IELTS Cue Card: Describe an open-air or street market

Describe an open-air or street market

IELTS Cue Card Question 17 With Model Answer:

Describe an open-air or street market which you enjoyed visiting.

You should say:
  • where the market is
  • what the market sells
  • how big the market is
and explain why you enjoyed visiting this market.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]


Model Answer 1:
Vietnam has numerous tourists’ spots to visit by the global people and thus the number of markets has also increased to meet the increasing demands. But the open markets (commonly known as outdoor markets) are the traditional marketplaces in the country for shopping. It is like a culture to shop under the open air.

There are few open air markets available in Saigon (officially known as Ho Chi Minh City) and those are different from the other contemporary markets. Both the natives and the global tourists come here to buy their essentials at a reasonable cost. The markets of Saigon are well organised and the products are flawless.

This open-air market sells a large variety of stuff including goods produced in local factories and imported goods. The available  products of this market are clothing, belts, bags including large and small such as handbags, electronic products, shoes, cell phones, food stores, hairdressing, branded attires, suits, dresses made by the finest silk and other valuable materials and more other stuff. But most of the time the prices are more than the actual price even in the shopping malls, so the buyers need to bargain with the sellers to get the products at a lower price.

The markets are considerably bigger in size and houses numerous shops and stalls. In Saigon city, there are several districts and each of the districts has one openair market. The markets are stretched in lines and one cannot see the end of the line due to the crowd and goods-laden shops. But there are some categories among the shops and you have to go to a specific lane to get your essentials.

Usually, I buy my daily essentials and important knick-knacks from the open air markets. I like the markets as they have many varieties to provide with and the most important feature of the markets is the bargaining option with the sellers. At times, I bargain with them and purchase the finest quality product for me at a very lower and unimaginable cost which would cost me over thousands of bucks at the shopping malls.

Besides, the goods sold in the market belong to top-class in terms of quality and producing materials. Moreover, the sellers are friendly with me as I have turned into a regular client for some of the specific shops like electronic gadgets, covers for my iPhone etc.

Alternative Answer 2: 
'Nakamise Shopping Street' is an excellent street market in Tokyo, Japan that I visited 3-4 years back and I enjoyed my shopping and the traditional shops located there. I went there with my husband and 8 years old daughter and my daughter loved this place so much that she took many photos of this market and still tell her friends about her experience there.

This beautiful and lively pedestrian street has numerous gorgeous looking shops which sell various items including wooden sandals, wooden dolls, Japanese clogs, colored papers, postcards, all sorts of Japanese souvenirs, traditional snacks such as kaminari-okoshi, kind of foods that are associated with festivals, various classic Japanese food and many more items that mainly targets the tourists. When I was there, I noticed a huge crowd of foreign tourists who were shopping or dining there.

As I heard from a local shop owner, this market is about 250 meters long and the front approach to Senso-ji Temple and this is one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan with attracts a great number of tourists each year.

My whole experience of my visit to this street market was stirring and full of surprises. Especially my daughter’s excitement made this place worth visiting. We bought some traditional goods from this market, took lots of photos and ate our dinner there. The traditional meal that we ate was totally exotic to us and indeed very tasty. The Senso-ji Temple that we visited was also very exciting and it revealed a past Japanese history in front of us. As a tourist, I had lots to see and do there and that’s the main reason the experience was so happy and exciting. The prices of items we bought were reasonable and we had a whole picture of Japanese history and tradition from this market. Though it’s been over 3-4 years, many items that we bought from this market are still kept in our house.

Part 3: Discussion topics:


Shopping at markets
Q. Do people in your country enjoy going to open-air markets that sell things like food or clothes or old objects? Which type of market is more popular? Why?
A. The people of my country usually shop their necessaries from the open-air markets. It is like a culture for them to visit the markets once a day. So, it seems they enjoy much in shopping in those markets more than shopping at the concrete-build shopping malls. The shopping malls are popular among the top class people but most of the ordinary people like to visit the open markets for some specific reasons. The first cause is that a large variety of a single product is available there which is not found at the attractive shopping malls. Besides, the sellers in the shopping malls have no bargaining policy which is practised and the common feature at the open markets.

Q. Do you think markets are more suitable places for selling certain types of things? Which ones? Why do you think this is?
A. The markets are visited by most of the commoners and they are on their way to home. So, those places are suitable to sell certain types of things like small electronic gadgets, hair cut facilities, clothes for common use etc. The things are sold in the open markets as the products and things are frequently used and thus get damaged soon, but the people do not care about using those with care as they are less expensive comparing to the shopping malls and available in the open markets.

Q. Do you think young people feel the same about shopping at markets as older people? Why is that?
A. In fact, the feelings of shopping differ from generation to generation in the country. The feelings of the old and adults are not the same for several reasons over using any product. When they are at the market, the adults may start recalling their past over any specific product – how it was, how they used the product etc. But it is entirely different for the younger people because they have no memories to recall any product as they are the fresh users of the products. Moreover, the choices may also differ from the older people for the age-group distance and gap.


Shopping in general
Q. What do you think are the advantages of buying things from shops rather than markets?
A. If you buy something from a shop, it could be easier for you to check the thing rightly before you finally purchase that. But in markets, you might not have that chance to check the thing properly and the sellers at the markets may turn reluctant to change the product or service. Moreover, if you want hassle-free shopping and without bargaining, shops are the best places for you rather than markets. Another difference between these two places is the prices of the products.

Q. How does advertising influence what people choose to buy? Is this true for everyone?
A. Advertisements have great influences on the people. If someone is looking for any specific product at a shop or a market, s/he will look for the thing that they had seen on advertisements in different media. The advertisements subconsciously influence people to buy specific products. There is none who could avoid the influence. 

Q. Do you think that any recent changes in the way people live have affected general shopping trends?
A. Yes, definitely the lifestyle, socioeconomic conditions and advertising have greatly changed people's habit of shopping. Currently, the people have started for branded products and thus the markets are also providing them with the desired items. The changes are notable and it is done by advertisements. While people in the past mostly purchased products and goods they needed, people nowadays purchase more than they actually need. The range of necessity has also enhanced to a great extent.