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“Night market”
Review of Jemaa el-Fnaa

Ranked #5 of 124 things to do in Marrakech
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This is the entrance to the outdoor market and food court of the city center.
Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

It was overwhelming at first when we arrived through the crowds of people. But after a while, you learn to enjoy its charm. It also helped that we took a food tour the next evening to be introduced to the various food stall. We bought ginger powder from the ginger tea stall and cant wait to use it at home! I may have reservations from eating there if it's hot like the middle of the summer as the food is out on display and not refrigerated.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank Sandy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,193 - 1,197 of 29,072 reviews

Reviewed 1 April 2018

We entered Jemaa el-Fnaa twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon on our last visit with our 6 month boy and 3 year old. Its true the place doesn't come to life until the evening but there are still things to see in the morning and it is much quieter, however there is more traffic such as mopeds down the narrow pedestrian streets making deliveries. Defiantly find a book to research the souks, they are vast, densely packed and its easy to miss attractions. We took a pushchair the first time (bugaboo so quite large) and baby carrier the second time, the second was much better. You can get a pushchair around but its just difficult and can restrict your progress through the congested streets.
On the square we saw, cobra shows, monkeys, hawks, dancing, music and gymnastics. The animal care is not to the standard of western society so one shouldn't be alarmed to see monkeys on chains and cages full of chameleons.
We found the traders on the square a little pushy, watch out for the ones that put things in your hands or give things to the kids. They tend to be wondering around and refuse to take them back wanting only money, but leaving it on the floor is fine if they persist. There are also a lot of people who jump up demanding money if they sense you took a picture of them, not only this but demanding ridiculous amounts like 100MAD bearing in mind you can easy eat a full meal for this amount. Its fair enough to provide a tip if you genuinely want an artistic shot of them I'd say no more than 10MAD and walk away, to avoid it just take a shot of someone else (travel companion) and get them in the background.
The traders in the souks we found were more relaxed, much less pushy and reasonable on price. We on the whole negotiated 1/3 off the price and saw this as more than fair. Spice merchants do try and sell fake saffron so watch out for that, its often dark, skinny and only about 16 - 20MAD they claim its lasts years and dry.

Its quite nice to enter the souks at around 16:00, as by the time you have gotten lost and come back round to the square the market stalls will be up and running. The drums will be banging and you wonder what you have come out to. There is loads of cuisine to try from sheep head to spiced tea, all at a very good price, a whole head was 120MAD and snails were 10MAD for a large bowl.

Take your time a enjoy the culture, it is a vibrant and loud culture which can seem intimidating but tourists are well protected. Be wary of random people giving you directions, they may be leading you to no where or to their one little shop on the edge of the main souks. If it all starts to get too much head for a cafe, have some mint tea fresh fruit then carry on. If at all possible arrange transport in and out with a reputable taxi driver or provided shuttle bus. The last thing you need if you have had a bad session is a taxi driver taking advantage. Our boy started being sick on the first trip so we aborted, got the wrong taxi (having agreed with another to drop off and pick up) and he took us to the wrong hotel first and then tried to charge more once on route. It was all sorted in the end, as stated previously no matter what is happening, stay calm, even if voices are being raised its just part of the culture to express emotions!

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank JamesH2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2018 via mobile

It is almost stating the obvious but if the main souk in Marrakech is not on your wish list, it should be.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2018 via mobile

This square is very quiet during the day. Once the sun goes down, the tempo speeds up. It is very TOURISTY!
My 20 yr old daughter hated being constantly harassed by the local men. It’s basically full of storytellers (which you can’t understand), snake charmers and monkeys with nappies that will sit on your head! For a fee of course.
Wanting to eat at the stalls is a real trial. We tried to walk around and decide what to try but were constantly accosted by young men throwing menus in your face, wanting you to come to their table. No chance to stop and think. We did find a stall for soup and bread that had mostly locals sitting down and the food was fine and the server very pleasant, so all was well. But honestly, it’s not a pleasant experience and you don’t need to go.

Date of experience: April 2018
Thank Eliza-Tay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 April 2018

This plaza is probably why many people come to Marrakech. It's chaotic and entertaining and overwhelming and interesting and pitiful all at the same time. Have a pocket full of dirham coins for tipping various performers. Be prepared to accosted at nearly every turn to buy food, or contribute to the poor or disabled, or to buy some kind of horrible quality merchandise or souvenir. But above all, have an open mind and take it all in. You don't see this kind of scene anywhere in America.

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank MajDevo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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