Grand Bazaar shopping can be tricky, especially when you combine an expansive layout with a huge crowd and persistent merchants. Here are six tips to make the most of your experience at the Grand Bazaar Istanbul.
Talk with the Merchants and Bargain
Bargaining (or haggling) is a tradition in Turkey as in many other countries. Shoppers in Europe and America typically only bargain over items when buying a car, a house, or other expensive item. In Turkey, haggling is extended to include many less valuable items, especially unique handmade goods such as carpets, crafts, art, antiques, and other items that do not have standardized markets. Discover how to properly bargain with merchants in Turkey.
Take Your Time
Exploring the Grand Bazaar is a unique experience that should not be rushed. The Grand Bazaar is so large and expansive and is full of a variety of cultural shops unlike anywhere else in the world. If you do not relax and take your time, you’ll regret the time you didn’t spend exploring a variety of items that could have peaked your interest. Never buy from the first vendor you see. Several vendors right next to each other are competing with each other to make sales on their products and will tell you different things to get you to make the purchase. Explore your options and find the best price.
Plan What You Want to See Ahead of Time
The Grand Bazaar can be a bit overwhelming. With over 4,000 merchants, over 60 streets, and over 20 entrances, it can be very stressful and hard to avoid confusion and know where to go next. Identifying your interests prior to exploring the best places to shop in the Grand Bazaar can narrow down where you need to go. If your primary interest is jewelry, you can refer to a map of the Grand Bazaar in advance to decide the entrance to take and streets to take.
Avoid Going Mid-Day
Mid-day is a very high-traffic time at the Grand Bazaar. Early in the morning or late afternoon is best. If you plan to dedicate a whole day to shopping at the Grand Bazaar, shop in the morning and late in the afternoon and take a lunch break elsewhere between. Shopping mid-day in the Grand Bazaar means shopping with 400,000 other people.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
If it is your first time at the Grand Bazaar, you will likely find it to be very overwhelming between the persistent merchants and the endless shops. If you find yourself disinterested in a product or overwhelmed by a merchant’s sales and haggling tactics, don’t be afraid to walk away. If a vendor rejects your offer, see if another stand will make a better offer - often, they will. You do not have to make a purchase that you’re not confident in. On the contrary...
If You Love Something, Get It
Sure, you set a budget that you weren’t planning to go over. If you find something you really love and the best offer is still above what you initially planned to pay (in your currency), decide how much you like it. If you leave the Grand Bazaar without purchasing something you loved, you may regret it forever.