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Already a mainstay in Asia for decades, night markets are now taking hold all over the world. With a buzzy, carnival-like atmosphere, they’re the place to be for finding shopping and food deals as well as for rubbing elbows with locals out for a night of casual fun. Some markets run year round, some are seasonal, and some are weekend events. Here are five around the world worth noting:
Canada: International Summer Night Market
The city of Richmond in British Columbia is home to three major night markets, but the International Summer Night Market is the largest and most popular. It draws approximately 20,000 people every weekend to the trinkets, handicrafts, and even fresh produce from nearly 200 vendors. Between purchases, you can sample good eats like Singapore-style jerky, enjoy live entertainment, play nine holes of miniature golf, or pose for photographs with the two 9-foot inflatable pandas on display. The market runs Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, May 9 through September 14. Admission is 2 CAD ($1.86 USD). Tip: Print online coupons before you go to save at select vendors, and hit up the ATM — most vendors only accept cash.
While most people know about kimchi and Korean barbecue, the food offerings in South Korea are are incredibly diverse, and go far beyond these standard dishes. The best news for travelers? Some of the best options can be found on the streets rather than the restaurants.
From dried fish chips and meat-stuffed pancakes to massive ice cream cones and waffle sandwiches, there’s a snack for every taste and time of day. Seoul is a nearly endless parade of cheap, delicious, and portable food made for eating on the go.
Here are nine of the most delicious street food options to search out on your trip to Seoul. The best places to find them are in and around Insadong, a traditional area filled with antiques shops and teahouses, as well as other neighborhoods such as Myeong-dong, Jongno-gu and Samcheongdong.
Hotteok In Insadong, at an intersection about halfway down the main street, you’ll smell these sweet, doughy treats before you see them. There’s almost always a small crowd gathered around the corner stall where a team of three people turns out one of the most coveted hot snacks with assembly line efficiency. These are hotteok (or hodduk), a donut-like snack made of flour filled with sugar and ground peanuts and sesame seeds. Slightly crisp and golden brown on the outside and soft, gooey, and piping hot inside, they cost about a buck and make a great snack or breakfast.
In the hit K-pop song, Gangnam Style, Psy describes the trendy scene of Seoul’s Gangnam district, where your clothes, and how much money you have, matter most. It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at a neighborhood known for luxury and wealth in a country where people have acquired wealth so recently it’s still somewhat of a novelty.
South Korea’s newfound prosperity is most evident in Seoul, where the shopping malls are some of the biggest in the world and the pursuit of beauty has become an obsession. But not everyone in Seoul rolls “Gangnam style” and you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy a visit. For every luxury hotel, you’ll find a much more affordable option. For dinner, you can sit down to a pricey gourmet meal in a restaurant, or grab some equally delicious fare from a street vendor. Here are some ways to enjoy Seoul on both ends of the spectrum. Read more
Traveling in Asia, or to an Asian community, this week? You’re in luck. The Lunar New Year, typically falling at the end of January or the end of February, is arguably the most festive and also the most interesting time of the year. Big events like lion dances and firecrackers aside, this is when communities everywhere come alive with cheer and tradition, with good wishes and ancient folklore at top of mind.
While it’s unlikely that anyone would expect a traveler to follow all the customs, we can’t think of a better way to get to know a destination’s culture. Plus, helping to usher in auspiciousness is a great way to delight a kind host or helpful friend. Here’s our guide to the general dos and don’ts – there’s naturally an overlap between the traditions of different ethnic groups and countries – as well as a gift guide for visits and meet-ups. Read more
This winter, there isn’t a more delicious way to warm up than with one of many specialty noodle soups across Asia. Tender, red-braised oxtail is the long-simmered star of Taiwan’s beef noodle staple (pictured above), with a dark broth fragrant with five-spice and bean paste. Best of all, a steaming bowl will only set you back by 150-180NT or $5-$6. For more photos of slurptastic noodle soups in Asia, plus the best restaurants to try them, keep reading here.
The Korean YouTube sensation, PSY, has become the newest face of the Korea Tourism Organization – naturally. The tourist board’s most recent initiative, Wiki Korea, features the “Gangham Style” star giving tutorials on Korean slang, food, and popular destinations. Our favorites include “bulgeum,” the term Koreans use for clubbing on Friday nights (it literally translates to “fire Friday”) and “samgyeopsal,” the country’s popular pork BBQ dish (best served with a glass of champagne, we’re told). To learn more, visit their website, and practice for your next trip. Check out the video here! Read more
Spring and summer seem to be festival seasons, and this time of the year, there’s plenty to celebrate. Warm weather, blossoming flowers, the ability to carry your wife long distances – wait, what? Across the globe, there are tons of strange and spectacular festivals commemorating everything from macaque monkeys to body painting. We’ve selected seven we find a little bit odd, but entirely awesome. Read more
A new year is marching ahead, and along with it, a growing interest in adventure travel. Fire up your wanderlust for 2013 and beyond in these destinations, which are quickly gaining a reputation as hubs for adventure across land, sea, and even air, via two wheels, a paddle, or a pair of hiking boots. Here’s to another year of exploration and adventure, wherever your travels take you.
Namibia: How’s this for a stamp of approval from the adventure travel community: In October 2013, the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the authority of the industry, is hosting its annual summit in this spectacular African country. No surprise, as Namibia has been on the rise for a while now, with its jaw-dropping panoramas of the red dunes of Sossuslvlei, safari excursions to catch glimpses of such rare wildlife as the endangered black rhino, and commitment to eco-friendly practices. Read more
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