Shop Like A Local, With A Guide

Asia Transpacific Journeys reports that it can arrange shopping trips to Asia that include visits to bazaars, shops and hidden local markets. Visits can be arranged to Dilli Haat, a market in Delhi, India, where guests can “negotiate” with local vendors for crafts and wares. The best part? An Asia Transpacific Journeys’ expert guide will help with the haggling. Now that’s luxury.

In Cochin, on the southwest coast of India, markets are an exotic experience, thanks to the fact that the trading center was once occupied by British, Dutch, Portuguese and Arab traders. Today, it is the place to purchase Indian spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and cinnamon in their most original form.

Thailand Options

Shopping experiences can also be arranged at the Damnoen Saduak floating market, 50 miles south of Bangkok, where vendors pack their traditional longtail boats with items ranging from finely woven sunhats to household products to spicy noodle soup. Note: You get to travel in your own boat with your guide flagging down merchants on the water on your behalf.

Asia Transpacific Journeys provides customized itineraries and small-group excursions to Asia and the Pacific. Contact Katie Landgraf ([email protected]; 800-642-2742, Ext. 247) for special VIP service.

Buying in Beijing

We asked Imperial Tours’ managing partner, Nancy Kim, for her tips on shopping in Asia. Here’s what the style and fashion guru revealed for Beijing, where she currently resides.

“The most interesting thing about shopping in China at the moment is that, unlike 10 years ago when things western were considered the best, the Chinese are now looking inward and to their past,” said Kim. “This can be seen in everything from fashion to furniture to home design accessories. Some of my favorite shops include Spin, which creates simple ceramics for everyday or decorative use. Styles are distinctly Asian but very contemporary. I also love going to shops like BNC [Brand New China] or Dongliang, where the owners collect pieces from up-and-coming designers. Another exciting venture is Shang Xia, which is backed by LVMH. Again, the idea is a meeting place for the designs of highly talented artisans, fashion designers and jewelers. Items here are beautifully designed and on a par with the best in Milan or Paris. As with everything, China is where things are happening… high fashion and design is not being left out.”