Saigon’s Ben Thanh Market is where the action is! If you love cheap and cheerful stuff like home decor, souvenirs and trinkets, jewellery and bootleg watches, bags, shoes, textiles, et al; plus yummy Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and French food delights (within its surroundings), look no further! Just like us, billet yourselves in a no-frills, affordable but comfortable hotel right across the Ben Thanh Market! There are plenty to choose from and the convenience of simply crossing the street to take a break in your room after shopping, with your treasure trove in hand, is unbeatable!
The Ben Thanh Market is not only one of Saigon’s top attractions, but also one of the city’s earliest surviving structures. It developed from informal markets formed by early 17th century vendors that gathered near the river.
It is frequented not only by tourists, but by locals as well, due to the presence of the fresh produce section from which meat, seafood, poultry, vegetables and fruits, fresh flowers, and most important of all – coffee (Trung Nguyen in Vietnamese), are available.
A few tips:
- Bargain to your heart’s delight even with the prominent display of “fixed price” signs.
- Right smack in the centre of the market is the food section! Chow down!
- Scam alert: Outside the market, dodgy shoe repair/shine young men appear out of nowhere and fuss over your footwear without asking for permission. You may initially find it amusing. It’s not. Vehemently say “NO” straightaway and walk away. They’ll charge you an arm and leg for basically doing nothing for you.
- If you are sensitive about strangers, specifically vendors, touching you, don’t get irritated. It’s just their way of getting your attention to check out their store.