Shopping in Delhi is an Indian experience you won't forget. From dusty streetside markets teeming with locals to modern multi-level shopping complexes and boutique designer establishments, there's no shortage of options. And then there's the sellers perched along the footpaths and lingering at every tourist site. It's practically impossible not to buy in India.
Here's a guide to just a few of Delhi's shopping havens.
Chandni Chowk Market Old Delhi Get amongst it in Chandni Chowk - but if you don't like big crowds don't bother. Once a major trading centre of Asia, this market is swarming with people to navigate your way through - more than usual for Delhi - and at times there are bikes, bullock-drawn carts and cars to dodge too. Consider it an adventure! Chandni Chowk has the busiest and cheapest markets you'll find. It's where the many of the other sellers in town go to get their goods, so why not go straight to the source. You'll find a bit of everything - books, clothes, shoes, leather goods, electronic goods, food stalls and an immeasurable number of other matter. Don't miss the narrow side-lanes for even more options and a few surprises too. Centuries old, Chandni Chowk was established in 1650 when Mughal Emperor Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and wanted a market just across the road from his fort - Red Fort, perched at the end of the shopping strip. Connaught Place New Delhi Also known as CP, the area offers a mix of shops, restaurants, bazaars and cinema halls packed into two concentric circles that wrap around an expansive circular park at the centre. It can be easily categorised into two areas - Inner Circle and Outer Circle. Situated in the heart of Delhi, CP is a popular place to shop. Amongst the colonial-style buildings with colonnaded verandahs you'll find over 400 retailers, including branches of all the major International banks, a number of tour operators, tourist-friendly food joints, modern local brands and some western outlets too. Branching off the circular ways are sub-markets and an air-conditioned underground market, Palika Bazaar, dominated by electronic items, clothing, fake designer products, pirated software and other illegal bits and pieces. The prices down here are low, but be careful and watch your bag. CP is closed on Sundays.
DLF Emporio New Delhi India's five-star luxury mall, this is the perfect place to exchange the dust and smells for high-end designer extravagance. With an Italian marble, burnished wood and detailed brass interior, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of Paris or Milan (just don't look out the window). Showcasing only the top international designers, the likes of Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Fendi, Dior, Just Cavali, DKNY, Burberry and Hugo Boss retail here, the only place in India you'll find the real versions. Lap up the luxury to the sound of the classical pianist playing in the central lobby. Whatever you do, don't miss the floor dedicated to India's top fashion designers. Ranging from traditional garments to impressive modern-twists on conventional ideas, the colours are mesmerising, the designs stunning, and the results tempting to the hip pocket.
Dilli Haat New Delhi Dilli Haat is the first ever permanent craft market showcasing handicrafts from all over India. It's a project created to bring together the many different styles and techniques of craftsmanship and handicrafts iconic to each state. Rows of bangles, silks, fabrics, decorative ornaments, furniture, leather goods, rugs and spices - and as always much more - are presented well for browsing along the organised stall setups. Created to imitate a village fair atmosphere, there are also open-air stages for traditional performances from across the country, and a wide range of cuisines. Not quite a traditional market, Dilli Haat is definitely the tamest ‘market' you'll find in Delhi, and if you're not travelling throughout India this could be a good chance to see the traditional variances. With 62 stalls, spaces are allotted on a rotational basis to vendors who would otherwise be limited to selling within their own village. Barter hard to bring the prices down. There's also a small ticketed entry fee: 15 Rupees for adults and 5 Rupees for children.
Janpath Market New Delhi Stretching north of the Imperial Hotel, the streetside Janpath Market tinkles with everything from chimes, trinkets and pocket-sized souvenirs to shawls, clothes, pillow covers and colourful crafts. Well known for its wide variety of fashions, the market includes street-side shopfronts and vendors who simply spread their garments and handicrafts along the footpath and pinned up to the walls. You can even get your ears pierced in the street with some dangly new earrings, if you're game. Next to Janpath you'll find plenty more crafts and jewellery at the Tibetan Market, and Connaught Place is just up the road. Janpath Market is closed on Sundays.
Every traveller knows a good book is an essential packing item – your key to surviving those dragged out stopovers, the perfect way to steal some quiet ‘me’ time and the most transportable source of research for your destination. Problem is, in some places it just doesn’t seem fitting to whip out your trusty earmarked friend and absorb yourself in the pages. Here’s a list of Brisbane’s best book cafes, where reading is the norm and bookshelves grace the walls for further browsing.
Riverbend Books & Teahouse Bulimba, 193 Oxford Street For a teahouse and a bookstore, you’ll be surprised to hear it’s also BYO wine at Riverbend. Perched on the front deck of a lovely renovated ‘Queenslander’ style house, the atmosphere is relaxed and chatty. Fronting onto Oxford Street, Bulimba’s main strip of shops and cafes, the leafy trees provide a shield of privacy so you can sip your brew and have a casual bite to eat before wandering inside to browse the shelves. The menu features breakfast, lunch and dinner options, including a chicken, orange and macadamia nut salad with rocket and blue cheese dressing. Check the website to see if you’re around in time for an event, with writers, illustrators, chefs and others regularly dropping by. Open: 7.30am-5pm daily (bookshop open a bit later). Dinner available Thursday to Saturday, bookings highly recommended.
Clarence Corner Bookshop and Café Woolloongabba, 596 Stanley Street Tucked away in a beautiful late-19th century building, Clarence Corner boasts an array of new and old books in all subjects and genres, including some out-of-print editions. A short walk from Southbank and the Goodwill Bridge, not many tourists would even know it exists. While the breakfast menu isn’t overly varied – banana bread, homemade vanilla bean granola and a variety of toppings on toast – the milk is organic and the breads good quality (sourdough and gluten free available), with a decent range of herbal teas. Depending on what day you drop by, you may catch a movie, musician or the clairvoyant who does readings on site. Open: 6.30am-2.30pm daily (breakfast ‘til 1.30pm). Café Bouquiniste New Farm, 121 Merthyr Road This café is small and cosy, but packed with cuteness. Bouquiniste is French for bookseller, but you’ll find art, cards and other random bits here as well – from pretty smelly soaps to vintage French postcards and even rubber stamps. The space is relaxed and inviting with an artsy and decorative interior and a few quirky, old-fashioned furniture pieces. It’s only small – tiny actually – but the shelves boast some interesting books to peek your nose into, and if you like what you see, buy. On the menu, choose from toasted sandwiches and savoury tarts, as well as some breakfast items, or else have some cake and sweets with a coffee, all at good prices. Open: 8am-5.30pm daily.
Coaldrake’s Bookshop Fortitude Valley, 1000 Ann Street With an impressive range of books on offer, there’s also a pretty good range on the menu, including hearty breakfasts like the Big Brekky featuring scrambled eggs, tamarind chutney, Turkish toast, ham, grilled tomato and avocado. Opening out onto the pavement, Coaldrake’s is positioned in a corner of the Emporium complex. Over ten years old, it’s known for its outstanding range of literature, history, travel and children’s books, but houses a range of genres. A second store recently opened at The Barracks, 61 Petrie Terrace, between Roma Street and Paddington. Open: 7am-5pm Mon-Fri; 7.30am-5pm Sat; 7.30am-4pm Sun.
Chess. Coffee. Chocolate. You’ll find it all at Café Checocho. Come by on the right night and you could be graced with some live jazz, blues or gypsy music too! Located in West End, the same chilled out vibe that infiltrates the suburb pulses here. There’s a treasure trove of second-hand books to purchase or read at your table, or else you could simply read the story collaged under your elbows. From images to photographs, each table is smothered in cut-outs depicting a different theme. And if you don’t play chess, there are plenty of other board games to choose from to play into the night. Both warm and cosy during winter, the gelato cabinet will keep you cool in summer. The menu offers a good selection, including pizzas, pastas, salads, burgers and risotto. Monday is raw food night. Open: Mon & Tues 11am-10pm; Wed & Thurs 7am-10pm; Fri & Sat 7am-11pm; Sun 7am-10pm.
Black Cat Books & Café Paddington, 179 Latrobe Terrace Once the site of Mary Ryan's Paddington, this cafe now stands proudly independent and with a new name. The helpful and knowledgeable staff make finding the right book a breeze amongst a collection that’s varied. You’d be forgiven for walking out without seeing the café, but follow the smell of coffee downstairs and you’ll no doubt be impressed. There’s plenty of seating inside that looks out over the leafy yard, but if you’d rather be amongst the greens the multi-tiered decks that lead down to the gazebo are even better. The menu features ready-made treats like paninis, filo pastries, enchiladas, and sandwich rolls. For the sweet tooths, there’s also cake, biscuits, banana bread and fruit toast. Open: 9am-4pm Mon-Fri; 9am-5pm weekends.
Avid Reader West End, 193 Boundary Street A local favourite, Avid Reader boasts a great team of staff who can point you in the right direction – they’re often writers themselves. With a large selection of books in all genres, there’s also an interesting assortment of nick-nacks, goodies and CDs to tempt you. Wander to the back of the store to find the little café nestled in the corner with walls dotted in artworks. Here you can fill up on toasted Turkish bread sandwiches, crisp salads with halloumi cheese, savoury tarts, soups, and mouth-watering gluten-free cakes and cupcakes. Breakfast muesli, fruit toast and smoothies feature too. Enquire at the counter or online to find out when the next in-store event is – you might catch a book launch or signing. Open: 8.30am-4pm daily.
There’s a rich history embedded in the old timber walls of the Royal Mail pub in Goodna, just outside of Brisbane – and a lot of music! 26 years of live music in fact!
It’s seems only fitting that ‘The Mail’s’ began as a stopping off point for travellers, a history that is still continuing today, as this Grand Old Pub is an essential stopping off point for touring Blues n Roots musicians from across the country! Andrew Café, the hotels owner for the last 26 years, together with his loyal patrons and staff, have now established themselves around the nation as one of the best live Blues n Roots venues in Australia.
The old building is essentially unchanged from it's original rustic heritage. The walls are adorned with a random selection of old posters and farm paraphanalia and dusty musical instruments, an old red phone booth out the front, and a great beer garden out the back. You'll find a colourful cross section of local personalities always ready for a yarn - bikers, road workers, hippies, Aussie's of all shapes and sizes. It's a set from an Australian road movie. The pub serves traditional pub food, steaks , burgers, simple with all the trimmings. There's old style pub accommodation upstairs - clean and simple. It's music that brings everyone together at the Royal Mail and there's live music on all weekend and a jam night during the week. This pub just goes off!
Top 5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Explore Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama
The 32 miles of sugar-white beaches along Alabama’s Gulf Coast shoreline is a family-oriented destination that offers great nature and outdoors adventures, some of the most fantastic seafood in the U.S., and plenty of child-friendly activities.
The sister cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach lie a true island, 27,000 acres separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway, and offering nearly 400,000 acres of protected back bay waters.
State and local Alabama officials are doing more to promote Gulf Coast Alabama ecotourism activities, including an Ecotourism Summit, Coastal Cleanup and a sea turtle monitoring program. The beaches here are consistently rated among the best in the United States. Here’s our road map for how to best enjoy their natural resources with your family.
Hike or Bike Wildlife Refuges
This area is a bounty for nature lovers, and the best way to experience it is often on foot or by pedal. Rent a bike from Beach Bike Rentals and hop directly on one of six trails that make up the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail, 11 miles of paved paths that are home to six distinct ecosystems. Rare and threatened plant communities, incredible bird sightings, a variety of small mammals and even alligators can all be sighted from cycling trails easy enough for most ages.
Or visit the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1980 to protect the coastal dune ecosystem and its endangered species. Coming from the French for “safe harbor,” these 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat are easily accessible via multiple trails, and a launch site for canoes and kayaks is planned for summer 2013. Designated as one of Alabama’s Ten Natural Wonders, Bon Secour charges no entry fees.
Get on the Water for an Informative Nature Cruise
The water is clearly the pull here. Bill and Cheryl Mitchell of Cetacean Cruises run dolphin and nature cruises on their custom pontoon boat, at a very affordable $15 and up. Spotting the area’s playful dolphins is always exciting, but Captain Bill is extremely knowledgeable and protective of them. “They have the intelligence of an eight-year-old human,” he explains. “If you love dolphins and want to see a sustainable practice, you’ve come to the right place.” Cetacean is the only area company that passed the test to become certified for the Dolphin SMART program from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
For a completely different on-the-water experience, climb aboard with Captain Skip of Sailaway Charters. On a 2-3 hour sailing adventure, Skip shows his guest how to go crabbing and shrimping, as well as various oyster techniques and bird identification. You will very likely also spot dolphin trailing along behind the boat for the leftovers.
Captain your own boat in a Kayak
For a more independent experience, you can grab your own kayak and glide along the peaceful estuaries of Graham Creek Nature Preserve in nearby Foley. These 484 acres of southern gothic waterway wind in and out of marsh grasses and larger bodies of water, with ancient water oaks lining the banks while pelicans and great blue herons fly overhead. Once out in more open water, you’re likely to spot bottlenose dolphin. You can rent your own kayak to launch from the Graham Creek launching dock, or set up with an experienced guide such as Certified Master Naturalist Carol Furman, through Fairhope Boat Company.
Relax on Sugar White Beaches
When all of the outdoor adventures and physical activity has worn you out, it’s the perfect time to recharge on the sands that the island is famous for. Turquoise water meets soft white sand that curves gently up into grass-covered dunes. The city of Orange Beach has three Gulf State Park beach areas, and Gulf Shores has eight. Most offer public restrooms, showers, picnic tables or pavilions and miles of pristine beach. Some, like Lake Shelby, Cotton Bayou and Gulf Shores Public Beach, have more activity going on with people fishing, water skiing, boating or playing volleyball. Others are more secluded and quiet—if that’s your thing, try Florida Point, Gulf State Park or the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
When it comes dining out—and nighttime entertainment—your eco-vacation doesn’t have to go awry. At Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s at Homeport, run by the sister of famous parrothead Jimmy Buffett, sustainability is an important part of both the food and the business operation. They serve only grass-fed, Alabama-raised beef and sustainably-caught fish—diners are even provided a website where they can see exactly where their fish was caught. Lulu’s also received the prestigious Seventh Generation Award from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in 2009, given annually to the person or organization that embodies the tenets of sustainability, stewardship and pro-active practice in considering our natural resources.
Lulu’s was recognized for, among other things, its installation of an environmentally-friendly windmill and being one of the first public venues to incorporate the rain garden concept into their parking lots, dramatically improving the quality of stormwater runoff into the Intracoastal Waterway. “With the volume of business that we have enjoyed in Gulf Shores, it was a natural progression for us to think of how we could operate from a more environmentally friendly point of view to help take care of the absolutely gorgeous natural beauty of Gulf Shores,” said Buffett. “What we have done at LuLu’s has brought awareness and sparked conversations between all types of people and agencies. Plus, it is just a lot of fun.”