Ben Thanh Market is a market located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The construction started from 1912 to the end of March 1914 and was completed. In many cases, the clock image of the south gate of this market becomes an unofficial symbol of Ho Chi Minh City.
I. HISTORY OF BEN THANH MARKET, SAIGON
Originally, Ben Thanh Market was established before the French Army invaded Gia Dinh. Initially, the location of the market located on the banks of Ben Nghe River, next to a river station near Gia Dinh City. In 1860, the French built the Ben Thanh Market at the old site (when the Republic of Vietnam was the site of the General Treasury) with bricks, ribs, and leaves. By July 1870, the market had been burnt down for a time, and people rebuilt it with bricks, iron slates, roofing tiles, all five of them: foodstuffs, fish stalls, meat stalls, food stalls and grocery store.
In 1911, the market became old and fell into a state of collapse. To avoid disaster, people have to break the market, only meat, because the roof is light, so not destroyed. The new market, commissioned by Brossard et Maupin, was built between 1912 and the end of March 1914. Before 1975, the name ‘Ben Thanh Market” was usually only present in books, while the people used to refer to Saigon Market. The rest was destroyed and was built by French. The two sides of the market until 1940 was the bus station east and west. Later, this bus station was moved to another place.
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II. MUST-KNOW INFORMATION ABOUT BEN THANH MARKET, SAIGON
1. Address of Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
The market is located in Cua Nam, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The main gate of Ben Thanh Market is the South gate, overlooking Quach Thi Trang Square with the symbol of a three-sided clock tower. Besides, there are also 3 gates for tourists to come in and out: the northern gate is on Le Thanh Ton Street, the eastern gate is on Phan Boi Chau Street and the western gate is on Phan Chu Trinh Street.
2. Time to open of Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Ben Thanh market is usually open from 4:00 to midnight. When visiting Ben Thanh Market, you can not miss the chance to experience the beauty of Ben Thanh Market in the night.
3. Design of Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
a. Total design of Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
The market was built in the cage architecture on the area of 13.056m², including 4 main doors and 12 sub doors radiating in four directions. Inside there are many booths. The main gate of Ben Thanh Market is the southern gate, inside the cage is a place to sell cloth and dry food.
The northern door has stalls selling with fresh flower bouquets and fruits like inviting passersby. The eastern door attracts customers with colorful cosmetics and candy. At the western door, this is a place to attract women because of the diversity of styles and sizes of shoes, fine art items, and souvenirs.
b. Meaning of reliefs in Ben Thanh Market Gates
One of the hallmarks of the architecture of the market is that it has reliefs on the gates, depicting the southern products with bulls, geese, stingrays, and bananas. This is an interesting story that not everyone knows. Accordingly, designers affixed 12 reliefs to 4 sides of Ben Thanh Market since 1952. This work was composed by artist Le Van Mau, who worked in collaboration with ceramic artisans of Bien Hoa Arts Factory. After more than 60 years of existence, the reliefs of Ben Thanh Market still remains before the change of time and the harshness of nature.
III. WHAT TO BUY IN BEN THANH MARKET, SAIGON
1. Handicrafts in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
In Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh Market is the richest and most diversified handicraft market. Peopla handed down this business for many generations. International tourists, whenever you want to buy souvenirs, usually prefer Ben Thanh Market as a destination.
Price: VND 120,000 – VND 2,000,000
2. Curry mild powder in Ben Thanh market, Saigon
This is also a special business in Ben Thanh Market. Normally, other markets in Ho Chi Minh city sell curry powder with other dry food and only some popular varieties. Meanwhile, at this market, curry is sold especially with a few dozen different types and flavors. The curry mild powder is sold to consumers in restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets.
Price: VND 20,000 – VND 100,000
3. Fabrics in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Instead of just selling fabrics as other retailers in Ho Chi Minh City, the stalls at Ben Thanh Market also receive tailor-made products for customers and delivery within a day. Ngoc Giau, the owner of stalls, said that this is a way to help foreigners save time and get products they like. Stages have also been handed down for two generations.
Price: VND 100,000 – VND 2,000,000
4. Seafood in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Seafood in this market is also more special than other markets in Ho Chi Minh City. The stalls are quite eye-catching, many types of fish are very diverse to choose. As small traders, these large fish are imported from Phan Thiet City, mainly for sale to restaurants and large eateries.
Price: VND 150,000 – VND 3,000,000
5. Dalat vegetables in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
In other markets in Ho Chi Minh City, vegetables are taken from many sources that consumers can not distinguish origin. Sometimes, we can not know whether it is vegetables from Dalat City or China. But Ben Thanh Market is different, there is a separate stall selling vegetables from Dalat City. All vegetables have the certificate of origin, good preservation, eye-catching decoration.
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 100,000
6. Roasted coffee in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
In other markets, small traders mainly import coffee for sale. However, at the Ben Thanh Market, the stall owner handles the purchase of coffee, then self-made formulas. Currently, Thoi Vinh Coffee is the most famous coffee brand name that is not only sold domestically but also exported abroad.
Price: VND 50,000 – 300,000
IV. WHAT TO EAT IN BEN THANH MARKET, SAIGON
1. Fish sauce rice noodle in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Originated from the West, rice noodles became a specialty of Ben Thanh Market that anyone should visit to try once. This noodle soup is located on Phan Boi Chau Street (East gate of Ben Thanh Market) with a rich flavor, combined with many specialties of the river such as snakehead fish, black tiger shrimp, squid, eggplant … with rotten pork. Make a try only once, you will remember. All materials here are carefully selected. A piece of fish filtered out the bone just leave the meat firm. In particular, pork pieces rotten when the chan was flooded with deliciously delicious, chewing crispy in the mouth.
Address: 22 Phan Boi Chau Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 65,000
2. Crab rice noodle in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
The noodle soup which is in the heart generations of people now is sold on the sidewalk of Phan Chu Trinh Street. Being famous for the long life over 30 years, it attracts not only Vietnamese but also foreign tourists. Unlike normal crab, the crab here is made into a large and strong frying pan, in addition to fresh crab meat and other special ingredients.
Address: 44 – 46 Nguyen An Ninh Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price: VND 15,000 – VND 35,000
3. Che in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Coming to Ben Thanh Market, you will be attracted by the view from the colorful bowls of tea: the color of the green, the yellow banana, corn, beans, white of coconut milk, taro purple, pomegranate blush … Let’s try a glass of mung bean cake, strands of rice cake made from rice flour and power, tough and green pineapple smell. Green beans and crackers combined with coconut milk characteristic of the shop create a very interesting feeling when enjoying.
Address: Stall 1088, Ben Thanh Market, Le Loi Street, Ho Chi Minh City
Price: VND 15,000 – VND 25,000
4. Suong rice noodle in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Although originating from Vinh Long, this is better than the original. That’s due to the way Saigon was made, such as water is less salty but added to the sweetness pretty much as well as larger shrimp. Bubbling in Ben Thanh market only consists of two cows and a shrimp. It looks so simple but when you see the new special see also the dotted with a good kind of delicious, not to mention the rich vegetables are eaten.
Address: Stall 1020, Ben Thanh Market, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price: VND 60,000 – VND 100,000
5. Meatball rice noodle in Ben Thanh Market
Rice noodle here is most famous in the round white pancakes like ping-pong balls, eat crispy crunchy tasty meat but not feel paddy flour as many other places. The water used is also the secret to help the restaurant has much in the interests of customers. It has a clear color but very sweet from the taste of bone tunnel, not the taste of spice.
Address: 14 Truong Dinh Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price: VND 40,000 – 60,000
V. BEN THANH MARKET AT NIGHT
The market is opened from 18:00. To see the clear picture of Ben Thanh Market at night, you should go there at 20:00. Visitors to the market are more than half foreigners love the typical Saigon culture as well as looking to buy themselves and relatives the favorite items. This is also a place for young people to learn, communicate, improve their foreign language.
Visitors to the night market will enjoy the bold features of the region, the area on the S-shaped strip with many different flavors, colors such as Hanoi Pho, Hue beef noodle, Quang Binh soup, Nam Vang noodle soup … Many visitors after enjoying the dishes have introduced to friends, relatives or seek to visit if the opportunity to return to the city. The markets usually meet until dawn.
VI. EVENTS IN BEN THANH MARKET, SAIGON
1. Response to the fifth Ao Dai Festival in Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market Management in district 1 said that about 6,000 small traders at the market were wearing long dresses throughout March (every Monday and Friday) to respond to the fifth Ao Dai Festival.
In March, domestic and foreign tourists were surprised when they encountered thousands of women, who are Ben Thanh Market traders, dressed in colorful ao dai. Many foreigners visiting the market are very interested in the charm of Vietnamese girls selling, laughing softly in traditional costumes.
2. Tet Holiday in Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Ben Thanh Market is almost the typical market for shopping in Tet Holiday. Wherever they go, Ben Thanh Market is still the most luxurious market in the capital. When the Ben Thanh market is opened, almost the shopping atmosphere of Tet Holiday started all over the city. Indeed, around the main gate of the market are stalls selling jam, dry goods. They sell from morning till midnight under the brilliant light of colorful neon lights. Phan Boi Chau Street, Phan Chu Trinh Street, and Le Thanh Ton Street have stalls selling baby clothes and adults. Besides, there are various kinds of goods such as dry food, sausage, sliced meat, ginger jam, pumpkin jam, …
VIII. WHERE TO VISIT AROUND BEN THANH MARKET, SAIGON
1. Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Saigon – Place for bustle and joy
Since the construction of the Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street, Saigon youths have predicted it will be a very hot spot in the near future, and indeed it is. Walking Street Nguyen Hue is a large square in the heart of Saigon, where people have the pleasure to roam in the bustle and joy.
2. Foreigners’ area in Pham Ngu Lao Street, Saigon
This will be the perfect playground in District 1 if you want to find a place to show enthusiasm without fear of looking. Pham Ngu Lao Street is the name for the small area near 23/9 Park, Pham Ngu Lao Street, Bui Vien street… It is called Foreigners’ area because here you will encounter a lot of foreign visitors, and the shops here are mostly open to serve them. If you don’t know where to enjoy an Italian dish or Mexican style, you can come here and enjoy western cuisine in accordance with the taste of the West.
3. Mong Bridge, Saigon – The ideal place for relaxation
If you like quietness and think District 1 has nothing to play for you, surely this bridge area will suit you. The area is limited by three bridges: Khanh Hoi Bridge, Mieu Bridge, and Calmet Bridge. People come here often along the river to enjoy all the cool of the river winds and talk to their friends.
4. Ben Thanh Street Food Market, Saigon – Heaven of food lovers
Ben Thanh Street Food Market is located on 700 square meters on Thu Khoa Huan Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The tenant must exchange before work, or the owner decides how to decorate each counter such as height, materials are not expensive. Street style cuisine is always on top. The name of the counters is very wild as Brother Six, Uncle Te, Grandma, Homeland …
Criteria for the operation of this food market is diversified and delicious, ensuring food safety and hygiene. Most stalls are prepared with on-site processing equipment. After buying the fancy food, guests can bring to the area with rustic wooden dining tables. Besides the menu with a variety of dishes, the decoration space also makes the area attractive. In the evening, diners can enjoy both music and dance performances at the market.
5. Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon – Where to find peace in the soul
Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Notre – Dame Basilica is an indispensable tourist spot, highlighted by bright reds. After nearly 140 years of struggle with the wind and sun, the roof and some items of this architectural work degraded significantly. Shortly after the capture of Saigon, French built a church to serve as a place of worship for the Catholics in the Far East. The church was built on the side of a small Vietnamese temple. In addition to the purpose of worshiping places for believers, the construction of the cathedral is also for the purpose to show Catholicism and the greatness of French civilization before the colonists.
6. April 30th Park, Saigon – Green space in the heart of the city
People named this park after the Liberation Day of the South. It brings the green space between the bustling Saigon and connects the Independence Palace with the Notre Dame Cathedral. This is the place where people gather in the area, where couples are often dating and also an interesting place to watch the life of the city. This park is also a familiar place for young people. Meet, talk, chat with cool, fresh air at a corner of Saigon.
IX. TIPS FOR TRAVELLING TO BEN THANH MARKET, SAIGON
1. Tips for buying goods with reasonable prices
It is possible for other markets where goods are not very challenging but at Ben Thanh Market, if the buyer does not know how to pay the price, the seller will sell with a really high price. So, the buyers need a little experience to hold the price of goods and the price of an item in many places will give you a better view of real value. The principle of paying the price at Ben Thanh Night Market is paying 1/3 and possibly 1/5 of the original price. When choosing to buy any product, you have to consider very carefully about the quality as well as the place of production to be able to bid without much trouble.
2. Tips to know when coming to Ben Thanh Night Market
Ben Thanh Market at night is crowded with visitors and shopping, but also raises concerns about robberies, especially on Phan Boi Chau Street and Phan Chu Trinh Street. One of the main causes was the traffic jams in the area, especially during peak hours when small businesses start to show off. When coming to Ben Thanh Market, do not bring too much money and pay attention to your luggage. Besides, walking might be the best choice for you due to the convenience. After all of this information, hope you could enjoy every beautiful moment in Ben Thanh Market and always keep remembering the time in here.