Often described as Ho Chi Minh City’s most authentic market and certainly its biggest – Ben Thanh Market is a bustling hub of food, clothing, trinkets and anything and everything a local or tourist could want. This popular marketplace hosts both a day and night market, both of which operate every day of the week.
Residing in central Ho Chi Minh City for more than 100 years, this historic market is a rich part of the city’s cultural tapestry. Set in a large open square, the early-1900s building is known for its red roof and iconic clock tower.
Inside, you’ll find aisle after lively aisle of local goods. Look out for fresh vegetables, exotic fruits, specialty produce and Vietnamese tea and coffee sitting alongside souvenirs, modern and traditional clothing, locally made handicrafts and artworks, and Vietnamese and Western textiles.
Any stall not displaying a ‘fixed price’ sign is open to bargaining, so get set to hone your haggling skills. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, a visit to this heaving marketplace is a must-do when you’re in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s colourful, it’s vibrant and it’s swirling with the sights, sounds and smells of the city. The people-watching alone is a fascinating experience.
When day turns to night, the market closes, only to re-emerge immediately in the nearby streets. The ever-popular night market offers many of the same goods as the day market, with one notable addition – some of the best street food in Vietnam.
Join the throngs of locals and tourists feasting on freshly cooked seafood and local specialties including Bun bo Hue (beef noodles), Banh Nam (cake steamed in banana leaf), Banh Xeo (crispy rice pancakes) and, of course, the ubiquitous pho (beef noodle soup). Eat, drink, wander and take in the festive atmosphere of this social and cultural hub.
It’s worth noting that most vendors accept cash only, but there are ATMs located in and around the market building so you can easily stock up on local currency. Ben Thanh Market is open to the public daily from 6am until 6pm, and Ben Thanh Night Market takes over from 6pm and operates until around midnight.