My travel companion and I have seen our fair share of Asian markets - good, bad and ugly. Whether we intentionally scout them out or somehow stumble into a chicken massacre in the back alley of a Burmese meat market, we always find ourselves in the local market at some point before the end of each day. Of all the wild markets we’ve been to, the Bird Market in Yogyakarta was perhaps the most memorable (and, perhaps, controversial). Located in Pasar Satwa dan Tanaman Hias, a fair trek from where we were staying in town, we decided to take a tuk tuk and avoid spending our day lost like zombies. When we finally arrived at the market (detours are something of an Indonesia right of passage), we noticed cages filled with birds, squirrels, bunnies, and perhaps a snake or two. But as we traveled deeper down the aisles of animals, we found some hidden gems. The Bird Market has every animal Darwin ever encountered, and some he only dreamed of - birds, geckos, puppies, squirrels, bats, snakes, lizards, owls, dragons, and griffons!
For a moment, lets consider controversy. Perhaps squirrels shouldn’t be available for purchase and many of the animals could use a larger cage. But if you’re interested in petting a few bunnies and watching the locals bargain for a pigeon, it is a market to check out. I had so much fun at this market my travel partner had to pull me away before I walked out with a rabbit under one arm and a bright orange-colored chick under the other.