Ratchada Night Bazaar, Bangkok
Every Saturday night from 18:30 to 2:00 the parking lot outside the Ratchadapisek metro station is bustling with activity as Thais and tourists swarm for cheap leather handbags, shoes, antiques and furniture. The market started out as a place for used scooters and car parts, and still has a dedicated row of vintage motorbikes for your perusal. Vinyl Thai records and vintage cameras are just some of the great finds you’ll dig up, and food stalls are sprinkled throughout to keep you fueled through the night.
Marrakech Night Market, Morocco
At night, The Old City’s main square transforms into open-air food stalls, snake charmers and a healthy dose of chaos. Gnawa drummers provide the soundtrack, while fortune-tellers add a mystical element. Henna tattoos are popular, as are arts and crafts, but the real draw is the food. Heaping plates of couscous, grilled chicken and lamb brochettes are not to be missed.
Ningxia Night Market, Taipei
A small market with big flavor, Ningxia Night Market is a culinary delight. Taiwan is essentially the world’s night market haven, with at least 30 in only the northern half. This one is special for its 200 vendors representing food from across the country. Extra points for using eco-friendly chopsticks, an inceptor that doesn’t allow grease in the sewage system and being overall more green than most markets. Every dish is fantastic, but bawan, a dumpling stuffed with meat, bamboo shoots and mushrooms, is incredible, and fish balls, or tan shui, are famous.
Barranco Night Market, Lima, Peru
Lima’s neighborhoods host night markets from Barranco to the beach, great for Peruvian handicrafts and for people watching. The markets are small and intimate, with maybe a dozen or so vendors at each. Gourd art is one of Peru’s most traditional handicrafts, and can be found in many colorful and intricate designs. Seed jewelry and alpaca shawls are just some of the other treats you can pick up while shopping among the neighborhoods peñas, or music venues.
Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos
This is an extensive market bursting with tradition and charm. The sleepy city of Luang Prabang gets a surprising boost as the sun sets and more than 300 handicraft vendors lay out their wares. Textiles, tea and paintings make up most of the half-mile stretch, and all are sold at bargain prices. You’ll also find traditional embroideries and rare spices. Head down Sisavangvong Road toward the Mekong River for a shopping break and some delicious food.
Audrix Night Market, France
This market is quaint in all senses of the word. Old-fashioned, attractive and sweet, the tiny village square opens up from mid-June through September to serve food from the Périgord Noir region of southwest France. Go for anything with walnuts, lamb and of course local wine.
Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong
Also known as “Men’s Street,” for its unique wares like watches, condoms and dress suits, not to mention tons of electronics, Temple Street is the place to be for locals and tourists in Hong Kong. Chinese memorabilia and women’s fashion can also be found, and make sure to haggle over prices. The street food stalls, or dai pai dong, dish up local cuisine while fortune-tellers sit ready to determine your fate. The market is great for knockoffs, and though it opens at 4 p.m., don’t go until after dark when it gets busy.
The Summer Night Market, Richmond, BC
Food and dance turn Richmond’s summer market into a celebration of its large immigrant population. Latin salsa groups mix with Asian singers amid an array of international food in the Vancouver suburb. Thai, Chinese and Italian dishes are all represented here, and while everything is delicious, the market has some of North America’s best Chinese food. More than 200 vendors haggle jokingly with visitors over crafts, clothing and accessories.
Donghuamen Snack Night Market, Beijing, China
This is the market for adventurous eaters. Scorpions, chicken hearts, cicadas, snakes and sea stars are served in heaping portions, with delicacies to represent every region of China. Insects aren’t your thing? Reptiles either? No worries. Noodle soup, chicken and beef skewers, plenty of colorful sweets and of course dumplings are easy to find. Come hungry and prepare for a swarm. (You are in China after all).
Suzuki Night Market, Melbourne, Australia
From November to February each year, Melbourne’s famous Queen Victoria market hosts a night market on Wednesdays, highlighting artisan goods and international cuisine. The market features Italian, French, Ethiopian, Spanish, Mauritanian and Mexican, to name a few, and for only a few dollars per dish. The best part is, they’re licensed to serve alcohol, so local wine and sangria flow freely, making the live entertainment even more enjoyable. It’s a favorite for locals and a must for tourists, so expect it to be packed. Earlybirds get the tables.