Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

Of all the things there are to see and do, exploring of Souks of Marrakech definitely needs to be high on your agenda when visiting this city.

 

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

In many African and Middle Eastern countries, the word ‘souk’ simply means a marketplace, and I’m sure the best examples of this can be found surrounding Djemma el-Fna in Marrakech.

If you have yet to experience the souks of Marrakech 

I have put together a list of essential tips I learnt during my 

Moroccan shopping adventure.

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

 

Haggling and Bargaining

It is completely acceptable to haggle when shopping in the Marrakech souks., if fact the shop owners expect you to do so and they will even encourage you if you look unsure.

The general rule of thumb is to aim for approximately a third of the asking price and negotiate by moving up incrementally. Set a price in your mind that you aren’t willing to exceed and stick to it, however most of the tradesmen I came across seemed to enjoy the banter that goes along with it.

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

 

Carry Small Change

Most of the sellers in the souks will take euros and U.S. dollars along with the Moroccan Dirham, however I found it a lot harder to bargain when I only had large notes. Remember to keep your money separated as well (a secure pocket as well as a purse or wallet) – sellers are more likely to give you a good deal if you look like you have empty pockets rather than pulling out a handful of notes.

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

 

Saying “No” is fine

It is difficult to walk through the souks without getting hassled and you’ll be inundated with invitations to look at items or to enter the smaller shops tucked away. Pause for too long outside a shop, or look overly interested in a specific item and the chances are you will be pounced on. Despite this, I found that every time politely saying, “No thank you’ once or twice proved perfectly acceptable and I had no difficulties beyond that.

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

 

Be Careful With Photography

Photography in Morocco seems to be a rather contentious subject, seemingly for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here. However, I found that if I asked the stallholder (particularly if I had just purchased something) they were a lot more accepting, especially as I didn’t take any photos of specific people.

Just be aware of the fact that many stall holders don’t take kindly to photography so use your discretion and consider asking beforehand.

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

 

Take an Interest

Admire the craftsmanship and take an interest in what the shopkeepers are selling, ask how long it takes to make some of the items. If at a food stall, ask about the various flavours and how it would best be served. If you don’t intend to buy, thank the shopkeeper for their time. I actually came away with a couple of freebies, simply because I stopped and chatted to stallholders about their products.

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

 

Get Lost and Have Fun

If I had to describe the souks of Marrakech in three words I would choose labyrinthine, beautiful and confusing. Don’t worry about getting lost, it’s inevitable. Just remember that whichever way you turn, and however long you’ve walked you’ll nearly always manage to end up back at Djemaa el-Fna Square. Don’t ask me how. Just wander around, allow yourself to get lost and accept that it’s all part of the fun. 

If you really do get stuck, you can always ask the shop owners who will point you in the right direction.

Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

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Exploring the Souks of Marrakech

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Have you been to the souks of Marrakech?

Let me know in the comments about your experiences.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Becky Angell
    13th March 2017 / 7:44 pm

    Wow this is absolutely spot on, such good advice. Really good tip about the photos too, I picked up on this pretty quickly but useful to know. And I totally agree on small change and keeping your money separate. Overall I loved Marrakech and of course getting lost!!

  2. 15th March 2017 / 3:44 am

    I love your photos, they are absolutely beautiful! Really makes me want to visit. I also really liked your tip about taking an interest; I think that’s key for enjoying yourself and getting the best experience out of anywhere you visit. Surely, you’ve travelled to learn and to explore, so chatting to the locals is going to enrich your experience. Loved it!

    • 16th March 2017 / 8:37 am

      Thank you.
      I would definitely recommend it. It’s a fascinating and beautiful city.

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