Whether you’ve a penchant for retail therapy or simply love the vibrancy and get-up-and-go of a good market – Asia boasts some of the most magnificent marketplaces anywhere on the planet.
From Thailand to Indonesia, we’ve scoured the entire continent to bring you a selection of the very best markets to visit on an Asian cruise holiday. So what are you waiting for? Grab your purse and ready yourself for a good barter, as we introduce you to five of the finest markets in all of Asia.
Where? Bangkok, Thailand
Featuring a veritable labyrinth of narrow byways packed to the rafters with authentic Thai wares, Chatuchak delivers an unrivalled market-browsing experience for the curious, albeit courageous, traveller. From jewellery and knick-knacks to sumptuous fodder, you’ll find an endless array of DIY novelties and handmade items in this frenetic Thai marketplace.
Where? Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Within the cool, air-conditioned bazaar that is Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market, a trove of treasures lies waiting to be uncovered. Malaysian craftsmen and traders travel from across the country to sell their wares at this extraordinary market – which takes place in the heart of Kuala Lumpur seven days a week. No matter what authentic wares catch your eye and tickle your fancy, we’re confident you won’t leave this market empty-handed.
Cho Ben Thanh Market
Where? Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Located at the bustling heart of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, the Cho Ben Thanh Market is the city’s largest and most popular market, having stood in the same spot since the early 17th century. Exceedingly tourist-friendly, Cho Ben Thanh features a cavernous market hall where you can buy everything from clothing and home furnishings, to fresh seafood and other locally sourced cuisine.
Phsar Leu Market
Where? Sihanoukville, Cambodia
If you’re looking for the authentic Asian market experience, Phsar Leu Market has retained a modesty, charm and nostalgia that’s lacking in other markets featured on this shortlist – think fresh produce piled high on every corner, an abundance of hand-crafted clothing, and baskets of suspicious seafood you’d do well to avoid. Despite its modest size, Phsar Leu attracts plenty of tourists thanks to its accessible location in the heart of Sihanoukville city.
Where? Bali, Indonesia
Port call in Bali, and you’d be hard-pressed to avoid the countless street markets that take place across the island. By far the biggest and most accessible of these is Badung, a traditional Indonesian market which attracts an eccentric assortment of vendors. Within this open-air and wholly camera-friendly market, you’ll find a comprehensive range of authentic Indonesian wares – including traditional ikat weave cloths and carved wooden knick-knacks – making it the perfect place to pick up a souvenir for friends and family back home.
All this talk of Asian markets left you yearning for a trip to the continent? Visit the Cruise1st Australia website, where we feature a comprehensive range of upcoming cruise breaks to Southeast Asia. If you need any help finding the cruise that’s right for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Cruise1st Australia team on 1300 857 345.