You want to go to a place where you can enjoy shopping for souvenirs, handicrafts, all kinds of goods and eating traditional Vietnamese foods? Welcome to Ben Thanh Market whose existence so vital to the point it’s considered the unofficial symbol of the city.
Situated at the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tan Hung, and Le Lai streets, Ben Thanh is accessible through 4 gates. The food section with more than 20 eateries in the market offers a wide variety of Vietnamese cuisine from Com Tam, Pho, and Sizzling Pancakes to Noodles and seafood.
For shopping, you can find almost everything here: clothes, textiles, electronic goods, lacquerware, souvenirs, and more. Bargaining is acceptable, don’t hesitate to haggle the prices down.
- Opening Hours: Daily 6:00 –24:00
- Address: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Despite a recent bad reputation as an over-priced place as many tourist shopping points nowadays, Ben Thanh market, however, is still worth a visit. If you want to find back a glimpse of the old Indochina, or some traits of “the Pearl of far East”, then there you go.
When it comes to Hanoi, people say One-pillar pagoda or Temple of Literature. When it comes to Ho Chi Minh city (Sai Gon), people say Ben Thanh market. Ben Thanh market is what comes up in Vietnamese’s mind every time they think about Ho Chi Minh city.
The current location of the market was built in 1912. There are about 3000 small trading booths in the market, welcoming 15000 visitors daily. In January 2012, the market has been recognized by Food & Wine magazine as 1 of 10 places with the most attractive street foods.
Since the day it was built, there were many names for it: Old market, Ben Thanh new market, Sai Gon new market and nowadays Ben Thanh market. Over 100 years of history, the market is like an old man having witnessed changes of Vietnamese South and the Pearl of far East, from the day of Quach Thi Trang female students with a historical protest to the day of the whole nation independence. There are many booths and stores here which shared the same age as the market.
Of course, you come here to find authentic Vietnamese souvenirs and goods. But as travelers had said, visiting a market is like digging into a local instinct and local typical features, because this is where you can see how locals interact and communicate, how their daily routines are shown. If anything can present a city or a town, it must be a local market.
There was an old Vietnamese saying “Trai khôn kiếm vợ chợ Đông” (A wise man choose his wife at Eastern entrance). Eastern entrance lady traders were well-known for their business mind, flexible trading method and excellent communication skill. From this saying, you can also learn about the standard of choosing a partner as a wife-to-be in Vietnam in the past.
Constructed before the French colonial period, the market is located nearby the riverside of Ben Nghe river, close to Gia Dinh wall, therefore it was named Ben Thanh (combination between Ben in Ben Nghe & Thanh in Gia Dinh wall). Until 1911, French authority decided to relocate it to its current site. It lies among four roads: Quach Thi Trang, Le Thanh Tong, Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chu Trinh.
According to architectural experts, Ben Thanh market bears the unique traits of a 100-year-old market without feeling irrelevant or looking out of place in the busy city life. If anything, it seems to glisten among the surrounding modern and contemporary buildings.
Khuong Van Muoi, President of the city Architects’ Association, said “when we talk about the market, the first thing people remember is the clock tower, but there are also banners surrounding the clock tower extending over the market to provide shade and the market building, designed specifically for natural air-conditioning.” These are the unique aspects that the French architects were able to accomplish even back then, he added.
Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh market has long been viewed as a symbol of the country’s largest economic hub.
Ben Thanh market has been operated for over 100 years. The main business in the market is clothing, fabric, fashion accessories, handicrafts, fresh ingredients, fruits and flowers. Revenue from the market contributes a considerable amount to the city, especially in tourism revenue.
Ranked the 15th among top best food court in the world, Ben Thanh food court is always tasty, busy but available for you anytime opened. In a rush for Vietnamese cuisine? Come here, please!
Unique & colorful ethnic scarfs, dedicated wooden trays are among several eye-catchy handicraft products in Ben Thanh market.
Special products all over Vietnam are available here, from sweet jam to shrimp sauce.
Let’s go on a challenge to find the reddest dragon fruit in the market and enjoy its fabulous taste!
Here you are the highlight of Ben Thanh market. We always save the best for last! Basically, you can find anything Vietnamese presented here in a more vibrant ambient of a sleepless city.
The method of buying at cheap price is that you have to know the real value of the good and you need a skill of tricky bargaining. Do you even know you can buy the good with a wholesales price here? Yes, you know it.
Vietnamese people are friendly and curious. They will gladly and more generous if you can say a bit of Vietnamese because somehow it shows your effort when traveling in the country. And do not forget to compliment your sellers, especially Vietnamese ladies, there is no theory here but this way works, to be honest!
The presence of him/her somehow can reduce the first price the sellers say to you because they are all Vietnamese, they know what the good is. e sure to check out some booths for the same products before you want to buy one.
Sound great? Enough for you to hop on a plane and fly to Ho Chi Minh City this summer with us via our customized tour for you?
Click for more things to do in Ho Chi Minh City or what to do in Ho Chi Minh city for 2 days