Ben Thanh Market

A bustling market in the daytime and a social center after sunset, Ben Thanh Market is absolutely a must-see attraction of the most dynamic city of Vietnam.

This big and bustling market, located in the heart of the glitzy city centre, draws millions of tourists on an annual basis. Ben Thanh market houses Ho Chi Minh City’s second-largest indoor wet market, closely behind Cho Lon, which is located in District 5. It is pretty much easy to get to Ben Thanh market from anywhere in the city as the city’s public bus hub is just right in front of the market.

Photo : thebroadlife.com

Past and Presence

Built in 1870 by the French, the market was initially called Les Halles Centrales before being renamed Ben Thanh in 1912. From a wet market created by street vendors by the early 17th century, Ben Thanh has experienced many ups and downs throughout it’s history, and is now the oldest surviving market and one of symbols of Ho Chi Minh city. That makes it a must for any visitors travelling to this 300-year-old city.

Today, because the market possesses one of the most crucial locations in District 1 (the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Avenues and Le Lai Street), transportation is extremely convenient and trade is bustling. In the morning, you can find almost everything from dry food to clothes for a reasonable price. The market atmosphere can sometime be a real hustle and bustle, but it is an exciting experience after all. However, always remember that bargain is a must in any Vietnamese market.

Photo: saigonbudgetcarrental.com 

Products On Display

Literally, everything under the sun can be found here. There are up to 1500 stalls managed by 6000 merchants inside the market. Generally, Ben Thanh Market focuses on garments such as clothes, bags, shoes, etc., souvenirs and food. 

The market has four gates, facing four different directions: South, North, East, West. 

The Southern gate leads to stalls offering garments, clothes and dried foods, while fresh produce stalls selling fresh fruit, meat and flowers can be found around the Northern gate. 

The Eastern Gate is cosmetics heaven where you can get to buy a wide range of body care and skin care products, and the Western gate leads to stalls that sell footwear and souvenirs. 

Also, there is a large food centre inside the market which offers mouth-watering local Vietnamese food which is pretty much reasonably priced. A bowl of pho can cost as much as VND 60,000 (~USD 3), while a bowl of sweet dessert is priced at VND 20,000 (~USD 1).

Photo: internet

More: Shopping Guide in Ho Chi Minh City

Travel Tips

Another thing to keep in mind is that since this market predominantly caters to tourists, its products are highly-priced. If you are willing to bargain, you may end up bringing home a bag that is one-fourth of the original price.

Useful Information

  • Location: Bến Thành Market, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Best for: Family, couple, solo
  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: All hours
  • Distance to city center: 9.4km (5.8 mi)
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