Houmt Souk Market

When traveling anywhere foreign, we recommend that you check out the market areas of any region or village you are visiting.  This is where you can often find the best bargains, and convivial bartering (haggling?) is usually quite permissible. 

The largest town in Djerba is Houmt Souk (the heart of the "Zone Touristique"), and it definitely has its share of hustle and bustle.  If you are driving, be very careful as it seems there are people and cars careening out from all directions at any given time.  On our sightseeing visit to the town, we took a taxi from the resort.  (This was a much easier option.)  The old part of the town is set up in areas like lanes.  Here, shops are selling everything you can imagine, from traditional Tunisian souvenirs and musty old postcards from the 1970's to splashy leather handbags and cooking ware!  You name it, it is here.  There are also some cute little indoor/ outdoor cafe's where you can take a respite and have a bite to eat, but don't expect anything too fancy. 

While visiting Houmt Souk, and any other urban area in Tunisia for that matter, you will undoubtedly also be witness to an unspoken social custom.  There seems to be a real lack of women walking about in public!  And even though Tunisia is a rather Western-influenced North African country, the absence of women is surely due to Muslim tradition.  On the contrary, walk a few blocks in Houmt Souk and you will see hordes of local men hanging out on street corners, drinking coffee or mint tea, and taking a drag or two from a hookah pipe!  (And boy, do they like to dress up and make sure they are looking nice!)  

Set of Drifters tip:  Avoid the morning and mid-day crowds and head to Houmt Souk an hour or so before dusk so you can actually walk around and feel the pulse!  Oh yeah, and the word "souk" actually means "market," so you can always count on a market being present when you see this word in Tunisia!  This concludes your first lesson of Souk 101, though you can catch the next chapter in "Southern Tunisia" under "goodies."

Houmt Souk Market - accessible from the Place 7 Novembre (at the nexus of Avenue Mohamed Badra and Avenue Abdelhamid el-Kadhi)