Chi City's markets
in Ho Chi Minh City, think market - think Ben Thanh!
In District 1, not
far from the main tourist area, Ben Thanh is the largest market
in Saigon and one of its main attraction. It sells almost
everything - food, clothes, jewellery, live snakes, vehicle
spares, medicine, and much, much more. It's popularity means
prices are higher than elsewhere, but the experience is worth
narrow aisles are a shoppers paradise, providing you're not
claustrophobic or not keen on haggling. Ask the price (the
vendor will probably use a calculator to show you) and offer
around half the amount.
Don't worry about
a low bid - stall holders love negotiating and would be up
set if you give up too early.
Some of the goods
on sale are imported and some are smuggled.
are fakes, so apply common sense - finding a genuine article
on the luxury goods stalls would be like picking up a gold
bar on the pavement.
If the noise and
crowds get to be a bit much, there's a 'food court' in the
centre. Dozens of small stalls offer a bewildering range of
food at next-to-nothing prices. Don't hope for burgers or
doughnuts, though - it's basic Vietnamese cuisine only!
Cholon, once the
original Saigon, is Ho Chi Minh City's 'Chinatown'. Although
the majority of Chinese traders left Vietnam at the end of
the war, it's still a major commercial area with several markets.
The largest is the
huge An Dong market and its more recent partner, the An Dong
II. Like Ben Thanh, the range is enormous - fruit, vegetables,
cigarettes, beer, silk and so on.
the same area but more interesting is Binh Tay market. The
building is a delightful mustard-colour oriental extravaganza.
It rekindles the
ambiance of old Saigon and sells vast range of traditional
household items as well as well as the usual goods.
Back in the city
centre, Dan Sinh Market (also known as the War Surplus Market)
is the place to shop for war memorabilia.
However, don't expect
the real thing - nearly all the real stuff is long gone. Electronics
items, domestic appliances and similar goods are on sale.
Huynh Thuc Khang
Street, between Ben Thanh market and Dong Khoi, is more of
an odds and end market selling items like posters of Ho Chi
Minh, mosquito repellent, Chinese-made ‘Swiss’ army knives,
and so on.