It is time to max out your luggage space. Source: Shutterstock.

THERE are many ways to lift one’s mood, but retail therapy is undoubtedly a popular choice even if you are not a shopaholic by nature.

Besides, shopping overseas can be a way to get to know a place as you wander through charming streets and markets, and sift through rows and racks of goodies to bring back something tangible from your travel experience.

So whether you are a window shopper, bargain hunter or limited edition collector, here are some Asia-Pacific destinations to consider to get your money’s worth:

Bangkok, Thailand

Thinking of shopping around the clock? Then you are going to love Thailand’s capital, the city that truly never sleeps. The real bargains can be found in Bangkok’s markets where you can not only find everything from fashion to home décor items to souvenirs but also satisfy the inner bargain-hunter by negotiating prices you’re comfortable paying.

The Chatuchak weekend market is one of the biggest markets in the world, with more than 15,000 booths and over 200,000 visitors on a typical weekend. For the night owls, Bangkok is also teeming with lively night markets such as Talad Rod Fai, Khao San Night Market, and Patpong Night Market.

Seoul, South Korea

Ranked the seventh most popular destination in Asia in 2018, Seoul is not just a haven for the K-Pop fans, but also a shopaholic’s paradise. With malls and markets that are open till wee hours of the morning, be prepared to shop till you drop.

If you are traveling with a few friends, check out the wholesale malls at the Dongdaemun shopping district where you get the best prices if you purchase three or more items or the bustling Myeongdong street filled with rows upon rows of retail outlets. For more value-shopping, head to the Ewha Woman’s University shopping street, which caters to the nearby university students with pocket-friendly prices.

Osaka, Japan

Most people know Osaka for its savory pancake, Okonomiyaki, or the famous tourist site, Osaka Castle, but you might not be so familiar with the vintage treasures Osaka hides in its streets.

Antique lovers will have a field day at Oimatsu-Dori Street’s eclectic antiques enclave. With around 90 shops and art galleries, the area used to be a town for academics to gather and has now become home to antique dealers after World War II.

Istanbul, Turkey

A visit to Istanbul is not complete without making a trip to the famed Spice Bazaar, a colorful market where you can not only buy local spices, but also Turkish coffee and dried fruits, as well as lovely souvenir items like the Nazar, an eye-shaped amulet, or beautiful Iznik ceramics in the form of tiles, plates and bowls! Remember to be bold when bargaining prices with the vendors.

See and be seen at Istanbul’s up-and-coming district Karakoy, where you can explore galleries to have a taste of Turkey’s burgeoning art scene and shop local designs at the Souq Karakoy, a pop-up bazaar.




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