Definitely the largest shopping district in West Africa, the Lagos Island Market is a bouquet of commodities ranging from as little as jewelry to fabrics, clothing, home wares and electronics. While the market has no particular address as it spans across many streets on the island, certain parts of the market including Balogun and Breadfruit streets are famous for being visited by tourists. Seeing as the market in its entirely is super large and always crowded, it is important to be prepared before embarking on a visit to the location. Jovago.com, Africa’s No.1 online hotel booking portal reveals 5 things that can happen to you on a visit to the Lagos Island Market.
You are overwhelmed by the extremely large crowd
The throngs of people who visit Balogun on the daily are numerous. From weekdays to weekends, the market bustles with a crowd of vendors, buyers as well as tourists who crave to discover the essence of the place. To get to the major parts of the market, you will need to charge ahead like a bull, moving past stalls and street vendors trying to drag you into their kiosks. Peak seasons are even worse as the crowd becomes more of a nuisance, making shopping difficult for locals who want to get what they need. Visiting, as a result, can be fun but utterly overwhelming.
You find so many options you can’t make a choice
To succeed in Balogun Market, you need to have a sense of purpose and direction. You literally need to have a vision of what you intend to buy or accomplish while visiting. Each section of the markets holds a large variety of each product, from different brands – both foreign and local- and for different prices. If you do not know what exactly you want, you will be faced with the challenge of making the right choice. Most times, visitors find themselves giving into their inner shopaholics and end up buying so many items that they do not necessarily need. If you know you are weak when it comes to shopping, do not visit the market with your ATM or extra cash. Set a budget at least and stick to it.
Haggling is your best bet
The only way to get good deals or buy items at the best price is by haggling. The vendors never give you the flat price. They always hope to make more so, they size up their customers before giving each one the prices they think the customer can afford. They consider the dressing, language and mode of communication. Paying whatever first price that is thrown at you ensures you get cheated. You would be surprised to discover that the same exact shirt sold for N4,500 in shop A, would be offered for N 2,000 in shop B especially since the cost is given based on the seller’s perception. The best way to go is to start haggling by offering to pay one-third of whatever price is first thrown at you and gradually work up to the price you think should be most appropriate.
You learn to appreciate Lagos street-food
A plate of pepper soup
Street food vendors are a part of the Lagos Island market that you cannot ignore. From the entrance of the market to whatever exit you choose, the aroma of different local meals assaults your nostrils, tying your intestines into knots and ensuring you crave a taste of the gastronomies. As there are very few fast food joints around the market, most times you are actually forced to patronize these street foods, from fries (yam, plantain, bean cake) to abacha, even pepper soup and more. Having a taste of these foods definitely gives you a chance to appreciate the foods that most other boulevards in Lagos have to offer.
Credit: Vanguard Newspaper