Besides magnificent architectural works like Notre Dame Cathedral and The Reunification Palace, Saigon is also well known for various fascinating markets – Ben Thanh Market being the most popular. Saigon’s markets have their own unique appeals, but they all share one thing in common: they are crowded and bustling at all times, a true reflection of the local lifestyle and people. With diverse choices of traditional food, handicrafts, and friendly vendors, wandering around Saigon’s markets is a must-do experience, especially for foreigners visiting Ho Chi Minh City. Here’s a guide to 10 famous markets in Saigon to help you get around once you visit them.
1. Ben Thanh Market
On the list of the symbolic places in the city, Ben Thanh Market should be high on the priority list for those coming to Saigon.
Ben Thanh Market has been operating since 1914 up to the present and it is known as one of the oldest markets in Saigon. This 100-year-old street market is not only where the daily buying and selling of goods takes place, but it has also witnessed all the historical happenings of HCMC. In other words, it is a good location for visitors to experience the duel-existence between ancient and modern Saigon. Here, you can find numerous types of items, from clothing, footwear, and textiles to brocade, jewelry, and special Vietnamese dishes.
During the day, the inside of the market is divided into several themed zones like clothes and electronics. Each zone houses several booths aka shops. Tourists can easily buy interesting souvenirs like the Non La (a traditional hat), wooden slippers, coffee filters, etc. Moreover, you can try out different kinds of cuisine at the Ben Thanh night market.
The wet market opens at 4 am at the North Gate with fruit and fresh items stalls. At around 8-9 am, all stalls at the East, West, and South Gates simultaneously open.
Ben Thanh Market is only worth visiting. Shopping is not recommended. In my experience, prices are unreasonably high compared to other markets because the majority of the visitors are foreigners that are not well-versed with prices. The most important thing to note is to check the price before deciding to buy anything. Tourists really should bargain the ticketed price and expect prices to be reduced by around 50%. Although it is now cleaner and more organized, the gaps between stalls are very narrow, thus making walking around a bit difficult. Visitors should also be wary of pickpockets. There are some very good food stalls in the night market, but the rest are not that notable. Behind Ben Thanh, down Thu Khoa Huan Street is a newer night market that is more worth your time and energy.
Address: Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
2. Binh Tay Market (Cho Lon)
Located in the western area of the city, Cho Lon is one of the must-visit sites in Ho Chi Minh. Operating since 1930, the market was built in an oriental style. Thanks to its stunning design, several movies have been filmed at Cho Lon. This might be the reason why more and more people are flocking to the site, excited to discover what treasures lay hidden in every corner of the marketplace
In addition to its special architecture, Binh Tay Market is the busiest commercial center in Saigon. The majority of wholesale goods transported from Southwest provinces are brought here, and sellers often solicit buyers with affordable prices. If you intend to purchase household and electronic items, Binh Tay Market definitely warrants a visit.
Binh Tay Market is one of the largest and oldest markets of the city. Opening from 2-3 am until 9-10 pm, this place specializes in wholesale products at the lowest possible prices.
Both foreigners and locals agree that Cho Lon is the number one market experience in HCMC. The prices are surprisingly cheap, the items are diverse, and the atmosphere is always bustling. Besides Vietnamese, Chinese is widely spoken around the market because of its close proximity to Saigon’s Chinatown, so try to learn some basic Chinese sentences. Not to mention, the market’s culinary delights are another major highlight. Significantly influenced by Chinese culture, popular dishes here include Chinese-style roast duck, Pha Lau (pig’s organs), black chicken braised with Chinese medicine, and fish curry. With a unique taste and sophisticated cooking, I am sure that food here will satisfy even the pickiest customers.
Address: 57A Thap Muoi Street, Ward 2, District 6
3. Tan Dinh Market
The market has always been a famous and familiar shopping venue of natives. Built in 1926, the main gate of the market was designed in a very unique way. Despite being a location with a multitude of products, the most famous purchasable goods are the textiles and street food. Offering customers a varied mix of yummy dishes, food stalls in this market have always been highly complimented by food lovers. For families and tourists looking for cheap cloth, Tan Dinh Market has is fail-safe choice.
Banh xeo, bun mam, crab soup, crab noodles, mixed fruits, and especially the popular chicken sticky rice are dishes you should try at least once and you can find them all here. However, mostly everything else is sold here goes for a significantly higher price. This is why this market is nicknamed “the wealthy market”. So just have a look at items, try some of the food, and then cross the road to visit the beautiful pink church near the market.
Address: 1, Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
4. Ho Thi Ky Flower Market
The largest among all flower markets in Saigon is Ho Thi Ky. Located in a busy residential area on Le Hong Phong Street, Ho Thi Ky flower market is in harmony with the surrounding rhythm of life, creating a one-of-a-kind charisma that belongs solely to this destination.
Depending on the visitor, one could call it a flower market, a flower street, or even a flower forest. Hundreds of flowers appear down meandering alleyways and the territory of which it inhabits is pretty extensive. The colorful maze enchants and delights so much so that flower-lovers sometimes cannot find their way out. Ho Thi Ky flower market has existed since the eighties and its story has always been full of flowers since the beginning.
The market is busy both day and night. But I strongly believe that a visit between 2 to 3 o’clock in the morning is the most interesting experience that you could ever have. Around this time, the market comes to life with the smell of fresh flowers, marking the arrival of dense shipments of flowers from Da Lat, Hanoi, and the Western provinces. However, the aisles are quite small, and you need to be careful of fragile bouquets lest you want to fork up some cash. There is motorbike parking outside. Leave yours there before walking around the market. Another thing to note is to lower the price by 20-30,000 VND for each bouquet.
Address: Ho Thi Ky Street, Ward 1, District 10
5. Soai Kinh Lam Fabric Market
For those who want to feast their eyes on a kingdom of colorful fabrics, this market will definitely be the most joyful experience that you can have in Ho Chi Minh City. Having nearly 500 large and small-sized cloth stalls, you are bound to walk away with something in hand and at an extremely affordable price nonetheless! Even from a distance, you can even see the lively atmosphere of this place. Sparkly fabrics seem to become the market’s signature item.
A special feature of the market is that each stall sells only one type of fabric but in different colors and textures. In Soai Kinh Lam, almost any kind of cloth, from spandex, chiffon, khaki, to fabrics for curtains, sheets, cushions, or tablecloths, are at your disposal. The bestselling items are the fabrics used for making the traditional costumes –the Ao Dai– like satin, silk, and brocade.
On top of that, Soai Kinh Lam Market is a gathering place for rare fabrics, like velvet, chiffon, cotton, sparkling arnica, etc., – types that are not easy to find in any other markets.
If you buy retail, choose stalls outside the market, because stalls inside the market serve wholesale customers only. This is recommended for those who want to make an outfit for themselves inexpensively. However, not many vendors can speak English, so grab a Vietnamese friend in order to not be taken advantage of. The traffic around the market is a mess, so be really careful to avoid being hit by someone.
Address: 465-473, Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 14, District 5
6. Antique Collectors Market
Founded in 2009, this marketplace is the one stop for antique enthusiasts. The items on sale are simply old and used items from decades past. Those without any antiquing knowledge may deem a lot of the inventory as unusable or having no value. But in actuality, the price of these items ranges from a mere hundred thousand VND to over thousands of USD.
The market is only open for a small window of time every Sunday morning, from 6 am to 2 pm. Each visitor is charged a small entrance fee of 30,000 VND, with a drink included.
With sweet melodies wafting in the air, wander around the stalls to admire rare antiques. You just might find a quiet moment, or a little joy when purchasing an item that requires you to take a walk down memory lane, forgetting the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Honestly, this place is far from the city center. So if you don’t have a lot of time, this isn’t the soundest option. In addition to the distance, this place is quite small and may become a legit human furnace on hot days.
Address: Cao Minh Cafe, 311/27, No Trang Long Street, Ward 13, Binh Thanh District
7. Eco Box Container Market
This complex is a combination of shopping and dining spots, all housed in old containers. Containers are situated artistically and decorated with pictures of colorful flags of countries from all around the world. Mainly targeted at young people, Eco Box is expected to have a total number of up to 600 booths after the completion of its construction.
Opening at 5 pm and closing at 10 pm daily, one can find different items, such as clothing, cosmetics, souvenirs, toys, dinnerware, along with special items for backpackers. Take a seat at one of the many tables and chair lined along the walkway to watch the stage area where cool acoustic and dramatic performances are held every night.
Most evenings, the market is kind of boring, not to mention that it takes a significant amount of time to travel there due to its distance and the surrounding traffic. There isn’t that much to eat, however, you can visit Aeon Mall Center opposite the market. This is one of the most crowded shopping malls in the city.
Address: 99 N1 Street, Son Ky Ward, Tan Phu District
8. The New District
Among the list of hot weekend markets, The New District has been awarded the top prize among Saigonese youth. The bazaar gathers the trendiest shopping names across social media, like Nosbyn, The Blue T-shirt, Heverly, Urbanista, Pop Birdy. It’s basically a goldmine for Saigon’s most fashion forward.
In addition to the shopping, visitors can enjoy hip musical sets by live DJS and take plenty of selfies at the custom photo booths. This interactive market is usually held every few weeks.
Good music, delicious treats, artistic spaces, and a crowd of young people – all combined make this market a perfect destination for travelers wanting to understand the lifestyle of Saigon’s youth. However, be warned, that while many of these products may look good, the quality is pretty cheap. If you’re looking for a souvenir that will last past your security check at the airport, make a beeline for the traditional markets.
Address: Queen Plaza Ky Hoa, 16A Le Hong Phong Str, Dst. 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
9. Hello Weekend Market
Hello Weekend Market is known as one of the first weekend bazaars in Saigon. It brings together the most popular local brands, such as All ‘Bout Him, Dottie, Libé, Liti, Floral Punk, etc. Located in the Hoa Lu Stadium, Hello Weekend Market is housed in an incredibly spacious ampitheater. And that is obviously a big plus. Furthermore, most items on sale here are easy to wear, fashionable, and reasonably priced. Anyone coming to Hello Weekend will undoubtedly find at least one suitable item for themselves.
It’s exhausting to find a parking spot that doesn’t require you to queue in long lines so leave your motorbike at home and cab it or walk there. This place is always crowded and noisy. Therefore, keep your purse and phone close by if you don’t want them to be stolen. A number of my friends were pickpocketed at Hello Weekend Market and the security guards were basically helpless. Also the items on sale at Hello Weekend Market are way more eclectic and less expensive than the ones sold at The New District.
10. Dan Sinh Market
Dan Sinh market, or Yersin market, named after Yersin Street, is located in the tourist area of the city. It only takes a short five-minute walk to get to Yersin Market from downtown. Also known as The American Market, this bazaar caters to clientele who want to get their hands on a number of old military items, war memorabilia, as well as special gear for camping trips, such as outdoor clothing, thick coats, combat tents, mosquito nets, or mini binoculars. The warren of stalls also offers industrial-sized electrical appliances.
The prices of items are roughly between $5 to $45 USD on average. At Yersin Market, not only can you buy a unique souvenir, but you can also leave with a better understanding of the painful effects of The Vietnam War, known as The American War in this country. Beyond that, if you want to find gear for your next camping trip, this market is your best bet. Undoubtedly, Yersin Market has never lost its reverence of historic values for all the years it’s been running.
Do note that not every item is an authentic war relic. Vendors have admitted that many of their stock are just copies or reproductions. So remember to bargain with the stall owners to get a decent and fair price. This is a niche market targeting history buffs, collectors, or those looking to stock up on camping apparel and the likes. So if you want to wander around more traditional assortment, I suggest you bypass this one. Let’s head to one of the aforementioned destinations in this list.
Address: 104 Yersin, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
If you see the above information helpful, you can save and share it to those who are interested in Saion’s many markets!