It’s said that when you explore a place, you leave a little piece of yourself and bring back experiences which can be cherished forever. Sometimes, one has the opportunity of bringing back memories in the form of souvenirs. Every city in the world offers travellers something – it could be through culture, history, natural beauty, cuisine or art and craft.
Shopping allows travellers to discover all facets of a city while also indulging in some retail therapy. Another reason why shopping is such a huge part of travel experiences is that it helps the local economy. Everything that a traveller buys from a local vendor supports him and in turn the country’s economy.
What most travellers overlook is that shopping is an opportunity to connect with the locals and learn more about the place. It also gives one a chance to understand the evolution of a city’s history, art and craft. So the next time you are out exploring a new place, we strongly suggest taking a look at the local markets. Who knows what treasures you may find?
All You Need To Know About Shopping
Shopping is sometimes considered frivolous when one is exploring a new place. Gradually though, this thought is changing and people are discovering that shopping is, in fact, a great way to explore the culture of a new place.
This is especially true if you are visiting a popular tourist destination. The local bazaars are where all the activity is and if you want to experience the local culture or interact with the locals – this is the best way.
There are some countries in the world which are especially known for their vibrant bazaars, glittering malls and artisan communities. If the idea of exploring a city for its shopping sounds intriguing to you, here is a shopping guide which can help you.
How to Plan Your Shopping Trips
If you are a shopping enthusiast and shopping is a priority for you, we recommend heading to a place with several markets and malls. A thriving artist community is also a huge draw for those who enjoy shopping and learning more about a community. Another huge crowd puller is shopping festivals which take place around the world during special occasions.
Among the most popular ones, the Dubai Shopping Festival, Istanbul Shopping Festival in Turkey and Cannes Shopping Festival stand out for their vibrancy, huge participation and of course the products.
Tips and Guidelines for a Good Shopping Trip
There are two important things to remember when planning a shopping trip. The most important is preparing an itinerary so you don’t miss out on the best markets. Secondly, one needs to always keep in mind what the place is popular for. For instance, India is popular for its plethora of arts and crafts, whereas Dubai is known for its high-end brands and Paris, on the other hand, is well-known for its high street fashion.
Narrowing your interests is the first step towards preparing a successful and memorable trip. Of course, planning your trip according to the best time to visit also hugely helps. If you head to India during the festival of Diwali, you will be in for a surprise. The entire country is in a celebratory mood and you’ll be treated to a huge number of discounts, making your shopping experience far more memorable. Here are a few packing essentials for a shopping trip:
Best Shopping Destinations in India
If you are a shopping enthusiast and you are travelling in India, you'll be spoilt for choice. Every state, city and town in the country offers travellers something unique to take back. From local produce, art, clothes to jewellery, souvenirs, home decor, footwear and electronics, India is a delight for shopaholics.
The streets are full of vibrant shops and the only thing that counts is having a good eye and great bargaining skills. Here are our favourite places to shop in India.
Delhi is full of shopping places which have become synonymous with travelling in the capital city. High-end shopping malls, old bazaars, flea markets and boutique showrooms – Delhi is a shopper's haven.
Whether you are looking for reasonable shopping options or popular brands, there is a place for everything. In fact, shopping is one of the biggest reasons why Delhi is counted among the top cities in the world for shoppers. From the old-world charm of Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar, the vibrant stalls of Dilli Haat, the packed streets of Sarojini Nagar to the colourful craft shops in Janpath, the glittering malls of South Delhi and the busy lanes of Central Market, Delhi's markets are as good as it can get.
Another great thing about shopping in the capital city is that it caters to a huge audience. You can find first editions of bestsellers in the popular book hub of Daryaganj, first copies of designer wear in Old Delhi and wholesale products in Paharganj and Sadar Bazaar.
Bargaining is a big part of shopping in Delhi's local markets but more often than not, one does get a fair price. Of course, the culture and the warmth of locals is a huge plus when you are exploring this beautiful city.
Jaipur is considered to be one of the best places to shop in India, especially if you are looking for ethnic products. The Pink City has some of the oldest markets in the country and travellers can easily spend an entire day discovering them
Bapu Bazaar, Johri Bazaar, Hawa Mahal market and handloom workshops are the most popular places to shop in Jaipur. But we also recommend shopping in Chokhi Dhani if you are looking for handicrafts. Besides silver jewellery, Jaipur is also popular for bandhani, lac jewellery, blue pottery and mirror work crafts.
Gradually, Jaipur has become a huge hub for wedding shoppers. It could be the quality of products available or the sheer variety, but if you are shopping for special occasions, you must check out Jaipur for jewellery and apparel. Among the must-buys in Jaipur, one should definitely take home block-print products and silver jewellery.
The holy town of Pushkar is one of the lesser-known shopping destinations in India. In fact, the small town has only recently garnered attraction as a haven for backpackers as well as shoppers. With its bustling streets and huge community of artists, Pushkar is ideal for those who want a mix of art, culture and shopping.
You can find anything from handmade bags, ethnic skirts, colourful footwear, silver jewellery to diaries, patchwork bedsheets, embroidered bed sheets, home decor and handmade jewellery. The main market is definitely the best place to shop but you can also look at markets around the temples.
Bargaining will be your biggest asset here and if you manage to strike a rapport with locals, you are in luck. In most cases, budget travellers have to restrict their shopping in order to save for other things. But if you are travelling to Pushkar, you don't need to worry about over-spending.
We are all familiar with Goa's night markets – a tradition which has often captured the fancy of travellers. But what makes these markets special is not what they are selling but the vibe.
Among the best places to shop in Goa, travellers recommend Anjuna Flea market for beachwear, Baga street for jewellery, Arpora night market for jewellery and the city's many boutiques for customised clothes.
For those who are interested in exploring the culture of the beach state, we recommend visiting a couple of fish markets and local bazaars. Away from the chaos of touristy shopping streets, these local shopping hubs will show you a different side of the city. And if you have always wanted to learn more about seafood, there isn't a better place than Goa.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir not only offers unparalleled natural beauty but also a delightful shopping experience. The charming city has a lot to offer from delectable delicacies, amazing crafts to intricate apparel. Once in Srinagar, one has numerous places where one can shop. If you are interested in traditional Kashmiri paper mache or wood carving products, the market at Polo View has everything for you. From tiny paper mache decoratives to grand wood carving designs, you'll be spoilt for choice at this market.
Kashmir is also famous for intricate handwork on suits and shawls. The style of embroidery is unique to Kashmir and is a skill which is passed from generation to generation. If you manage to find original handmade crafts, you must encourage the artists and take home a few pieces. While the products might be slightly expensive, they are definitely worth it. Polo View Market, Lal Chowk and Residency Road are some of the best places to shop for clothes.
At all these markets there's always a scope of bargaining, so remember to ask for the best price while shopping.
Srinagar also has a few government-run Handicrafts and Art emporiums, where you can get everything from apparel, home decor, jewellery, diaries to paper mache items, dry fruits and kesar. These emporiums have a lot of choices which are not exorbitantly priced.
The ‘City of Nawabs’ welcomes shopping enthusiasts with vibrant markets and a heartwarming culture. Street shopping is the best way to explore the city and take home popular local products including attar, pearls and handicrafts. The most popular market is Laad Bazaar where you can buy bangles made from lac. Situated along the famous Charminar, it’s one of the oldest markets in Hyderabad and offers much more than just a shopping experience.
Another thing that one can buy in Hyderabad is pearls. Of course, it’s best if you have some knowledge about the quality of pearls since there is a huge variety available. We recommend heading out with locals since they know the best places to shop.
For those who are looking for home decor, we recommend heading to Antique Market. There is a huge collection of crockery, decorative items and furniture which you can take back home. Bargaining is your best tool if you want to shop in the city.
If you are travelling in Kerala, one of the best places to shop is Kochi. There are a number of old malls and markets where you can pick up local products including spices, antiques and apparel.
Among the popular local markets, one can head to Broadway, MG Road, Jewel Junction and Marine Drive. However, one of the best places to visit as well as shop in Kochi is the area around Synagogue at Fort Cochin. There are a plethora of shops selling paraphernalia which will make the shopaholic in you very happy. From postcards, jewellery, home decor to stationery, knick-knacks, spices and antiques – this market sells everything. Adding to your shopping experience in Kochi are the myriad cafes. Offering strong coffee, South Indian delicacies and bakery treats, the cafes are a great place to relax after an exciting shopping trip.
This may come as a surprise but Ahmedabad is one of the best places to shop in India. In fact, most cities in Gujarat offer shopaholics a memorable experience.
Gujarat's handicrafts are the most popular and make for beautiful gifts and souvenirs. One can also buy bandhani which is a speciality in Ahmedabad and you can find it in most markets.
Ahmedabad's local markets can keep shopaholics quite busy. From the busy streets of Rani No Hajiro Market, Sindhi market, Dhalgarwad to Kapasi – Ahmedabad is a haven for those who enjoy exploring culture through shopping.
Best Shopping Destinations Abroad
Travellers have often claimed that the best way to bring back memories from a place is through pictures, postcards and souvenirs. While shopping might not be on top of the list for most travellers, it is a great way to explore a new city as well as to bring back a tangible memory.
There are several destinations across the world which are popular with travellers for the huge number of things they offer. If you are a shopaholic and would like to plan your trip around best shopping festivals or top places to shop, take a look at the list below:
One could say that Dubai’s claim to fame is its glittering malls and the numerous shopping options. Home to the biggest brands which offer the best discounts, Dubai also holds one of the most popular shopping festivals in the world – Dubai Shopping Festival. Held during the months of January or February, the shopping festival sees tourists from across the world.
One of the biggest reasons for Dubai’s popularity is that it offers much more than a shopping experience. The biggest shopping mall in Dubai is also home to an artificial waterfall, a dancing fountain, a theme park and a snow park to keep children busy.
If malls are not what you are looking for, you can head to the local markets known as souks and take home a variety of things. Dubai spice market and the gold market are some of the most visited markets in the city.
Unarguably the most fashionable city in the world, Paris is home to some of the biggest and most popular designer stores. Travellers have often said that the world of shopping in Paris is unlike any other.
Besides the flea markets, one can shop at stores that have attracted travellers for decades. Among the most popular, Merci is where travellers can head when they want to fulfil their fashion dreams. Offering everything a traveller may need, it’s where you’ll find the best discounts on branded collections.
Another thing that attracts travellers to Paris is the huge number of departmental stores. Le Bon Marché from the 1850s is the most popular as is Printemps and Extravagant Galeries Lafayette.
Singapore is the perfect travel destination. Complete with tourist sites, natural beauty, history, delicious cuisine and warm culture – it’s an ideal tourist destination. But, another thing that makes it one of the best places in the world is its huge variety of shopping options. Whether you are a high-end shopper or prefer local markets and reasonable shopping options, Singapore doesn’t disappoint.
Not only do the malls offer some of the best brands in the world but they also ensure that their budget shoppers don’t feel out of place. It’s also said that when you shop from budget places in Singapore, you don’t need to worry about the quality.
Among the best shopping experiences in the city, we highly recommend Chinatown street market where travellers can pick up traditional artwork, handmade candles and clothes as well as Orchard Road which is a kilometre long stretch of malls and Singapore’s shopping hub. Orchard is also where you will find a great combination of branded and non-branded products.
One must also not forget the captivating Marina Bay Sands complex. An ideal luxury shopping destination, it is home to some of the biggest designer brands and travellers can expect big discounts for the most part of the year.
Seoul is the hub of the best and most unique beauty products in the world. The vibrant streets lined with stores selling an assortment of unique products is sure to tempt you to exceed your shopping budget. While most of the products are reasonable, the sheer variety ensures that one over-shops.
It’s important to remember that Seoul has a no-cash policy so irrespective of what you buy, you must pay through your debit or credit card. It might also help to keep in mind that if you are looking for foreign brands at reasonable prices, you might be in for a surprise. Branded products here are quite expensive and it might be reasonable to check out local boutiques.
Seoul Folk market, Gyeongdong market and Namdaemun market are some of the best places to explore if you are looking at Seoul's local and traditional goods. At the same time, local markets always offer a unique perspective on the culture of a country as well as the everyday way of life.
Kuala Lumpur is home to some of the biggest malls including One Utama which is the world’s fourth-largest mall. With more than 650 shops, a sprawling rooftop garden and Asia’s largest indoor rock climbing facility, Utama should definitely be a part of your itinerary.
Among other popular malls in the city, we recommend visiting Suria KLCC, Starhill Gallery and Pavilion. On the other hand, if you enjoy a street shopping experience, Kuala Lumpur will not disappoint you. Taking you to some of the most chaotic parts of the city, these flea markets are a great way to learn about the culture as well as try local delicacies. The best markets to visit in Kuala Lumpur are Petaling Street which transforms into a bustling night market as soon as the sun sets, Kasturi Walk which is an open-air flea market selling everything from clothes, accessories to home decor and Central Market.
Remember that bargaining is one of the first rules of shopping in Kuala Lumpur but we also recommend setting a budget so you don’t go overboard and end up hoarding things you don’t require.
Hong Kong is one of the most frequented destinations in Asia, owing to its stunning skyscrapers and shopping centres offering all that one can wish for. Surprisingly, Hong Kong is not only one of the best shopping destinations in Asia, but also one of the cheapest. Almost all shopping centres offer a great bargain for shoppers and offer a variety of products including apparel, electronics, handicrafts and cosmetics.
Among the best and most frequented shopping areas on the Hong Kong Island, we recommend visiting Central, Causeway Bay, North Point and Admiralty. On the other big island, the Kowloon, one shouldn't miss Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Jordan.
The central area is also the economic centre of Hong Kong and is lined with popular malls and world-renowned brand stores. The Landmark Mall and IFC Mall are two of the biggest and best shopping areas on Hong Kong Island. At these malls, you'll find brands such as Gucci, Polo Ralph Lauren, Chanel and Apple.
Causeway Bay is considered to be the most popular place to shop in Hong Kong. With several malls, boutique stores and street markets – it’s a haven for shopaholics.
A pro travel tip when you are shopping in Kuala Lumpur is to be cautious and vigilant. In case you are not sure of what you are looking for, shopkeepers will follow you around until you buy something. While in Hong Kong, remember to use your bargaining skills with confidence, and you'll have a great shopping experience.
Which are the best international shopping destinations in the world?
The best international shopping destinations in the world are Milan, Paris, LA, New York, Seoul, Dubai and Singapore.
Name three best shopping destinations in India.
The three best shopping destinations in India are Rajasthan, Delhi and Gujarat.
Which are the best budget shopping destinations in India?
The best budget shopping destinations in India are the main market in Pushkar, Sarojini Nagar market in New Delhi, New Market in Kolkata, Antique Market in Jews Town in Cochin, main market in Omkareshwar, Colaba Causeway in Mumbai and handicraft villages in Orissa.
Name the best shopping destinations in India for handicrafts
The best shopping destinations in India for handicrafts are Kripal Kumbh in Jaipur, Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, Dilli Haat in New Delhi, handicraft villages of Raghurajpur and Pipli in Orissa and Dakshinapan Shopping Center in Kolkata.
Share three best tips for international shopping?
The three best tips for shopping abroad are
Share three best tips for shopping in India?
The three best tips for shopping in India are
Which are the best markets to shop in South India?
The best markets to shop in South India are Laad bazaar in Hyderabad, Mysore Palace and Chamundeshwari Temple in Madurai, Commercial Street in Ooty, Government Oil Factory in Mysore and Tirunelveli in Chennai.
Which are the best markets in New Delhi?
The best markets to shop in New Delhi are Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Janpath, Paharganj, Chawri Bazaar, Ambience Mall, Greater Kailash 1 and Rajouri Garden.
Which are the best markets in the world for electronics?
The best markets in the world for electronics are Huaqiangbei in China, Bangkok in Thailand, Taipei in Taiwan and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Name the best markets for shopping in North East India.
The best markets in North East India are Police Bazar in Shillong, Majuli Island in Assam, Fancy Bazar in Guwahati and Hong Kong market in Dimapur.