If you think of a bazaar as small, think again, as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul has over 4000 stalls, and sometimes over a quarter of a million visitors daily! Shopping here is an incredible experience, this place is nuts! It’s not just buying, but bargaining and chatting with sellers that make the experience so special and unique. You can forget the conventional shopping process, as shopping in a Turkish Bazaar is more similar to acting than anything! Here are some tips that will help you have a good encounter when shopping Turkish style!
- Prepare your state of mind beforehand; it may be smoky and noisy, but also full of colour, and a real feast for the eyes. You will be constantly pestered to buy, but treat it as a game and never get angry. The word ‘no’ has a tendency to be ignored, so just walk on to the next stall. Avoid touching items, as it gives a signal that you want to buy.
- If you see something you want to actually buy, then haggle, the market vendors won’t be offended. They are professionals at selling, so just have in your mind what price you would pay and stick to it. Look around you will almost certainly find a similar item on another stand. Bargaining works and that’s why customer interaction is crucial to the bazaar stall holders. Great deals can be had if you can keep your nerve through the bargaining process, take advantage as no price is fixed.
- Don’t take masses of money with you and keep it safe. Expensive items can be reserved.
- Don’t try and do the whole lot in one visit. A lot of stalls have the same or similar goods for sale, such as Turkish lamps, souvenirs, carpets, and jewellery. Just visit part of the bazaar then retreat for a rest at a local bar and tackle another area later.
To visit the enchanting country of Turkey and miss a bazaar would definitely be a shame. Instead, take a deep breath, plunge in and enjoy the magical, bustling, unique and colourful world of a Turkish bazaar.