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BEN THANH MARKET - A OLDEST AND BUSTLING PLACE IN THE HEART OF HO CHI MINH CITY

MONday - 13/11/2023 14:42
 
 

In front of main gate Ben Thanh Market in Le Loi street In front of main gate Ben Thanh Market in Le Loi street

If Dong Xuan Market is a cultural feature of Ha Noi in The North, then Ben Thanh Market is one of the unique features of Sai Gon in South Viet Nam that every tourist will gain unique experiences when visiting with diverse choices of traditional food, handicrafts, souvenirs, clothes like as Áo Dai and Non-La, purses and vendors friendly, wandering around Ben Thanh market is a must-do experience, especially for foreigners visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

Ben Thanh Market has not only been a place of commerce but also a witness to the dynamic history of Viet Nam. Its historical significance, combined with its vibrant atmosphere makes it a central and iconic landmark in Ho Chi Minh City. On the other hand,  Ben Thanh Market has experienced many ups and downs, throughout its history and is now the oldest surviving market and one of the symbols of Sai Gon. That makes it a must for any visitors traveling to this 300-year-old city. Besides  Ben Thanh Market is also a place where you can take pictures with a long dress combined Palm-leaf conical hat in front of the main gate. 

History of Ben Thanh's market

Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has a rich history that spans over a century. The market has witnessed significant changes, reflecting the historical and cultural developments of the region. Here is an overview of the history of Ben Thanh Market:

- Witnessing historical events: It has been a silent witness to several historical events in Viet Nam. It was present during the Japanese occupation during World War II and saw changes in ownership and use over the world.

- Post-Independence: after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and the reunification of North and South Vietnam, the Ben Thanh market continued to play a vital role in the city’s economy. It adapted to the changing political and economic landscape, with vendors selling a wide range of goods.

      + Dating back to the 17th century when it was initially located near the Ben Nghe River. The market has been through several relocations and renovations, and the current building was constructed in 1912. During the time of the Gia Long Emperor in the Nguyen Dynasty.

      + In 1859, during the French colonial period, the market was moved to a location near the Sai Gon River, which was a more central and accessible spot.

     + Over the years, the market underwent several re-locations. Until 1870 Ben Thanh Market was built after it moved to different areas of Sai Gon as the city expanded and developed.

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ben thanh market 02
Old Ben Thanh Market 

 

Architecture of Ben Thanh’s market

Ben Thanh Market boasts a unique architectural style, which is a blend of Indochinese and French influences. It is a rectangular building with a notable clock tower in the front, a wooden vaulted ceiling, and open sides. Despite the many renovations, the exterior and clock tower of the market are still preserved, inviting visitors to discover a bygone era with every step they take. 

- Central clock tower : the most iconic features of Ben Thanh Market is its central clock tower, this clock tower is topped with a weather vane, which gives the market its distinctive appearance. It serves as a reference point for both locals and tourists and it often deposited in photographs and postcards of the market.

- Structural design : the building has a symmetrical, cross-shaped layout with 4 main entrances, each facing one of the 4 cardinal directions. The design allows for easy access to the markets interior, and creates a sense of order and balances.

- Roofing : the roof of Market is a steep, tiled roof with a sloping design that is typical of French Colonial architecture. The tiles are often reddish-brown color, adding to the market’s visual appeal. The roof help protect the interior from the elements and provides shade for the market’s outdoor stalls.

- Renovations : over the years, Ben Thanh Market has undergone several renovations and upgrades to ensure that it remains functional and safe. These renovations have been conducted  with the goal of preserving the historic architectural elements that make the market unique.

- Iron Frame : the market’s structure features an iron framework that supports the roof and the building's overall integrity. This use of iron was a common practice in French colonial architecture during that period.

 Structure of Ben Thanh's market

- With a total area of 13.056 square kilometers, this Indochina-designed building stands out in the heart of Saigon’s glitzy and modern city center. Ben Thanh Market has four main gates facing four different directions (South, North, East, and West), and each gate has its own specialty goods.

  • Ben Thanh Market – South entrance

Considered the main gate of Ben Thanh Market, the southern entrance, located on Le Loi Street, is well-known for its large clock tower, which is the iconic highlight of the market. This entrance leads to an area with a myriad of stalls selling dried food and clothes.

  • Ben Thanh Market – North entrance

The northern entrance of the market, situated on Le Thanh Tong Street, offers numerous stalls selling fresh fruit, seafood, and meat.

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North Entrance 

 

  • Ben Thanh Market – East entrance

Situated on Phan Boi Chau Street, the eastern gate of the market is a paradise for cosmetics, where you can find almost every type of body care, skincare, and hair care products.

East Entrance
East Entrance

 

  • Ben Thanh Market – West entrance

The western gate of the market, located on Phan Chau Trinh Street, is a popular spot for tourists who are looking for souvenirs and Vietnamese traditional goods.

 

west entrance
west entrance

 

- Inside of Ben Thanh market :

Ben Thanh Market is a famous landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It's a bustling market that offers a wide range of goods, including clothing, textiles, handicrafts, souvenirs, and local food. While I can't provide real-time information on the current state of the market, I can give you a general idea of what you might find inside based on historical knowledge.

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ben thanh market 06
ben thanh market inside 

 

1.     Textiles and Clothing: Ben Thanh Market is known for its diverse selection of textiles and clothing. You can find traditional Vietnamese garments, silk, ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dresses), T-shirts, and more.

2.     Handicrafts and Souvenirs: The market is a great place to pick up local handicrafts and souvenirs. Items like lacquerware, bamboo products, ceramics, and wood carvings are commonly available.

3.     Local Food and Spices: Ben Thanh Market has a food section where you can experience Vietnamese cuisine. There are stalls selling local dishes, fresh produce, and a variety of spices. This is an excellent place to try authentic Vietnamese street food.

4.     Accessories and Jewelry: You'll find stalls selling a variety of accessories, including jewelry, watches, handbags, and hats.

 

costume products
costume products

 

5.     Electronics and Gadgets: Some sections of the market also cater to electronics and gadgets. This can include phone accessories, headphones, and other small electronic devices.

6.     Negotiation and Haggling: Bargaining is a common practice in Ben Thanh Market. Vendors often expect customers to negotiate the prices, so don't hesitate to engage in friendly haggling.

7.     Fresh Produce and Spices: In addition to the food section, there's often a vibrant area dedicated to fresh produce, herbs, and spices. This is where you can find a variety of fruits, vegetables, and spices commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine.

 

coffee tea and other beans
coffee tea and other beans

8.     Coffee and Tea: Vietnam is famous for its coffee, and Ben Thanh Market is a place where you can find different varieties of Vietnamese coffee beans. You may also encounter stalls selling traditional tea sets and local teas.

9.     Cultural Experiences: Ben Thanh Market is not just a place to shop; it's a cultural experience. As you explore the market, you'll likely come across local artisans at work, demonstrating traditional crafts. This adds an extra layer of cultural richness to your visit.

INFORMATION ESSENTIAL:

- Address: Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

- Opening hours:  Ben Thanh Market serves as a day and night market from Monday to Sunday with the following operating hours:

  • Day Market: 6:00 am - 6:00 pm ( The North gate will be open 4a.m )
  • Night Market: Monday to Sunday: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

 - Transportation: The market's prime location in District 1 makes it easily accessible from any part of the city. There are several means of transportation that you can choose from to get here:

  •    By bus: You can catch buses number 03, 04, 152, 19, 20, 39, 53, 93, or 96 to reach the market. They all make a stop nearby, which is only a short walk away from the market.
  • By personal vehicle: If you have a vehicle, there are some parking areas near the market. Parking fees range from 10,000 to 20,000 VND. 
  • By taxi: You can take a taxi to leisurely explore the market without worrying about where to park your vehicle.

- Small Tips when you go shopping in Ben Thanh market :

       + Visitors should also be wary of pickpockets.

       + Be careful with your personal belongings.

       + Do not buy the first thing you see.

       + Do not per-determine a fixed price in your head before you start to bargain.

       + Be prepared to walk away from a deal.

       + Ask questions about the quality, original, and warranty of goods or products.

- Another famous destination nearby to Ben Thanh market :

  + Bitexco Financial Tower :

  • Address: No. 135, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening hours: 7.30 am – 11 am

+ Nguyen Hue Walking Street :

  •    Address: Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening hours: All day

+ Independence Palace :

  •    Address: No. 135, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening hours: 8a.m – 4:30p.m

CONTACT US:

*Address:

- 2 Paris Commune, Ben Nghe, District 1

- 241 Pham Ngu Lao St, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1

*Website: https://vietcruisetours.com/

*Hotline/Whatsapp: +84 908.785.680

*Email: contact@vietcruisetours.com


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