7 Ways to Shop Across the World

Leather goods are plentiful, well-crafted bargains in the San Lorenzo market. Georgios Makkas
In the spirit of my personal shopping-while-traveling mantra -- "You only regret what you don't buy," here are seven destinations where there will be no guilt, only pleasure, especially when you take into account the bargains you'll get if you know where to go.
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Old Tequila Factory Ovens for cooking agave, Guadalajara Mexico Norihiro Haruta
What: For a market experience like no other, head to Tonalá for an extensive selection of Mexican textiles, glassware, furniture, art works, ceramics, tinware and miscellaneous items. Thousands of stalls line the main street and thousands more shops are buried behind them in laneways and hidden alleys offering Mexican wares at bargain prices.
Where: Tonalá, 10 miles from Guadalajara, Av. Tonaltecas north of Av. Tonalá
When: Market days are Thursdays and Sundays
Prices: Bargains abound, like colourful tablecloths from $5 and ceramic decorative masks from $10.
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Crowds-Old Delhi, India David Nygren
What: New Delhi is one of the world's great fabric capitals so if you are after yards and yards of colourful silk or intricately designed appliqués, you will undoubtedly find them here and for a fraction of what you would pay at home. Katra Neel is one section of the labyrinthine and crowded alleys of Chandni Chowk Market and it is here that you will find an enormous selection of Indian cloth and fabric ranging from silk to satin, crepe to cotton, and velvet to muslin. Don't miss the Kinari Bazaar, also located in Chandni Chowk which is where to stop for stunning saris and adornments for Indian brides. You can also find a wide choice of fabrics at various tailor stores and stalls, especially in and around Khan Market.
Where: Katra Neel at Chandni Chowk Market and Cloth Market in Fatehpuri, New Delhi
Prices: Quality fabrics from as little as $1 per yard. Get men's shirts for as little as $4, trousers for around $10, or a jacket for $80.
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Fashionistas haunt the shops of Via Tornabuoni. Hollenbeck Productions
What: Shoes and handbags -- the way to any woman's heart and if it's leather and size 8 or has a designer label on it, you'll find it in Florence. Even the main street, Via dei Calzaiuoli means Street of the Shoemakers. For deep discounts, try Peluso on Via del Corso or the ultra cheap Eusebio, a virtual supermarket of shoes and boots straight out of the box. Via Borgo San Lorenzo has several shoe shops including Fiorenza and Pescarolo and via Nazionale is also a popular shoe destination for those on a budget.
Where: Shop retail along Via del Corso, Via Borgo San Lorenzo, Via de' Tornabuoni, Piazza del Duomo and various streets in the center of the old city, or try the San Lorenzo market on Via Dell'Ariento, near the train station.
When: Check the opening hours for some stores. Many may be closed on Sundays and on Monday mornings, or for siesta on weekday afternoons.
Prices: In spite of the Euro, you can still pick up quality Italian leather shoes from as little as $30.
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A view of New York City from the Empire State Building, lights twinkling from the street lights and the windows in the skyscrapers and city buildings at night. Paul Kenward
What: Cameras and Electronics. Unless you are shopping online (and where is the travel fun in that?) there is no better or cheaper place to buy cameras and camcorders (including duty free) than New York City and the best place to look, would have to be B&H. This mega emporium of all things photographic not only has great prices, but it also has expert staff who actually knows what they are talking about. Another option is J&R downtown, which has a good selection or camera, camcorders, computers, etc.
Where: B&H, Ninth Avenue at 14th Street and J&R, 23 Park Row (across from City Hall Park)
When: J&R is open daily and B&H closes at 1pm on Fridays and doesn't re-open until Sunday at 10am
Prices: Depends on what you buy, but they are always reasonable and very competitive.
More Info: B&H (tel. 800/606-6969; www.bhphotovideo.com); J&R (tel. 212/238-9000; www.jr.com).
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Shibuya (central business district) crossing, Tokyo Andrew Akeroyd
What: Kappabashi-dori is Tokyo's restaurant wholesale district or Kitchen Town, which means that all the beautiful Japanese bowls and plates that retail for a small fortune in the U.S. are dirt cheap here. There are also the signature Japanese collectible plastic display foods, pottery, cookware, high quality knives and general homewares to pick up in close to 200 stores. Bring a bag on wheels to stash your booty.
Where: The Asakusa district. Metro: Tawaramachi station on the Ginza line.
When: Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
Prices: From as little as ¥100 a piece.
More Info: www.tourism.metro.tokyo.jp/english.

Photo caption: Shibuya crossing, Tokyo
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China, Shenzhen cityscape with modern skyscrapers, office buildings in Futian district Anne Ackermann
What: Fakes, knock-offs, copies -- call them what you will, but people still tend to love the designer look without the price-tag. Not that we are condoning trade in illicit goods, but if you are after a designer look-a-like, look no further than Shenzhen, China. Here you will find large malls that look like office buildings, like the Luo Hu Commercial Center, with hundreds of small shops and stalls. You can buy other stuff too, but the trade in name brand goods is by far the biggest draw card.
Where: Shenzhen, China -- 30 minutes by KCR train from Hung Hom or Tsim Sha Tsui East MTR station in Hong Kong.
When: Daily, but weekends are very crowded, so opt for weekdays instead.
Prices: A Chinese short stay visa is required and can be obtained at the border of Luo Hu for HK$100. The cost of your purchases is up to you, but suffice to say, you won't be paying original designer prices.
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Royal Palace-Bangkok, Thailand Michael Alvares
What: Clothes, clothes, and more clothes, Bangkok exudes women's (and to a lesser degree men's clothing), whether it be in massive glass shopping malls or simple street markets. The one caveat is that you do need to be no bigger than a size 8 to take advantage of what the Thai capital has to offer ready made, or you can take your favourite suit or outfit and get it copied in different colors and fabrics at one of the thousands of expert tailors. Fashion can be unpredictable, but local Thai designers are pretty forward thinking and stylish.
Where: The city is filled with shopping districts. Try the shops in and around Siam Centre and Siam Paragon on Sukhumvit, the malls on Petchburi Road (Platinum Fashion Mall in particular), the massive Central World, Mah Boon Krong (MBK), Pratunam Market and Chatuchak Market.
When: Shops are open daily, mainly from 10am or 11am and often until 10pm. Chatuchak Market is only open on weekends.
Prices: Generally inexpensive to downright cheap, apart from international designer brands.
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