Local Products, Marrakesh
Marrakesh is one big open air market and must be one of the best plces in the world if you want to go bargain hunting.
You can buy all sorts of things like lamps, hats, water pipes, carpets, spices.
You name it and they most likely got it somewhere.
What to buy: Everything from water pipes to exotic spices.
What to pay: Remember to bargain.
That is the way everyone goes shopping in this part of the world.
Good buys include fashion accesories, fabrics, spices, natural oils, pottery, and leather goods, especially shoes and slippers.
In the souks it's like a market place which specialises in particular produts in one place.
It's certainly an experience not to be missed.
What to buy: Shoes and slippers. morrocan lamps, spices.
What to pay: About 10 to 15 pounds for a nice pair of slippers.
It is very easy to fall in love with the exquisite Moroccan local products such as lamps, rugs, and spices. However, bargaining is a must unless money is of no object to you. It is often a good idea to counter offer a price that is 1/3 or at least 1/2 of what the shopkeeper initially offers. As always, the more you buy the likelier you'll get a bigger discount per item.
Go on, have fun and practice some French and Arabic!
There are few experiences like that of shopping in the souks of Marrakesh. The term souk is used to designate the market in any Arabized city. Around the JEF There are so many stalls – it’s just a huge maze and it’s really quite easy, but fun to get lost.
Packed with clothes, shoes (slippers), spices, olives, sweets, leather, perfume, crafts, etc., etc. it's a lively noisy market.
You do need to bargain and shop around. Unfortunately it can be difficult to find your way back to a particular stall. I hate to bargain but we compared prices of a particular mirror and found that it varied by 3 times the amount!!
On my last day in Marrakesh, I realised that although I'd brought my copy of 'Sahara' by Michael Palin with me, I hadn't had time to read it.
I thought I'd better read his Marrakesh pages, to see if he'd visited any places I'd missed.
As soon as I'd read about his Muezzin clock, I knew this was something I HAD to have!
After a short discussion with the shopkeeper in my hotel, who acknowledged that you could purchase this item, along with instructions to go to the 'locals' shops behind the Koutoubia Mosque, I was heading in that direction!
Unfortunately, despite lots of searching and miming, I didn't find my clock! However, I thought if I could find watches in the Souk, I must be near to my goal. Again, with a lot of miming (pointing at my watch, pointing to a clock, miming sleep, then a bell waking me :-o) !! ) I finally was taken to a clock stall.
Although the owner was intent on showing me standard alarm clocks, I spotted my prize in the top corner of a cabinet!! light blue plastic, in the shape of a mosque. Instead of a shrill bell, you're woken to the sound of the call to prayer!
Since I've returned home- every time I feel a need to revisit my travels I just switch on this clocks alarm, and I'm instantly transported back to Marrakech (or Turkey, or Iran!)
What to buy: Feyyaq Muezzin = Muezzin alarm clock.
Every time I hear the call to prayer, I get goose bumps! so many happy holiday memories have involved this sound!, so this souvenir gives me the chance to relive those memories.
What to pay: I think I paid 80dh for this clock, the price started at 300dh!, my hotel shopkeeper said I'd probably pay 50dh.
Whatever you do! Talk the person down! Throw out 1/3 of what they qoute, then don't you dare budge from the price. Just walk away and watch the price drop. :) After the first 2 days of dealing with it....the last few were so easy. I got ALL me best deals when I stopped caring and threw out a price that I WOULD ACTUALLY PAY. Not what I thought it "might/could" be worth.
*Tip* Go in the off season...less tourists=More competition=better bargaining. :D
I spotted these pottery Toureg figures in Djemma el Fnaa. After a while haggling I purchased a reclining toureg in a blue jellabah for 50dh. It was wrapped in that days local newspaper. OK, I can't read arabic, but it's another souvenir!
I always pack some bubble wrap in my luggage, in case I'm swayed to purchase fragile articles.
What to buy: local pottery
What to pay: Haggle for a price you're happy with, I was asked 200dh, and paid 50dh.
Rahba Kedima, in the central souk zone. Several small shops where you can pick up traditional bath products for a handful of dirhams. Bath gloves, terracotta scrubbers, incense. They’ll fill you a plastic bag of gooey, black, homemade shampoo for your trip to the hammam.
There is also some "Henna" artists to get a souvenir of your trip !
A look in at a country market can easily be fitted in with an trip out of Marrakech. Such markets serve local needs, although there are inevitably a number of persistent trinket pushers. Men from the mountain villages come down on mule, bicycle and pick-up truck to stock up on tea and sugar, candles and cigarettes, agricultural produce, maybe have a haircut or a tooth pulled. This is the place to sell a sheep, discuss emigration or a land sale. There may also be some Islamic purists peddling cassettes of sermons, perfumes and religious texts. It really hits home at such markets just how different living standards are in the countryside. The markets are dusty, rough and ready sorts of places, and people are paying with the tiny brass coins you hardly ever see in the city. You really get a sense of the fact that people are living from the land and how hard drought can hit them.
Market days :
Setti Fatma (Thu),
What to buy: Buy real people,real times,and a real vision of Marrakech,,,the city of poor !
What to pay: Spend a half day looking,watching,and taking pictures of Moroccan country life!
But be aware,it's not a place where we wait for tourists !
If you want to buy local pottery such as tagines and beautiful painted pottery, if you can find somewhere away from the souks and central medina, preferably where they make the pottery on site you may find what you want a lot cheaper.
Leading away from Djemma el-Fna (as if you were heading for the El-Badi Palace) there's a small shop with their wares outside and at very very good prices. No haggling (there was no need it was so cheap), no hassle just a friendly smile. We paid 80 dirhams for 2 glazed slightly decorated tagines. I was so impressed that I returned the next day and bought a beautiful painted vase.
As in my previous tips, This shop was a highlight of my holiday.
Mr Doudi Mohamed, is a Master Craftsman- his craft work is of high quality, reasonably (fixed)priced.
When I next visit Marrakesh, I'll definitely call here again to purchase more goods.
What to buy: Babouches- a wide range of styles/ colours to chose from
Handbags- various styles/sizes and colours- I was spoilt for choice, but eventually settled on 3- 2 to keep (as in the picture) and a red bag, like the black one in the picture for my Mother.
I use the 'yellow' one every day now, and it's very handy- plus it still smells wonderful- a reminder of my holiday every day!!
What to pay: I paid about £45 for all of these 3 handcrafted bags- A Bargain!!
After visiting Dar Si Said and the Tiskiwin museum, I passed by this shop. Mr Mohamed was sat in the doorway, sewing a piece of leather. He showed me the special way that he sewed the leather pieces, by using a series of needles and twisting the thread over and around the needles to produce an attractive and very secure seam. I noticed that he had a wide selection of babouches of all colours, handbags and belts. I asked if he'd made all of these, which he had, he showed me his certificate too, which showed that he was highly skilled.
This gentle modest man didn't attempt to ask me to buy anything. I wasn't shopping that day, but asked for his business card, as I intended to return to buy a pair of fuscia pink babouches that were a 'must have'!!
When I returned a few days later, he proudly showed me the completed pouffe that he'd been working on.
Besides the babouches (175dh) I bought 3 leather bags . My bill was a total of 700dh (£45)
These are fixed prices, I was very pleased with my purchases, high quality hand crafted goods, with a pleasant shopping experience!
What to buy: Babouches..beautiful colours, the softest leather,and hand sewn.
Mr Mohamed had a wide selection of colours and styles. Plain or decorated with tassels etc. 'snakeskin' and other designs.
Leather bags, shoulder bags or hand bag style.
Belts with buckles
Leather pouffes (cushions for sitting on)
What to pay: Babouches 175 dh
I think bags started at 145 dh
Fixed prices. Though if purchasing multiple items, You might get a discount
We liked doing our shopping in this place. The owner was very NICE to me, hihihihi. He was eating me with his eyes, hihihihi
Really, I got there a nice scarves. He was pretty good with lowering down his prices.
And he gave me his GSM phone number just on case I would ever feel lonely and wanted to call him.
No, really it was fun to shop there, and Santo didn't mind.
What to buy: His name was Mounabi Abdelati
I'd been coveting a leather pouffe since my first day in Morocco - but after being conned with various purchases, I'd given up. On my last day, Ensemble Artisanal came to the rescue. The great thing about his complex of shops is that it has set prices, though discounts may be offered. And that means you have a ballpark figure to work with, whether you decide to buy here or shop around elsewhere. Having a reference price takes much of the stress and guesswork out of Moroccan shopping, I've found.
A number of the shops feature the craftspeople creating the items and there is a general lack of the pressure to buy that is so persistent everywhere else in the city.
The range of items is good, but it is rather soulless compared to the souks - the real advantage to this place is gaining an idea of the going price for the various Marrakesh goods. Come and have a look here before being ripped off!
What to buy: I've never been anywhere that has as many must-buy souvenirs as Marrakesh! The following are things that the Ensemble Artisanal does particularly well:
Leather pouffes and bags
Painted wooden tables
What to pay: The important bit - I'd been told 400 Dhs for a pouffe on my first day (down from 600) and paid 180 here. Better hagglers than me could get the price down, I imagine.
The thing about shopping is... I mean; when you're a guy - it sucks. That being said, some of the best places to be when travelling are the markets and shopping areas and the Souks are the best example of that. Leading out from the northern edge of the Jemma El Fna is a maze of shop-filled alleyways loaded with carpets and lamps and slippers and candy and scarves and hats and, and, and... Go ahead, plunge in and get lost, eventually you'll come upon the places where they actually make these things. Some have spoken of a place where the air smells horribly and large vats of urine dot the landscape, but we didn't quite make it to the tanneries.
You might think you'll get lost forever but, since you are in a walled old-city, just don't go outside the walls dummy (we did that, oops).
What to buy: Live chickens
Coconut candy that gives you a stomache ache
Strange little mysterious vials of ???
What to pay: Less than they ask for but more than it's worth.