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The best night markets in the world

Low-hanging lanterns twinkling against the night sky, delicious aromas rising from steaming pans of food and no need to bother with sunscreen. Night markets are a wonderful way to spend an evening, and we asked international travellers to nominate their favourites. *

Zhongli Xinming Night Market in Taoyuan, Taiwan

Some of the 580 stalls at the Zhongli Xinming Night Market

Some of the 580 stalls at the Zhongli Xinming Night Market

Taoyuan is home to two of the world’s best night markets, the most popular of which is the Zhongli Xinming Night Market. As night falls on the Zhongli district, this market bursts into a cacophony of light and sound. Radios, live music and the cries of the stall holders fill the air as locals and tourists buy clothes, leather goods, electronics, steaming bowls of catfish soup and towering piles of green onion pancakes. Once you’ve finished exploring, the Hotel Mu is a 10-minute walk and is endorsed by guests as one of the best locations in Zhongli.

Feng Chia Night Market in Taichung, Taiwan

Shoppers at the Feng Chia Night Market

Shoppers at the Feng Chia Night Market

Thanks in part to its proximity to the Feng Chia University, the Feng Chia Night Market combines a lively atmosphere with an eclectic selection of stalls and – most importantly – student-friendly prices. Everything from beauty products to sizzling plates of ‘stinky tofu’ can be found here and many stalls are attached to a permanent shopfront. Which means that while you can’t beat the nighttime atmosphere, it’s usually worth an extra trip back during the day. Travellers planning to make multiple trips will find that the stylish ZZZ Hostel is less than a 2-minute walk from the market.

Miaokou Night Market in Keelung, Taiwan

Food stalls at the Miaokou Night Market

Food stalls at the Miaokou Night Market

The Keelung Miaokou Night Market is a traditional food market that sprung up next to the Keelung Harbour, allowing stall owners to make the most of all that fresh seafood. Over the years, however, it’s become a popular tourist destination and many visitors to the city make a point of visiting the night market for their evening meal.

The market is located at the intersection of Aisi Road and Rensan Road and it’s worth taking a few hours (or a few days) to explore the surrounding area. Go for a short, 2-minute walk from the market and you’ll find the minimalist Light Inn and the YM Oceanic Culture and Art Museum.

Luodong Night Market in Yilan County, Taiwan

Roasted chicken and pork at the Luodong Night Market

Roasted chicken and pork at the Luodong Night Market

The Luodong Night Market offers visitors a crash course in Taiwanese street food. National favourites include the ominously named ‘coffin bread’ (thick slices of deep-fried white bread, hollowed out and filled with seafood chowder or minced pork) and crispy green onion pancakes. For a truly local experience, check out Yilan specialities like thin ox-tongue shaped pastry biscuits, mutton soup and shaved ice served with tapioca and red bean sauce.

If you find yourself in need a gentle stroll (or a brisk walk) after all the good food, the Luodong Forestry Culture Park is a 15-minute walk away. Here you’ll find beautifully maintained gardens, lakeviews and industrial buildings repurposed into exhibition spaces. Prefer an early night? The Hive Hotel is one of the top rated accomodations in Yilan County and it’s only a few minutes walk from the market.

** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the top destinations endorsed for ‘night markets’ by travellers.