Entrance to the market
For atmosphere when shopping, a must-visit is the traditional market in Old Market Street. There are many access points into Old Market Street. For one, start at McDonald's. With your back to McDonald's, go right, past a few shops and to the junction with the main road. The main road is Station Road. Cross this road and look for the new sign "Le Souk". This is the entrance to the market.
At this end of the market most of the shops sell jewellery, bags and leather goods, souvenirs, spices, scarves, T-shirts and other clothing, and other items aimed at the tourist. As you progress through the market, the emphasis changes, with fewer shops targeting the tourist. There used to be lots of stalls selling fruit and vegetables, household utensils, tools and other goods providing for the needs of local people. However, most of these, especially the fruit and veg, have now been moved to a new fruit and veg market on the other side of the railway line, not far from the station (see the map).
Some guides and occasional visitors to Luxor will advise against shopping in the market. Their reasons may include the inevitable hassle from shop or stall holders and the possibility that you will pay too much for your purchases.
As far as the hassle is concerned, certainly there will be plenty of local people keen to 'help' you and you will not progress far in Old Market Street without being 'encouraged' to go into shops or to look at wares on a market stall. That kind of hassle is hard to avoid anywhere in Luxor. A little tolerance and good humour will usually be enough to get you by.
What you pay for your purchases is largely up to you. Many of the stall holders work on commission. Everything has a minimum price that the owner will expect. If the seller can get more than the minimum then the difference will probably be his earnings so yes, many may maximise their earnings when they have a chance. Some guides will suggest that you offer half the starting price. The sellers are wise to that advice and so will often start much higher than twice what you need to pay - even ten times as much.
Clothing stall in the market
There is no magic formula. Do your homework in the hotel and local shops. See the shopping page for help with this.
With that background decide what you are prepared to pay, then barter. If you buy for that or a lower amount you have a bargain. If you want to know the lowest price, just show interest, barter a bit, then walk away. The price he shouts after you as you begin to disappear back into the crowd is probably as low as he will go.
Scarves in the market
Updated April 2010