Ben Thanh Market – An Ultimate Shopping Guide

Ben Thanh Market is a thriving example of Vietnam’s dynamic economy and rich cultural legacy. This iconic market has developed into a diverse shopping center that provides both goods and experiences. We will take a virtual tour through the winding aisles of this market with this comprehensive shopping guide, discovering its varied parts and architectural appeal while offering priceless advice for a productive shopping adventure.

Ben Thanh market
Main entrance Ben Thanh market

Join us in exploring the entertainment paradise in the article below.

1. Brief overview of Ben Thanh Market significance in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ben Thanh Market, which dates back to the 17th century, began as a small marketplace beside the Saigon River. Its growth in both size and popularity led to its official establishment as Ben Thanh Market in 1859. The name Ben Thanh actually derives from the words harbor (Ben) and Citadel (Thanh). The market had extensive repairs and extensions throughout the French Colonial Era, which culminated in the construction of a new structure in 1912, created by the well-known French architect Gustave Eiffel. Ben Thanh Market, which flourished during the 20th century, is now one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most recognizable sites.

The market has four major doors that go to the busiest streets in Saigon. It is situated in District 1, in the heart of the city. This is regarded as a premium piece of land, contributing to the constant bustle and vibrancy of both day and night commerce operations. If you’re unsure of your direction, go by following the throng of visitors heading into the market. This is where it is located on a Google Map, so it should be simple.

Address: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Opening times:

  • Ben Thanh Market: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Ben Thanh Night Market: Temporary closing 

2. Immersive Shopping Experience at Ben Thanh Market

ben thanh market explore
West Entrance of Ben Thanh Market ( Cua Tay )

Ben Thanh market has 4 main doors and 12 side doors radiating out in many directions. Each main door is located on a different street side:

  • The southern gate is located on Le Loi street, opposite Quach Thi Trang park and overlooking the 3-sided clock tower. The south gate area is where raw stalls such as fabrics and dried foods are located.
  • The eastern gate is located on Phan Boi Chau street, this gate area is filled with colorful candy and cosmetics stalls.
  • The west door is located on Phan Chu Trinh street. There are many stalls selling shoes, diverse souvenirs, handicrafts…
  • The northern gate is located on Le Thanh Tong street. This gate area is home to stalls of fresh flowers and tropical fruits

Considered the largest retail market in Saigon, this place has all kinds of goods from popular to luxury, from fashion to household appliances to serve tourists. If you’re looking for additional inspiration, be sure to check out our article on the greatest items to buy in Vietnam!

 

2.1. Clothing and Textiles

inside ben thanh market guide
Explore the area inside ben thanh market

Ben Thanh Market’s apparel and textiles department is a visual delight. Vietnamese traditional clothing, like the “Ao dai”, is shown in vivid combinations, honoring the country’s rich fashion history. The market is a veritable gold mine for anyone looking for one-of-a-kind items that combine history with modern style.

  • T-shirts
  • Silk scarves and shawls
  • Elephant print pants
  • Sportswear
  • Souvenirs and Local Handicrafts

A world of talent and craftsmanship may be discovered by exploring the local handicraft area. Each object below is a treasured work of art that narrates a tale of Vietnam’s cultural heritage.

  • Lacquerware
  •  Bamboo products
  • Ceramic pottery
  • Handmade jewelry and accessories

2.2. Miscellaneous:

Additionally, Ben Thanh market serves as a venue for the exhibition of creative qualities via:

  • Non la (conical hat)
  • Vietnamese traditional musical instruments
  •  Paintings and artwork
  •  Decorative lanterns

2.3. Ben Thanh Street Food Market

Street Food Area inside Ben Thanh market
Try local street food inside Ben Thanh market

Ben Thanh Market is a culinary journey as well as a place to shop for material products. Both residents and visitors choose the food court at Ben Thanh market first when it comes to Saigon’s cuisine. The US cuisine and Wine magazine named this location as one of the 10 travel destinations with the world’s most appetizing street cuisine. Unlike other markets, shops are only concentrated in a few locations. At Ben Thanh market, the food court is arranged by the management board into a spacious area true to the “trade has friends, sells has wards”. Street food sellers offer a real flavor of local cuisine, beckoning with the fragrances of Vietnamese specialties.

  • Goi cuon (fresh spring rolls)
  • Banh trang tron ( mixed rice paper) – Must try
  • Vietnamese coffee beans
  • Banh canh cua (Crab Tapioca Noodle Soup)
  • Sweet soups

  

3. Tips and Tricks

3.1. Bargaining & prices guide

“Bargaining” is deeply ingrained in the culture of Ben Thanh Market. While it may be unfamiliar to some visitors, embracing the practice with a friendly and respectful demeanor is essential. Starting negotiations at half the quoted price and gradually finding a mutually agreeable amount ensures a positive interaction with vendors. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Traders are generally superstitious. Since it is their first sale of the day and it is lucky for you, you might obtain greater prices in the morning.
  • Be ready to negotiate. Ben Thanh Market frequently has prices that are two or three times higher than average.
  • If you purchase more than one item at a time, you may receive greater deals.
  • Keep your cool and smile. Here, positivism is always welcomed and provides for a more enjoyable encounter.
  • Simply look around if you want to avoid making any purchases. Place everything back on the table without touching it. This is disliked by traders.
  • Remember that a lot of the goods sold in Ben Thanh Market are also accessible in other regions of Vietnam. As such, it’s best to proceed cautiously while making purchases.

 Price guide

  • T-shirt/Shirt:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 100,000 – 300,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $4 – $13
  • Pants:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 200,000 – 400,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $9 – $17
  • Non la (Conical Hat):
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 50,000 – 100,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $2 – $4
  • Ao dai:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 300,000 – 800,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $13 – $35
  • Wallet:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 100,000 – 300,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $4 – $13
  • Shoes:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 300,000 – 800,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $13 – $35
  • Handbag:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 200,000 – 500,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $9 – $22
  • Small Souvenir:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 20,000 – 50,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $1 – $2
  • Ceramic/Porcelain:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 100,000 – 500,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $4 – $22
  • Lacquerware:
    • Price in Vietnamese Dong (VND): 200,000 – 1,000,000
    • Price in US Dollars (USD): $9 – $43

Additionally, Ben Thanh street food market offers fixed prices for enticing dishes that you are sure to appreciate.

At Jackfruit Adventure, we offer Saigon street food tour by bicycle for an authentic trip to explore Saigon and their tasty food 

3.2. Security

Ben Thanh market always attracts domestic customers and tourists, so this market is very crowded. From that point on, unlucky mishaps would inevitably happen.

Fresh food ben thanh market
Fresh Food Area inside Ben Thanh Market

These travel-savvy tips are worth a read.

  • Avoid wearing flashy, large items of jewelry that could easily be pulled off you.
  • Protect personal belongings such as phones, bags, and wallets to prevent theft due to the extremely large number of visitors to the market.
  • If you want to check- in at the market gate area, pay close attention because vehicles passing through here are extremely crowded, especially during rush hours.

3.3.  Ben Thanh night market

The night market is the “final boss” that makes up the name “playboy paradise” of Ben Thanh market. Not only for tourists, this is also an entertainment and recreation destination for young people or office workers after a long day of hard work.

Take some time to walk along the two busy streets of Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Boi Chau to immerse yourself in the bustling crowd, enjoy street food, and shop for interesting souvenirs.

  • Operating hours: 19:00 – 22:00.
  • Address: Located on 2 streets Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh.

3.4. Nearby Ben Thanh Market

You get to see a number of nearby sights when you’re at Ben Thanh Market. The market is close to several important sites, including the War Remnants Museum, Central Post, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Reunification Palace, so it’s easy to visit them during the day.

After taking in the colorful ambiance of Ben Thanh Night Market in the late afternoon or evening, you may visit Bui Vien street, popularly referred to as the backpacker street, which is a well-liked destination if you’re interested in the lively bar and club scene. Visit Nguyen Hue Walking Street for a more authentic experience. Here, you may savor street cuisine, take in the vibrant environment, and see the exquisitely lighted City Hall and Opera House.

4. Conclusion 

Ben Thanh Market is more than just a place to buy; it’s a cultural journey that envelops tourists in Vietnamese culture. The market captures the energetic essence of the nation with its lively environment and wide variety of items. This market guarantees a once-in-a-lifetime encounter full of distinctive finds and rich cultural experiences, regardless of experience level. Put on your walking shoes, hone your negotiating techniques, and go out with Jackfruit Adventure to explore Saigon Ho Chi Minh city cycling tour .

 

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