Southeast Asian markets are considered to have some of the best markets in the world. They are home to the world’s largest markets, with some of these markets in Thailand or Vietnam having thousands of sellers and shops.
Southeast Asia offers a variety of markets, large and small, all specializing in their own areas such as crafts, food, and art. Smaller markets can be anywhere from 50 to 300 vendors. Larger markets can have anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 vendors.
Southeast Asian markets are also not limited to their size, but also their terrain type. There are multiple market types varying from floating, wet, night, and dry markets.
Floating markets are located in the water; meanwhile, wet markets remain on land and specialize in fresh produce such as meats, fish, and other perishable goods. Wet markets are better understood as non-supermarket setting markets that sell perishable goods.
Night markets can sell all types of products, both perishable and non-perishable. The only distinction is that night markets take place from sunset to late into the night. Dry markets, on the other hand, specialize in fabrics, kitchenware, and electronics.
Themes typically section off these markets but navigating through them can be challenging due to their large size. Whenever visiting a large market in Southeast Asia, be sure to note the entrance you start from and pin it on Google maps to find your way back there again.
At Chatuchak Weekend Market, you’ll be greeted by vibrant colors, mazes with street vendors, and everything else you could think of. The market is located in Northern Bangkok and is one of the largest markets in the world.
Chatuchak Weekend Market has an indoor and outdoor market with almost 10,000 vendors. You’ll find handicrafts, vintage items, comic books, souvenirs, and local street food in the maze of vendors.
Nearby you will also find Chatuchak Park, a park filled with greenery and peaceful relaxing spots. You can easily visit the park to unwind after a hectic shopping day. Remember to keep an eye on your purse and spend wisely while you’re exploring the country!
Located in Chiang Mai, the Night Bazaar offers a variety of Thai handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, and food. The Night Bazaar also has live entertainment on both the weekdays and weekends!
For anyone looking to experience authentic Khoisan and Thai food, the Night Bazaar is a must-visit location.
The Long Bien Market has continued to boom in Hanoi, Vietnam, since its opening in 1992. The market is located under the Long Bien bridge and is an important destination for trade.
The Long Bein Market was named after the bridge to honor the growth and challenges of Vietnam’s capital. Transporters work day and night to haul their agricultural products to this booming location.
At the market, visitors will encounter some of the cheapest produce in the region and find unique local tropical fruit selections such as jackfruit, lychee, longan, durian, and guava. Visitors should try the famous gio cake, crab paste vermicelli, and pho.
Every night in the city center of Laos, you will find the Luang Prabang Night Market. The Luang Prabang Night Market offers visitors affordable dining options, clothing, and souvenirs.
The market is open from 5 pm to 11 pm every evening and is hard to miss if you are in the area. During the market’s hours of operation, roads are closed to provide for the hundreds of vendors ready for nightlife.
Some food options include crepes, baguettes, oreo smoothies, BBQ, and baked goods.
Amphawa Floating Market is located near Bangkok and is open Friday to Sunday every week. The market is on the water, and tourists can take a boat ride to the floating market, where they’ll be greeted by fresh produce and traditional foods.
Sellers will be aboard boats and often cook or carry their produce aboard! For a unique shopping experience on the water, Amphawa Floating Market is a must-see.
Every day from 4:30 pm to 10 pm, the Hoi An Night Market booms with street food, souvenirs, and clothing vendors looking to serve the people of Vietnam. The market brings an upbeat environment in a cozy population of 50 vendors.
The Hoi An Market overlooks the Thu Bon River and is a popular photography spot due to its colorful lanterns illuminating the night sky.
If you ever find yourself in Singapore, you must visit the country’s largest and cheapest shopping location. The Bugis Street Market is a 3-story building with clothing, accessories, and cosmetics.
The market offers vibrant colored signs promoting the lowest prices in the country. It is open daily from 11 am to 10 pm and near the Vintage Camera Museum and Sultan Mosque.
The Angkor Night Market is Cambodia’s first ever night market. For first-time tourists planning their travel itinerary and anyone looking for souvenirs that stray away from the basic “I heart Cambodia” souvenirs, the Angkor Night Market is the place to go.
Here you can find shirts and souvenirs for as low as 1 USD! The market is home to local artisans as they sell tapestries, paintings, wood carvings, and stone carvings. You can also barter with the vendors since they are all locally run businesses.
All money spent at the market goes towards the local community and enables them to continue hosting the market.
If you love arts and crafts and bartering, the Sukawati Art Market is the place for you. At the Sukawati Art Market, vendors sell produce, souvenirs such as dreamcatchers, and unique handmade trinkets.
Most vendors are willing to significantly cut their goods’ prices due to their strong belief in selling items at wholesale value. For this reason, bartering has become a way of life with local sellers.
At the center of Malaysian culture, we find the Central Market. Malaysians united in 1888 to open the market to target tourists, art enthusiasts, and the occasional shopper.
Tourists worldwide love traveling to the Central Market due to its Malaysian architecture and budget-friendly retail experience.
The market consists of 300 shops, including restaurants, clothing stores, and handicrafts.
Wherever you are in Southeast Asia, visiting a local or night market is a must as it is extremely vibrant and you get a good local experience trying their local dishes, produce, and hunt for unique finds and souvenirs. Whether you decide to check out a floating market in Vietnam or walk your way into a bustling night market, immerse yourself in the culture, atmosphere and enjoy the experience.