Europe 2016 Day 11.3: The Bazaars


I got off the ferry at the Eminönü ferry terminal and quickly leisurely made my way across the main street and through some buildings…

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And found myself in a bazaar looking place. I thought I have arrived at the Spice Bazaar, but apparently… not yet. This is called the Flower Bazaar, and it is sort of like next to the Spice Bazaar. It is much smaller and strangely, even though it is called the Flower Bazaar, most of the stalls here sell pets and pet related items. 🙄

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Flower Bazaar

Cutting across the Flower Bazaar, I arrived at the back of this somewhat magnificent mosque. It is called the Yeni Cami (New Mosque).

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Yeni Cami
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Lovely fountain pond
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Ahh… there it is. The entrance to the Spice Bazaar

The Turkish name of this bazaar is actually Mısır Çarşısı, so technically this place should be called the Egyptian Bazaar. But because this bazaar sells mostly spices, it is also called the Spice Bazaar.

No, I did not buy any spices here. It would be a waste of money, I don’t even know how to use them…

I did not enjoy being in here. Every 5 steps I took, someone approached me and claimed to be my long lost best friend. Or that he has a Malaysian wife. When Malaysian did not elicit any response,  it changed to Singaporean/Thai/Vietnamese/Japanese. It was too much. I quickly realized I had to GTFO from here. Get The F**k Out.

I lasted not more than 2 minutes, and it took me another 5 minutes to finally be able to squeeze my way out of “hell”.

Then I decided to make my way to the Grand Bazaar.

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Through this,
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And this,
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And this
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To this…

I was told that the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered marketplace in the world.

I suppose this would be a dream place to many. It is historical site + architecture + shopping, three in one package. But not me. I was annoyed with having to evade so many “new best friends” in the Spice Bazaar, and the situation was much worse here, because while there the crowd is not as terrible here because the place is so much larger, there are infinitely more shops in this bazaar.

And seriously, this place is a real f**king labyrinth! The place is called the Grand Bazaar, but the bazaar is made up of a few different sub bazaars, like the Antique Bazaar, Leather Bazaar, Jewelry Bazaar etc.

If the Spice Bazaar was hell to me, then this Grand Bazaar was worse than hell to me! 🙁

2 minutes into the bazaar and I made it my mission to quickly find an exit to GTFO
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Finally, after 15 minutes… I’m out!
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Wow! The open street is so much better!

I spent less than 30 minutes combined in the two most famous bazaars of Istanbul. And I will never want to come back, ever again.

Of course, it is just me. I don’t deal well with crowds, and especially not with commercial harassment. That’s what those “new best friends” acts are, right? But I can imagine many others would enjoy these places. After all, the bazaars have got glowing reviews from a great many travel bloggers.

Just not from me. Yep…


  1. I dont like crowds too. That is why I don’t go to Petaling Street in my over 20 years living in the Klang Valley. Even when travelling, I like to take the road less travelled. Cheh wah… but always ended up at tourists spot jugak 😛

  2. Like what you said to the other commenters, it is probably because you were alone and people tried to friend you for all the wrong reasons. I don’t know about you, but when I see a crowd up ahead, I’m not the kind to go barging into it…and if I do, then I will turn around and immediately go backwards 🙄

    I won’t be surprised if all those bags are made out of fake leather.

    • I thought I should at least go in and see what the fuss is all about. And so I did, and bailed as quickly as I could. 🙄

    • Should go also lah, famous ma, who knows you will like it leh. Go with your partner, don’t go alone, should be okay one. 🙄

  3. Ooo I love those colourful bazaars! Even I don’t buy anything, I would love to stroll and look see. I know there are these Middle East peddlers in KL who also harass every shopper until they themselves surrendered. LOL

    Tulips seem to be a favourite with foreign countries. When I saw the first tulips in Japan years ago, I was so excited and had to press them all. I was actually shocked that they were quite crispy hard as the imported ones sold in our local florists were so soft like chee cheong fun.

    • It would be difficult to stroll here, too many people. Maybe it would be better early in the mornings. 🙄

  4. Hahahah everyone has a Malaysian relative. I don’t think I got harassed at all in the bazaars but I didn’t enjoy it either. Too many people. The spice bazaar was pretty cool to walk through and smell the spices and sample turkish delights, but that was all. I also went into the Grand Bazaar and came out 10 minutes later. But then again, I was also with D and he has no patience for strolling and window shopping.

    • I guess the harassing is reserved to solo travelers. Hahaha I can tolerate strolling and window shopping, in fact I would’ve spent more time at the Grand Bazaar if not for the harassment 🙄 ..

  5. Jakun here, sorry I don’t fancy pets bazaar or spice bazaar, I prefer dresses+bags+shoes bazaar, or Thomas&Friends/Peppa Pig/Robocar Poli bazaar.. I know die also must visit the spice bazaar, they are famous for it.. I would buy some bottles of blended spices.. Oohh wait, there’s ONE thing I MUST buy – saffron (spice)/saffron (powder).. I always see in Food Network, but never tasted before, I think worth to buy there kua..

    • Saffron is very expensive! And it is not that common in Istanbul also. This one Spain and Morocco more common. 😛

  6. When we went to the Grand Bazaar in 1997, it was okay, no harassment, I quite like the Grand Bazaar though, maybe because I like to look look see see

    • Maybe it was so long ago and things were different. Or maybe it was because you were in a group and I was alone. 🙄

  7. I also don’t like all these new best friends so I don’t think I dare to attempt to go to these bazaars. Hahahaha, I don’t think I will visit Turkey lah, better save money to go to Spain for a longer period.

    • I think they only aim solo travelers, so maybe you won’t be harassed like I did. I think Turkey is not a bad place to visit though, just need to be wary of touts and “new best friends”… 🙄

  8. Oh really so many new friends made if not careful? I didn’t have that in the 4 countries I went the other time. Maybe I was not a good target cos on wheelchair whereas you are so young and available.. hahahaahaa… Yeah, I can imagine why you wanted to get out of there fast… not a good place to linger longer…

    • Because you went to those Western Europe countries, where they are “more civilized” when it comes to trying to make tourist money. 😉

  9. strange…I did not get much harassment in this bazaar last time….not that I can recall any…Perhaps I wasn’t walking alone back then….I guess they only targeted single/soloist traveller…LOL! This bazaar sells lotsa souvenirs, and I remember of wanting to buy a genie lamp! but thinking that it is fragile, I hav to forget my intention.

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