The hustle and bustle of Asia may tire out the weary traveller. But what gives more joy than knowing you’ve just got yourself an excellent bargain? That’s when night markets come into play. Lively, colourful and (most often) full of good food and deals, it’s one sure way to enjoy a city. Here are a few of our favourites across Asia. Happy travels!
The night markets of Bangkok are famous, but our favourite is the Ratchada Rot Fai in the centre of town. Best known for its vast mast of coloured tents, the market is the perfect size for a stroll—large enough to be interesting but not too big to get lost in. You’ll find everything from linen separates, handmade jewelry, cane bags to an impromptu manicure at the many nail art stations. It’s also surrounded by snacks stalls where you’ll find everything from an Instagrammable rainbow cheese sandwich to the staple, mango sticky rice. Our advice? Try it all.
Lights may guide you home, but in Hong Kong, the bright neon signs will probably take you to its night markets. It’s the merging point where locals and tourists commune, the former to do their weekly shopping, and tourists to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Hong Kong. We recommend going to the Stanley Market and Mong Kok to get your hands on affordable souvenirs, clothes and even electronics! Shop, make merry and yes, have some of those renowned dumplings.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An has all the appeal for a traveller- narrow streets, lots of colour and lit up lanterns all the way. The Hoi An Night Market is even more charming, and is a must-do activity if you find yourself in the City of Lanterns. Walk around and souvenirs to take back home, paper lanterns, trinkets and the goods you’ll get in a night maket—only the ambience here is ten times prettier.
What have you even done in Taiwan if not visited Taipei’s Shilin Night Market? While there are many small night markets in the country, what sets Shilin apart from the rest is the sheer amount of good food you get here. The streets and alleys are lined with food carts and stalls serving local dishes such as the controversial stinky tofu, oyster omelette, pineapple cake, among others. You’ll find amidst all this a few stalls for arcade games and knick-knacks as well—everything you want from a good night market.
Although shopping is often the last thing on a person’s mind in Goa, there are some flea markets that are worth the bike-ride to. If you have time in the day, Anjuna’s flea market is extensive and full of gems – from seashell jewellery to tank tops you’ll love. Another market to look out for is the weekly Arpora Night Market, which is set up every Saturday.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
The first of its kind in Cambodia, Angkor Night Market is a lively, bustling marketplace that is a souvenir treasure trove. Running parallel to the popular Pub Street, people love to walk around this packed, if small, market and then walking to popular pubs such as Angkor What! and Red Piano. The market is set up every day from 5pm till midnight.