At Remote Lands, we love immersing ourselves in the colorful cornucopia of markets and shopping opportunities throughout Asia. Whether it’s a visit to the famed Tsukiji Wholesale Market of Tokyo or exploring Bangkok’s vast Chatuchak weekend bazaar, shopping for a vibrant sari in Rajasthan or a fitting for a bespoke suit in Hong Kong, we carve out time in itineraries to take home the tangible and intangible alike. For serious antique and private art collectors, we know the spots for you too.
Shanghai offers some of China’s most exciting shopping, including the Xintiandi district, where old shikumen buildings were saved and converted to boutiques, clubs and restaurants. Similarly, 1933 Shanghai is a gigantic Art Deco factory repurposed into a thriving commercial and cultural center.In Beijing, Liulichang Street (or “Antique Street”) is lined with dealers in precious coins, sculpture, painting, calligraphy and embroidery, while Donghuamen and Wangfujing are quintessential Asian night markets. Panjiayuan, the “Dirt Market,” is the capital’s largest antiques and flea market, and with caveat emptor caution, is a fascinating spectacle. Hong Kong remains a top spot in Asia for custom-made men’s and women’s clothing.
India’s shopping opportunities are as diverse as the country itself. Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk market boast stalls selling every kind of delicacy imaginable and closely guarded recipes. By contrast, New Delhi’s swanky Santushti complex is home to high-end boutiques. Jaipur’s Gem Palace has fashioned jewelry for generations of royalty and visitors alike, while Amber road is lined with excellent dealers in textiles, art and antiques. Pilgrims to Agra can pick up marble-inlay tabletops sourced from the same quarry as the Taj Mahal. And Varanasi’s famed silks satisfied even Buddha, who supposedly was clad in Benares cloth when he attained nirvana.
While no longer the unspoiled paradise of yesteryear, Bali’s boom over the past decade has been a boon to shoppers of all stripes. Seminyak and Kuta, the island’s prime beach areas, now sport hip clothing and jewelry boutiques from expat and local designers alike, as well as contemporary art galleries. Ubud, Bali’s cultural heartland, is the best choice for stores specializing in furniture, textiles, handicrafts, antiques and more; Macan Tidur, which counts ornate brocades from Sumatra among its wares, is one of the best. And don’t leave Indonesia without a batik, the stencilled and dyed fabrics that find function in everything from shawls to table runners and pillow covers.
Japan’s most famous market experience is the sprawling Tsukiji Wholesale Market, though not for the squeamish: workers filleting eels, blubbery raw whale meat, wriggling octopi and more are par for the course here. In stark contrast is the polished presentation of Tokyo’s gleaming department stores, while the hip boutiques of Omotesando and Aoyama draw the young fashion-forward crowd. Kyoto is home to traditional handicrafts of exquisite technique, while the Noto Peninsula, conduit to Kanazawa, is renowned for its lacquerware. Remote Lands also handles specialized requests like purchasing ukiyo-e, the iconic Edo-era woodblock prints.
Bangkok’s labyrinthine Chatuchak ba is the world’s largest flea market, with everything under the sun for sale, from antiques to clothing and accessories and even pets. The vast riverside pak klong talat, also in the Thai capital, is another must see for its myriad wholesale flower and produce offerings and informal lunch grills. The silks of Jim Thompson House are also a perennial purchase. Chiang Mai’s vast night market also has goods for everyone, while local fresh markets equip those bound for cooking classes. In Chiang Rai, visitors can venture across the border with Myanmar to experience local handicraft and produce markets in Tachilek.
This is just a selection of the Asia shopping and market experiences Remote Lands can incorporate into your Asia luxury holiday. Please contact us today for more information and to begin planning your trip.