5 shopping sprees for backpackers in Asia.

Traveling for a long time means living minimalistic, right from the backpack and it gives you valuable lessons of taking care of importnant things and not spending too much on things you can’t use on the way. That means no souvenirs! Almost 🙂 Here are some of the best markets we’ve been in these months and are also appropriate for the ones with a tighter budget:

1.) Sunday night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

One of the many food stalls.
Hands down, the best market in Asia 🙂 We were so excited about it after the first visit we planned our trip around Thailand so we could have another visit. So much food to try, all freshly made on the stalls. Sweets, drinks, rolls, fruit. Heaven for Mic. And then there are souvenirs, clothes, jewelry. My things 🙂 Clothes are very good quality and last for a long time, even while traveling.

  • ambiance: beautiful to the eye, colorful souvenirs not to mention the food
  • value for money: cheap food and quality clothes
  • variety: huge!
  • social experience: loads of tourists

2.) Wednesday flea market in Goa, India.

Russians and Indians, living in harmony. Sort of.
Mixture of everything in one place, where everyone wants you to look at their stuff. And when you do, you’re finished 🙂 Scarves, pants, shirts, jewelry, incense, precious stones and above all. Lots of Russians. You’ll have to use some bargaining skills but the more you move to the edge of the market, the easier will be.

  • ambiance: interesting but go there relaxed so you don’t go crazy 🙂
  • value for money: ok, but be careful about the quality and bargain
  • variety: medium, lots of pepole sell the same things
  • social experience: unique- crazy shouting Indians, mixed with Russian words

3.) Boutique shops in Ubud, Indonesia.

Shopping in another world. Bali hindu ornaments.
From raw desserts to wholemeal bread, really cool yoga leggings or natural cosmetics and essential oils. All this and more you can find in little boutique shops in Ubud. It’s true, some things are very expensive but if you have some time you can find some special stuff for a real bargain.

  • ambiance: very relaxed, smells because of all the incense
  • value for money: Ubud has its price, but that also men higher quality
  • variety: medium, lots of yoga, organic, natural stuff themed shops
  • social experience: lots of Americans who are seeking themselves

4.) Bogyoke market in Yangon, Mynmar.

Famous thanakha on the cheeks of Myanmar women. Made in portable versions :)
Myanmar is definitely a country worth buying souvenirs in. Especially (low quality) jade products can make a beautiful souvenir for a budget friendly price. It’s also a clothes market and art market. A place where we’ve seen the real jade and diamonds, just by the way 🙂

  • ambiance: quite formal, but you find very nice people in smaller shops
  • value for money: one of the best places for unique souvenirs
  • variety: some; lots of jade products which are beautiful
  • social experience: polite locals, almost like Europe.

5.) Tibetan shops on the way to ABC, Nepal.

On the way to the mountains, you'll see some unique souvenirs.
While trekking on ABC Annapurna in Nepal there are several Tibetan people who have small shops full of jewelry with orange and turquoise stones, and clothes for a really nice price. They are Tibetan refugees who send money to their families. It’s also a very special souvenir as you know how hard and expensive it is to go to Tibet.

  • ambiance: surreal! Look at those mountains.
  • value for money: who cares, look at those mountains (it’s actually very cheap)
  • variety: not really, but the things they have are unique
  • social experience: beautiful people with lots of stories to tell. Just listen. And look at the mountains 🙂
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