Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is situated at the intersection of Le Loi Avenue, Ham Nghi Avenue, Tran Hung Dao Avenue and Le Lai Street, 700m south-west of the Rex Hotel. Bến Thành Market is a large marketplace in central Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam in District 1. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important symbol of Hồ Chí Minh City, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, áo dài and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.
In “the book Saigon of the Past” (Vuong Hong Sen 1912), the author explain that the French filled a pond, the Boresse, into a solid foundation of 12,000m2 and built a market on it. The market was close to a landing stage (Ben) of the old city (Thanh), hence its name of Ben Thanh. The opening ceremony for the market in March 1914 was a big festive event.
The front of Ben Thanh Market faces Quach Thi Trang Square; its rear faces Le Thanh Ton Street; its right, Phan Chu Trinh Street and its left, Phan Boi Chau Street. At all of its four sides, there are bustling trading shops.
Located at the centre of the city, Ben Thanh Market is always loaded with varieties of goods, such as consumer goods, cakes and candies, food and foodstuff, and particularly high-quality fruit and vegetables. Goods are displayed in a very attractive way that always catches the eyes of the buyers. They meet all requirements for the customers’ daily life or for their families. The market has four gates that are very convenient for the market-goers. For all of its advantages, Ben Thanh Market is one of the most attractive tourist sites in the city for both domestic and foreign visitors.
Ben Thanh Market is a great place to buy local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs. Here, you’ll find eating stalls inside the market where you can get a taste of hawker-style Vietnamese cuisine or simply cool off with a cold drink when the bargaining becomes too much.
The market is big, difficult to navigate at times and certainly best avoided during the hottest part of the day but all the same its well worth a look. When night falls, restaurants around the perimeter of the market open their doors creating a vibrant street side scene filling the air with the scents of wok-fried noodles, barbecued fish and meats. One of Saigon’s oldest landmarks, Ben Thanh market offers a great atmosphere that is absolutely authentically Vietnamese.