Saigon's Markets: Top 5 markets in Saigon, Vietnam
Saigon's Markets: Top 5 markets in Saigon, Vietnam
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Widely known as Ho Chi Minh, Saigon is the largest city by population and most developing one in Vietnam. For a long time, Saigon has received the golden reputation for its historically rich destination with Khmer roots and French colonial influences. In addition, Saigon is famous for its wide range of magnificently architectural works, vibrantly nightlife, and especially fascinating markets. Saigon features a long list of local markets, each of which has its own unique appeals. However, they all have one thing in common – they are hustle and bustle all day long. Also, these interesting markets are true destinations to experience the lifestyle of the locals and learn more about Vietnamese culture and sociality. Thanks to its remarkable variety of tasty food, handicraft and consumer goods, wandering Saigon’s markets is the must-do activity when visiting Vietnam.
I. Ben Thanh market - The busiest market in Saigon, Vietnam
Location: Cua Nam, Ben Thanh Ward, District 01, Saigon Market, Vietnam
Total Area: 13,056 m2
Capacity: 10,000 visitors/day
Open Time: 04:00 (the North Side), 08:00 (the South/East/West Side)
Well-known standby for: handicrafts, souvenirs, clothing & other goods, local eats
Tel: (+84) 838-299-274
1. Historical highlights of Ben Thanh market, Saigon
The precursor of today’s Ben Thanh Market is the Gia Dinh Market which operated before the French Army came into Vietnam. In the past, Ben Thanh Market is located on the bank of Ben Nghe River which was close to the Citadel of Gia Dinh. That’s the reason why people call this market “Gia Dinh”.
The old Ben Thanh Market was very humble with a number of cottage and tents made of bricks. It’s also a place where the locals celebrated many important events of the year. In February 1859, French Army took over the Citadel of Gia Dinh and Ben Thanh Market was completely burned in the fire. After taking a stable foothold in Saigon, in 1860 French colony rebuilt the Ben Thanh Market. Since then, Ben Thanh Market has become the most crowded and busiest site in Saigon where hundreds of merchants from many countries gathered.
In 1912, French Colony built another market in the site of Bo Ret Pond. The market grounds were zoned by 4 streets including Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chu Trinh, Le Thanh Ton, and Quach Thi Trang. After many renovations, up to now Ben Thanh Market is considered the oldest and largest market in Saigon. Seeing seen enough ebb and flow of history, Ben Thanh Markets now is the commercial center of Saigon. In addition, it becomes a common site attracting thousands of visitors every year.
2. Facilities & Infrastructure of Ben Thanh market, Saigon
With total area of 13,056 m2, Ben Thanh Market is capable of welcome more than 10,000 visitors every day. At present, Ben Thanh Market boasts 1.446 stalls, 6.000 merchants, and 5 commercial businesses. Ben Thanh Market has 4 main gates together 12 sub-gates distributing equally in 4 sides:
- The South Side (facing with Quach Thi Trang Square): In the south of Ben Thanh Market stands a clock tower which has been the symbolization of the market for decades. This is area for selling and buying cloth and dried food.
- The North Side (facing with Le Thanh Ton Street): is gorgeous with colorful and attractive stalls of flowers and fresh fruits.
- The East Side (facing with Phan Boi Chau Street): attract thousands visitors with its significant variety of cosmetic and countless goodies (cookies, candy, cakes, etc)
- The West Side (facing with Phan Chu Trinh Street): is the appealing area for women because of its remarkable variety of clothing and footwear in many shapes, sizes and colors. In addition, there is a wide range of souvenirs and handicrafts.
In addition, along the lobby in the surroundings are numerous stalls of almost all consumer goods and special products serving for travelers such as souvenir, ready-to-wear clothes, cross-stitched pictures, tapestries products and handicrafts. You can also find here a lot of high-quality silkworm strands clothing.
3. What to eat & things to do in Ben Thanh market, Saigon
In January 2012, Ben Thanh Market made up the top 10 best food destinations of the world voted by Food & Wine Magazine. Ben Thanh Market boasts almost full collection of Vietnamese traditional foods. Here are some addresses serving greatest foods in Ben Thanh Market
Banh Mi Saigon – Banh mi Huynh Hoa
Address: 26 Le Thi Rieng Street, Ben Thanh Market, District 1, Saigon, Vietnam
Open hours: 15:00 – 22:00
Price: VND 24,000 – VND 30,000
Vietnamese Che – Vietnamese sweet soup in Ben Thanh Market
Address: Stall No 1154-1130, Gate No.07, the West Side, Ben Thanh Market, Saigon
Open hours: 15:00 – 22:00
Price: VND 17,000 – VND 39,000
Vietnamese bun rieu in Ben Thanh Market
Address: No.04 Phan Boi Chau Street, Ben Thanh Market, District 1, Saigon, Vietnam
Open hours: 09:30 - 19:00
Price: VND 35,000 – VND 40,000
Vietnamese bun mam in Ben Thanh Market
Address: No.22 Phan Boi Chau Street, Ben Thanh Market, District 1, Saigon, Vietnam
Open hours: 06:00 - 19:00
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 65,000
Ben Thanh Market becomes more and more crowded after 19:00 every day, especially those stalls in Pan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh Street. It’s also the time when the market turns into a colorful one thanks to hundreds of gleams of light from handicraft and souvenir stalls.
II. Binh Tay market - The Chinatown of Saigon, Vietnam
Location: No. 57A, Thap Muoi, Ward 02, District 6, Saigon, Vietnam
Open hours: 06:00 – 19:00
Well-known standby for: spice, Chinese herb, jewelry, local eats
Tel: (+84) 88-571-512
1. Historical highlights of Binh Tay market, Saigon
Binh Tay Market was invested to build by a Chinese businessman called Guoyan (郭琰) better known as Quach Dam in 1928. And then it was donated for the contemporary government. In return, he was authorizes to build some additionally blocks of buildings in the surrounding and to have his statue placing in the center of the market after his death. Binh Tay Market represented the ancient Chinese architectural style but was built with the modern Western construction techniques. For a long time, Binh Tay Market receives its golden reputation for being the most beautiful market in Saigon. In 2015, Binh Tay Market was recognized as the Architectural & Art Relics of Ho Chi Minh City by the Vestige Preservation Centre of Ho Chi Minh City
2. Facilities & Infrastructure of Binh Tay market, Saigon
Binh Tay Market boasts more than 2.300 stalls which are divided into 30 commodity groups. At present, Binh Tay Market has 5 main areas:
- The 1st Floor Area (facing with Thap Muoi Street): This area is mainly for selling and buying some special goods such as footwear, handbag, wedding things, cloth, hat, thread fiber, plastic, nylon, raincoat, porcelain, incense, herb, aluminum products, canned food and even phones.
- The 2nd Floor Area: This place where you can find a wide range of ready-to-wear clothes, goodies and general goods.
- Le Tan Ke Area: This place where you can almost all essential ingredients including fresh food (egg, meat, fish, shrimp, vegetable…), dried food ( dried fish, dried bamboo shoot, dried mushroom, rice flour…), spice (sugar, Vietnamese fish sauce, Vietnamese bean sauce…), prepared food (Vietnamese soft noodle, pickled radish, pickled cabbage, black jelly…)
- Phan Van Khoe Area: This is main area of the market for selling and buying foodstuff such as beef, pork, chicken, duck, egg, seafood (fish, shrimp, crab, frog, oyster…) soya cur, pickled cabbage… and even ice water.
- Tran Binh Area: This is a newly-constructed area where you can some superior products including high-priced herbs, high-priced seafood, tea and coffee, fresh fruit and fresh flowers.
In addition to 5 above area, in recent years Binh Tay Market is well-known for an area called the Chinatown of Saigon. This area is where people sell and buy a variety of Chinese herbs and Chinese medicine. Once passing this area, you will appealed by the special and typical smell of hundreds of Chinese medicines. Every year, thousands people from many countries visiting here to buy those valuable medicines in hope of maintaining and improving their health as well as for healing and beautifying.
3. What to eat & things to buy in Binh Tay market, Saigon
There are many Chinese – Vietnamese (the Vietnamese ethnic groups having Chinese ancestor moved and immigrated in Vietnam hundreds years ago) living in the surrounding of Binh Tay Market. As I mentioned before, Binh Tay Market was built with the money of a Chinese businessman. Therefore, Binh Tay Market is famous for a wide range of Chinese dishes in addition to the local eats. Here are some must-try foods in Binh Tay Market
Chinese Dim Sum in Binh Tay Market, Saigon
Address: No. 102D – 102E An Duong Vuong Street, Ward 09, District 05, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 06:00-14:00
Price: VND 25,000 – VND 55,000
Pha Lau Saigon – Binh Tay Market
Address: No. 823 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 14, District 05, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 15:00-22:00
Price: VND 15,000 – VND 33,000
Hu Tieu Saigon – Binh Tay Market
Address: No. 140 Trieu Quang Phuc Street, Ward 11, District 05, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 16:00-22:00
Price: VND 50,000 – VND 70,000
Hu Tieu Nam Vang Saigon
Address: Ngo Nhan Thinh Street, Ward 02, District 06, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 07:00-11:00
Price: VND 30,000 – VND 40,000
Sui Cao Ton Quyen – Binh Tay Market
Address: Ha Ton Quyen Street, Ward 04, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 13:30-23:00
Price: VND 35,000
III. Russian market - The unique market worth seeing in Saigon
Location: Central Garden Complex, No. 328 Vo Van Kiet Highway, Co Giang Ward, District 01, Saigon, Vietnam
Total Area: 2,000 m2
Open hours: 08:00 – 19:00
Well-known standby for: Russian specialty, clothes (sportswear, jackets, casual wear), footwear
1. Historical highlights of Russian market, Saigon
Located 1 kilometer from Ben Thanh Market, Russian Market is situated in the Central Garden Complex in Vo Van Kiet Highway. Receiving a total investment of VND 10,000,000,000, Russian Market was completed in April, 2009. The major investor of Russian Market, Tong Linh Giang Joint Stock Company, decided to construct this market as a commercial center for both wholesale and retail. After putting into operation 9 years, Russian Market is not only the trade center between Vietnam and Russia but also the community center of the Russian living and working in Ho Chi Minh City as well as oversea student, workers, employments who used to lived and worked in Russia.
2. Facilities & Infrastructure of Russian market, Saigon
At present, Russian Market features 200 stalls split over three floors. Although the total area is nearly 2,000 m2, Russian Market boasts a nearly full collection of Russian products. This market represents approximately the true essence of the Russian culture and society; therefore, people cite this market as the “Little Russia in Saigon”. Most stall here have a Russian name such as Natasha, Kiev, Volga, etc. In addition, the leasing melody of some classic Russian songs from the sound system brings to the visitors very special feelings. The highlight of this market is the modern and elegant facilities which are totally opposite to those ones in traditional market. However, the prices here are really reasonable. Therefore, you can go shopping freely without worrying about the prices.
- Clothing Sector: Russian Market is considered the most unique market in Saigon because this is the one and only place where you can buy a jacket even when the temperature outside reaches 34oC. Almost all items are sold at the wholesale price. You can buy a women’s T-shirt for around VND 80,000. Price of children’s clothing ranges from VND 30,000 to VND 150,000. What’s more, pick up a trousers and dresses for VND 100,000. Especially, a heavy jacket only costs you around VND 950,000.
- Russian Foodstuff Center: This is a mini supermarket where you can find a wide range of Russian specialty as well as special Russian herbs and condiment such as: Russian black bread, caviar, pickled grainy caviar, barley seed, chocolate, skumria fish, fumigated carp, sausage, canned pork, cheese, cold smoked salmon, etc.
- Consumer goods sector: This is place where you can buy almost all essential products for daily life such as: shampoo, washing-powder, toothpaste, facing mask…
- Fashion sector: Visiting this sector, you will be surprised at the variety of fashion items including footwear, handbag, ready-to-wear clothes, shawl and numerous beautiful accessories.
- Souvenir Sector: When visiting Russian Market, don’t forget to drop in some souvenir store to buy some gifts for your friends and family. You will have feeling of get lost in a corner of Russia due to a wide range of colorful souvenirs. There are many choices for you including jewelry, Russian dove, chocolate, Matrioska doves…
IV. An Dong market - The biggest wholesale market in Saigon
Location: No. 34 An Duong Vuong Street, Ward 09, District 05, Saigon, Vietnam
Total Area: 25,000 m2
Open hours: 08:00 – 14:00
Well-known standby for: clothes for wholesale, handicraft, dried food
1. Historical highlights of An Dong market, Saigon
An Dong Market is located at 34 An Duong Vuong Street which is between Nguyen Duy Duong Market and Yet Kieu Market. Being completed in 1951, An Dong Market underwent a major renovation in 2004. For decades, An Dong has been considered the biggest wholesale market in Saigon specialized in jean and other types of ready-to-wear clothes. However, An Dong Market is degrading overtime. Many parts of An Dong Market have fallen into disrepair for a simple and avoidable reason: lack of maintenance. After the event that hundreds vendors at odds with district authority and several meetings between representatives of the vendor side and the market management board under the control of HCMC People’s Committee, An Dong Market was officially authorized to renovate one more time. The District 5 Chairman Pham Quoc Huy announced that the market management board will finish repairing and upgrading the market before 2021.
2. Facilities & Infrastructure of An Dong market, Saigon
An Dong Market is considered as the largest market in Saigon with the total area of 25,000 m2. At present, An Dong Market comprises of 2702 stalls belonging to more than 4000 merchants. Notably, An Dong Market is also the first market in Vietnam applying the ISO 9001-2000 Quality Management System. An Dong Market boasts a remarkably wide range of handicraft and clothes, particularly a variety of jean.
- The ground floor: You can find here a long chain of food stalls selling many types of food including traditional snacks, desserts for less than VND 30,000. Besides, you can find a lot of food courts serving Vietnamese traditional dishes such as pho (Vietnamese soft noodle), banh xeo (savoury crepes), Vietnamese spring rolls, and mi quang (turmeric noodles) all day around.
If you know how to bargain, you can buy a lot of beautiful and high-quality clothes at the reasonable prices as follows: VND 60,000 – VND 15,000 for all types of shirt, VND 120,000 – VND 250,000 for a dress, and VND 100,000 – VND 250,000 for a jean.
- The 2nd and 3rd Floor: These floors are places for selling and buying things at both retail and wholesale. You can find here a significant variety of jeans, footwear, cloth, ready-to-wear clothes in many size and color. In addition, there are a huge number of handicrafts such as woodwork, knitwear and jewelry made of jade and amethyst
V. Tan Dinh market - The market with unique architecture
Location: No. 01 Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 01, Saigon, Vietnam
Total Area: 2,400 m2
Open hours: 05:00 – 17:00
Well-known standby for: local eats, fabric, clothes
1. Historical highlights of Tan Dinh market, Saigon
Tan Dinh Market was constructed by the French colonial government in 1926. At the beginning, Tan Dinh Market was operated by the local people and was widely known as Phu Hoa Market. Back in those days in the 1870s, this market was considered as the most important market in the North of Saigon. Latterly, people call it Tan Dinh Market maybe because it faced with the Rue Paul Blanchy Church (also called Tan Dinh Church). In the past, Tan Dinh Market was also known as “Cho Nha giau” (market for the rich) because the prices here were always higher than those ones in other market. In addition, in two sides of this market were the parking spaces for car and horse wagons. The highlight of this market is its special architecture. Tan Dinh Market boasts the unique architecture which is the harmonious combination between French and Vietnamese style. Over several renovations, Tan Dinh Market still remains its outstanding features. Up to now, Tan Dinh Market is still an important commercial center as well as a historical monument of Saigon.
2. Facilities & Infrastructure of Tan Dinh market, Saigon
Situated right at the crossroads between Hai Ba Trung and Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Market is a well-known shopping center for both the locals and foreign visitors. Tan Dinh Market has 4 gateways. When visiting Tan Dinh Market, you will be attracted immediately by the unusual and attractive façade featuring three steeples, one in the middle and two on two sides. The middle steeple still remains its bell and the antique clock. Next to the parking lot opened for the visitor is a security chamber. There is a professional security tram patrolling around the market to maintain discipline.
Here are some main sectors of Tan Dinh Market:
- The food sector: The food sector of Tan Dinh Market is highly recommended for those people who want to discover the real essence of Vietnamese cuisine. Moving to the front area of the market, you can find a multitude of street food vendors serving some of the best Saigon’s dishes such as sup cua (crab soup), bun rieu (noodle soup with crab), Vietnamese che (Vietnamese sweet soup) and so on. All the dishes are sold at reasonable prices. Because most the food vendors can’t speak English, you will experience the art of point-and-order service.
- The fabric sector: Located in the main area of the building, the fabric sector is the place where you can find a board range of local silks as well as fabric in sophisticated colors and patterns. It’s easy for you to get overwhelming because of the diversity. Therefore, to get the greatest things, remember to keep your eye for a good catch, be persistent and use some bargaining skills. It’s better for you to browse around before deciding to buy. Or else, you will feel pity when finding some unique fabric such as floral chambray, ombre gingham, and whimsical voiles at the end of the sector. Moreover, at the fabric sector of Tan Dinh Market, you can find the widest collection of prints which will surprise you somewhat such as tropical fruits, ancient villages and so on.
3. What to eat & things to buy in Tan Dinh market, Saigon
Mi Hoanh Thanh Chu Cau
Address: Tan Dinh Market, Nguyen Huu Cau Street, District 01, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 07:00 - 21:00
Price: VND 25,000 – VND 55,000
Crap Soup Mrs. Hanh Restaurant
Address: Tan Dinh Market, No.123 Nguyen Huu Cau Street, District 01, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 08:00-18:30
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 35,000
Vietnamese Che Mrs. Muoi
Address: Stall No.866, Tan Dinh Market, Nguyen Huu Cau Street, District 01, Ho Chi Minh City
Open hours: 07:00 - 12:00
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 20,000
In conclusion, Saigon Market is a site worth visiting when travelling to Vietnam. If you’re are seeking for Vietnamese history, Tan Dinh Market is a way to go. If you’d love to discover the essence of cultianary of Vietnam and other Asian countries, let’s visit Binh Tay Market. Meanwhile, Ben Thanh Market is an ideal place for those people who want to experience the Vietnamese lifestyle. In case that you need to buy some clothes, An Dong Market is the first choice for you. Finally, if you come from Russia or other countries in the East Europe, don’t forget to visit Russian Market and discover a small Russian at the heart of Saigon, Vietnam.