When traveling to Istanbul, you’ll find that there are an incredible number of shops and markets to visit. Most people put the Grand and Spice Bazaars on the top of their lists, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer selection available in these spaces. If you want to get the most out of your shopping trip, then you may want to do a little research ahead of time to prepare yourself for the visit.
Know the Signs of a Quality Vendor
As more people travel to Istanbul, it becomes easier for questionable vendors to take advantage of shoppers who may not know what to expect or look for. While there are vendors in the Spice Bazaar offering little knick-knacks and a range of products, the best vendors will specialize in a certain category. This means that you may have to visit one to find the dried fruits you want and another for quality caviar, but it’s the best way to get the high quality items that deserve to be represented in the Spice Bazaar.
Taste Test and Vacuum Pack
Unlike the local grocery store, the Spice Bazaar encourages people to taste before they buy. When you try an item for yourself, it’s easier to understand why it may cost a little more or if it’s the right one for you. If you’re making a purchase to take home with you, ask to have it vacuum packed. This will help keep it fresh and avoid any messes in your suitcase.
All About Bargaining
When you get into the Grand Bazaar, be prepared to bargain. Vendors in this area tend to be grouped together based on the merchandise they’re offering, so it’s easy for you to see what the competition has to offer. Many shops have sales people who are expected to reach a certain quota and they’re working on a commission. They may be more likely to discount prices early in the day when they want to be sure that they’ll reach their quota. Once their numbers are met later in the day, they may focus more on impressing their boss with high profit levels and getting a good commission for themselves. Many people find that the best time to shop is just before lunch. Take care to avoid looking too interested. If a vendor sees that you’re willing to go across the aisle and buy from the competition, he’ll be more likely to bargain with you.
Talk to the Locals
If you’re looking for something specific, then you may not want to spend a day just traversing the aisles of the Bazaars. Talk to the locals to find out where certain items might be found. When you can go directly to the appropriate aisle, you’ll save valuable time and avoid frustration. Here at Hotel Büyük Keban, our friendly representatives are happy to answer your questions about the Bazaars and provide you with insider tips. Our boutique hotel is located near the Old City and public transportation, so it won’t take you long to visit the Spice or Grand Bazaar and do your shopping.