Markets around the world

My wife and I are both keen travellers. Having visited over 70 countries, one of our favourite past times is meandering through markets, enjoying the noise, colours and occasionally the smell. These places are bustling with activity.

Some countries have specialities, most have food, others zone their markets by theme- such as metals or fabrics. The people living, and working, in these places are ingenious, nothing is wasted, it is either fixed, dismantled for parts or given a new function and life. They are some of my favourite places for upcycled inspiration. They are often more practical than the West where we like for the aesthetics. They are used for cooking, eating, construction and industry.

Through my travels I regret not capturing more of the upcyled things we saw and experienced, but here are some interested sights from around the world.

Understandably food is a common trend in these markets. The upcycling normally reserved to what things are held or cooked in:

Banana leaves are always used for roofs, umbrellas, plates and more. Here in Ghana as a plate for a coca pod.


Don’t confuse this bottle for rum. More home brew. Head hurt the following day.


Coconut spirit collected with a reused and shaped plastic drum in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka

Another common trend is construction, all types of upcycling in play here:

Floating villages in Vietnam on bottles and drums.


While in Nepal houses were made out of drink bottles. Bamboo and corrugated are common.

These boats are made out of reeds in Ethiopia. While the scaffolding is all bamboo.


In Ghana a big issue was imported cheap Western clothes and jewellery which were being altered for the domestic market and damaging the home grown industry. While in Nepal they had homemade looms on the top of mountains using an array of upcycled bits and bobs.

But you get all kind of industry. I love the metal and industrial parts of markets or fishing ports. Morocco has its famous tannery industry.

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