers and iconic street and subway signages are just a few of the knick-knacks you can find here.
Shilin Night Market, Taipei
A smorgasbord of flavors, Shi Lin Night Market is a paradise for serious foodies. Head there on an empty stomach – there are food stalls selling everything from oyster omelets to more exotic snacks like duck tongue. Make a beeline for the original branch of Hot Star – this popular store churns out enormous slabs of fried chicken dusted in an addictive five-spice powder.
101 Jihe Rd, Shilin District; Taipei
Ubud Art Market, Bali
You’ll be spoilt for choice in this artsy haven. Aside from vibrant paintings and intricate sculptures, you’ll also find handicrafts like baskets and woven bags, as well as racks of colorful and comfy apparel like lightweight blouses and harem pants. Most of the goods at the market are handmade by local villagers, so they make for excellent souvenirs.
Jln Raya Ubud No. 35, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar
Jalan Alor Street Food Night Market, Kuala Lumpur
While this market is often dismissed as touristy, it undeniably offers some of the city’s tastiest and most interesting food finds. Satisfy your cravings for quintessentially Malaysian food like satay and nasi lemak here. There’s plenty for the intrepid foodie, too – one of the strangest things I’ve ever sampled in the market is a “chicken fish”, which resembles a fish but tastes just like chicken!
Jln Alor, Bukit Bintang
Ky Hoa Night Market, Ho Chi Minh City
The city’s biggest night market – a magnet for the city’s hipsters – is a treasure trove of everything from handicrafts to cosmetics. There’s an array of affordable street food to be had, too, from authentic pho to more adventurous eats like deep-fried tarantulas.
Thong Nhat Stadium, 138 Dao Duy Tu, Binh Thanh District