No matter your taste or budget, it’s difficult to resist a spot of retail therapy when your purse or money clip is burning a hole in your pocket. Spending money on the things we love, but don’t need, is one of life’s many pleasures — and we’ve got rather good at indulging ourselves. But when it comes to spending, what is the pinnacle of shopping experiences? A retail opportunity so ideal, it renders us incapable of not investing in something extravagant?
In homage to those who love to shop, we’re here to showcase the world’s most incredible shopping experiences. From the colourful floating markets of Bangkok to the chic boutiques of Paris, each of these extraordinary retail offerings is guaranteed to have you parting with your savings.
Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Whether soaking up local culture or searching for a souvenir for loved ones back home, there’s something exciting about street markets. One of the world’s most colourful and vibrant marketplaces is the Ben Thanh Market in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. Housed in a 17th century building, which happens to be the earliest surviving structure in Saigon, the market is located in the centre of the city, making it very popular with locals and tourists. Ben Thanh hosts hundreds of local craftsman and producers trading in everything from fresh seafood to homemade leather goods, so you’re guaranteed to find something to your taste.
Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris
Celebrated for its retail offerings for centuries, shopping in Paris has long been a grandiose affair. The City of Light is famously home to more flagship designer stores than any other, and many of these names can be found within the city’s illustrious Faubourg Saint-Honoré district. From Versace and Hermes, to Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel, this opulent arrondissement ought not to be missed by those with money to spend or an interest in the origins of high fashion more generally.
Given its status as the capital city of ‘The Land of Tulips’, it’s small wonder Amsterdam plays host to the world’s only floating flower markets, the Bloemenmarkt. Specialising in the tulip, which has long been an icon of the Netherlands, the Bloemenmarkt floats steadily atop the Singel — giving curious visitors the opportunity to buy a packet of Dutch tulips amid wonderfully charming surroundings.
Busier and longer than London’s famous Oxford Street, the Schildergasse in Cologne is a utopia for serious spenders. On average some 13,000 shoppers traverse its length every hour, making it Europe’s busiest shopping street. For those happy to contend with the masses, Schildergasse affords a smorgasbord of retail options, from designer labels to high street names and other smaller, independent boutiques. If you’re not keen on the idea of shopping, this legendary street is home to some truly illustrious historic architecture.
Bangkok Floating Markets, Bangkok
Scattered throughout Bangkok’s waterways, the floating markets have become symbolic of the city and the entrepreneurship of its people. Comprising hundreds of vendors sat atop the water in canoes piled high with fresh fruits and vegetables, Bangkok’s floating markets are as colourful as they are charming. While you may not be persuaded to buy by any of the produce on sale, this is one shopping experience you’re certain never to forget.
Fast establishing itself as Europe’s up and coming fashion capital, Budapest is home to the WAMP collective; a bi-monthly assembly of young designers who gather to share their designs, products and ideas with the public. At the cutting edge of style and design, WAMP events are gaining ground among Budapest’s fashion elite — offering a place to purchase unique garments, accessories and homeware from hundreds of talented young designers.
If you’re ready to shop ‘til you drop at one of these incredible retail outlets, Scenic offer luxury river cruises and escorted tours to all of the cities mentioned, including Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok. To find out more, visit the Scenic homepage or call us on 0808 159 7989.