The Friendly Planet Newsletter

Published Oct 9, 2021
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IMOT photo by Dana Friedlander
Enticing worldwide markets
Our travelers consistently report (and we enthusiastically agree) that a visit to a local market ranks among the most enjoyable activities while on tour, and this is true across all destinations. It's at the local markets that you find the authentic foods, spices, clothing, artifacts and so much more. You won't find a better place to rub shoulders with the locals while practicing the fine art of negotiation. The markets are noisy places, with the shouts of merchants offering their wares rising above a thrum of continuous, friendly banter. Enticing aromas of local food cooked on-site blend with the pungent odors of fresh meats, fish and sometimes unrecognizable edibles that you'll want to photograph if not taste. Traditional, colorful clothing and textiles flutter above the crowded stalls, often appearing like a flapping roof over the market's lanes. A visit to one of these markets is an exciting part of any itinerary, and at Friendly Planet, we make sure to include the best for you to experience.
This bustling market is the largest in Tel Aviv and a perfect place to shop with the locals for the freshest fruits and vegetables, fragrant spices, clothing and even the newest electronics.
Carmel Market
  • Located: Tel Aviv, Israel
  • What you'll find: A variety of boutique stalls, food vendors, small eateries and market produce, selling everything from freshly baked bread to dates, candy, exotic spices, and meat.
  • Popular items: Fresh fruit, Halva, Druze Pita
  • Fun Fact: Carmel Market is the oldest and most popular food market in Tel Aviv.
  • Tour: Discover Israel
A colorful Indian market featuring some of the finest woven products in the region handcrafted by the OtavaleƱo indigenous locals.
Otavalo Market
  • Located: Otavalo, Ecuador
  • What you'll find: Multicolored sweaters, ponchos, hats, necklaces and more as well as fruit, vegetables, and delicious street food.
  • Popular items: Otavalo textiles, indigenous embroidered clothing, alpaca blanket
  • Fun Fact: The Otavalo Market Ecuador dates back to pre-Incan times!
  • Tour: Peru, Galapagos Islands & Quito
Thailand's famous market of floating stalls bustling with boats and vendors selling tropical fruits and other delights.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • Located: Ratchaburi, Thailand
  • What you'll find: fresh produce, dry goods, souvenirs, street food cooked on-site, local herbs and spices, assorted silks, and handcrafted jewelry
  • Popular items: Kanom Krok (Thai coconut pancakes), fresh mango, Thai dumplings
  • Fun Fact: Damnoen Saduak is the straightest and longest canal in Thailand.
  • Tour: A Taste of Thailand
One of the best markets in the region, Pisac, located in the Sacred Valley, is the place to find vibrant textiles, souvenirs, delicious empanadas for snacking while shopping, and hand-made crafts and clothing made by Peruvian artisans.
Pisac Market
  • Located: Pisac, Peru
  • What you'll find: Woven clothing, ceramics, hand-painted beads, coca leaves, alpaca wool, instruments, and local cuisine
  • Popular items: frazadas (colorfully woven blankets), empanadas, alpaca clothing
  • Fun Fact: On Sundays, the local Quechua communities come adorned in their traditional clothing to set up shop on the main square, giving the market an authentic feel.
  • Tour: Exotic Peru
A maze of covered walkways brimming with hundreds of retailers offering an array of eye-catching gold pieces crafted in a variety of carats.
Diera Gold Souk
  • Located: Deira, Dubai
  • What you'll find: Gold chain sold by the centimeter (an impressive sight!), diamond-encrusted ornaments, strings of pearls, platinum and silver
  • Popular items: Anything gold, of course!
  • Fun Fact: The Deira Gold Souk is the largest gold market to exist in the world, holding roughly 10-15 tons of gold.
  • Tour: Dazzling Dubai
Satiate your pallet and ignite your senses with the aromatic spices wafting through the air of this famous Marrakech market.
Jemaa el-Fna Square
  • Located: Marrakech, Morocco
  • What you'll find: An array of spices including saffron, paprika, cayenne, ginger, chili (harissa), cinnamon, and white and black pepper.
  • Popular items: Ras El Hanout (spice blend), saffron, paprika, and cumin
  • Fun Fact: Some spice blends have as many as 35 different spices in them!
  • Tour: Best of Morocco
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