Snake charmers, delicious gastronomic concoctions and hidden treasures await you in the markets of North Africa and India. 1st Contact takes you through some of the largest and oldest travel destinations in the world, where to go and how to get the best bargain this festive season!
Travelling to exotic locations is the stuff dreams are made of. But remember to check out what you need before you depart, by contacting 1st Contact Travel Clinic to check on your vaccination requirements when hunting down your bargains in any of these great markets.
The city of Marrakesh hosts one of the most enthralling markets in the world. When the sun sets, the huge market lights up and transforms into a massive open air restaurant. Food stalls of all descriptions open and pepper the air with intoxicating scents of Moroccan cuisine.
“When the sun sets, the huge market lights up and transforms into a massive open air restaurant.”
After a long day of hunting down bargains and haggling for your souvenirs, rest your head in a traditional Riad. Riads are Moroccan guesthouses that resemble the palaces of North Africa. With beautiful traditional architecture every need is taken care of, including guided tours, traditional meals and lavish gardens. Rates do vary, so shop around for a good deal, but haggling isn’t really appropriate.
Khan el-Khalili, Egypt
Khan el-Khalili market, in the Islamic district of Cairo, brings art and commerce together. This large open air market, bustling with activity, can be thirsty work. If you ever find yourself in this situation, get yourself to a traditional coffee shop immediately and have some Hibiscus tea. Hibiscus, or Roselle, is cranberry flavoured tea made from the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. Served hot or cold, it’s an excellent source of vitamin C that’s believed to have been the preferred drink of Pharaohs.
Said to improve circulation, the brew can be a bit tangy at first. Add honey or lemon for your first cup to get used to the taste. Some locals even throw in a fruit mix, so go bananas!
“Rates do vary, so shop around for a good deal, but haggling isn’t really appropriate.”
New Market, Kolkata, India
With over 2000 stalls selling everything imaginable – and more – the New Market can be chaotic, but it should definitely not be missed. Built by the British in 1874, the New Market is still referred to by some as the “Hogg’s” market. Even though the market is segmented according to category, finding your way around can be a complete nightmare. To avoid getting lost you could get yourself a local guide. The guides, known as ‘Coolies’, are available throughout the market and offering a tip at the end of your shopping will be appreciated. Coolies are all over the market and can be very persistent. So, if you don’t have the need for a guide, just remain firm, calm and don’t forget to soak in the whole Indian experience.
For more information regarding the vaccinations that are necessary before entering these countries, contact 1st Contact Travel Clinic today.
Call the Travel Clinic on 0800 856 2475 (free phone within the UK) or visit the website at http://www.1stcontact-travelclinic.com/.