Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City: Saigon Travel Blog
For people who have spent years and years shopping at some supermarkets and commercial centers, it would be an exhilarating experience to discover the Asian markets. Just visit the Ben Thanh Market in Saigon, you then understand why. It is truly a must-see tourist attraction in the dynamic Ho Chi Minh city as a bustling market in the daytime and a social center in the night time.
Location: Le Loi, Ben Thanh Ward, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening Hours: 06:00 am – 07:00 pm
Entrance fee: Free of Charge
Best for: family, friends, couple, solo
History of Ben Thanh Market in Saigon:
Ben Thanh Market has become one of the earliest surviving structures of Saigon with its very long history. In early 17th century, there were just very few little stalls run by casual street vendors who gather together near the River of Saigon. In 1859, French Colonialists overthrown the neighboring Gia Dinh Citadel, the market was built with the name Les Halles Centrales. The name was changed into Ben Thanh Market after it was destroyed in a big fire.
The Ben Thanh market was relocated to another location near the My Tho railway station (Saigon bus station today) in 1914 and renamed as the “New Ben Thanh Market”. Market was renovated to keep up with Saigon’s progress in 1985. However, the original clock tower on the south entrance remained unchanged.
What to Do in Ben Thanh Market?
You can find almost everything you need and want to buy at Ben Thanh Market, from fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and flowers. They are sold in the stalls first up outside in the north gate. Like many other traditional local markets in Vietnam, locals sell all of the body parts of animals that may scare you such as Intestines, brains, feet, and stomachs,… The fresh meat market only lasts from the early hours of the day to midday.
Ben Thanh Market has approximately 3.000 big and small stalls and brings a whole new universe to you from around 8.00 am. You will be surprised at piles and piles of colorful items when walking around. Anything can be found here, from electronics, clothes, jewelry, shoes, handicraft to the food
If you are looking to buy a gift for your friends, unique Vietnamese traditional handicrafts will be the best. Vietnam is very famous for lacquerware made from natural materials. Bowls, spoons, plates, chopsticks made from coconut tree are always great gifts for friends and family. At Ben Thanh market, you also can also find fabulous fabric creations with threadwork embroidery and patchwork. If you like wood items, you can think about buying the handcrafted wooden boats and figurines here. You can also find the best choices for silk fabric and wood crafts at Ben Thanh market. These kinds of handicrafts will be the best souvenirs to your friends and also the memory of Ho Chi Minh city, one of the most dynamic city in Vietnam.
Local Food Stalls in Ben Thanh Market are also very popular for local and tourists when visiting here, especially at night time. The indoor market will be closed from about 5.30am – 6.00pm, but this is for local food stalls to open on the streets surrounding the market. If you stay in Ho Chi Minh city, do not forget to try dining experience here.
Do You Need to Bargain in Ben Thanh Market?
Bargaining is acceptable in Vietnam. To bargain like a a local, you should follow these tips: Always keep smiling; Speak the Lingo (such as: Bao nhieu? – How much?, Dat qua! – So expensive!,…); Don’t show you really want it; Browse before you bargain; Know when to quit; and Practice!
Tips and Tricks when visiting Ben Thanh Market:
- It is ussually easier to acquire more bargains in the morning time than in the afternoon. As some of the sellers offer a “better morning price” for their first customers to bring them good luck.
- Do not try to buy the first thing you see. There are many other shops selling fairly similar things in the market and you can compare the best price before buying.
- Keep a smile and be friendly to everyone. It will create a pleasant experience for both you and the sellers. But you also need to be straightfull if the sellers are too pushy.
- Sometimes you should walk away from a deal. In most of the cases, you will be called back and the sellers will accept the “lowest offered price” you agreed before.
By knowing these tips and tricks, then you will have an amazing shopping experience in the Ben Thanh market – one of the Top 10 Best Markets in Vietnam. Let’s go and enjoy this shopping Paraside in Ho Chi Minh City!
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