Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vietnam - Ben Thanh Market (Ho Chi Minh city)

Ben Thanh market is one of the oldest and most famous landmarks in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) City. The market has been in existence since French colonization of Vietnam. Simply put, this market is now more than a century old.

Ben Thanh's clock tower is facing the main road and Cu Nhac circle. It was named after Mr. Cuniac who proposed that this swampy land be reclaimed to create this area.

So much with facts, this market is like any typical Asian market. You will find local souvenir items, dry and wet goods, food stalls and some specialty shops. At the back portion of this market you will find the wet goods such as seafoods and fruit stands. The shops start closing at around 7 PM after which a night market will sprout outside Ben Thanh.

Ben Thanh is a few blocks away from our hotel making it pretty convenient to visit the place. My wife and I always passed this place before we headed back to our hotel.

front entrance
back entrance

You can easily find cheap souvenir t-shirts, The North Face products, Kiplings and other brand imitations. However, most of the merchandises being sold here are local products such as coffee, preserve, pastries and local souvenir items.

Of all the items I have seen here this one caught my attention. I drink alcohol from time to time and I have tasted countless brands. In fact, I have several collections of my favorite brands at home. I never thought that I would see this kind of alcohol shot with my own eyes. I was dared by the lady to try this wine. It was good for health and serves as aphrodisiac as well according to her. Never mind I told her.

lizards, cobra and scorpion wines

Famished? You can have a taste of local cuisine at several food stalls inside. I tried their rice noodle with shrimp. It was tasty and filling. There are several stalls with friendly locals to choose from at the center of this market.

It was quite an experience to visit Ben Thanh market. Likewise, I found the night markets beside Ben Thanh fascinating due to Al Fresco style eateries. You can always haggle but be aware about the exchange rate since you normally deal with hundred of thousands Vietnamese Dongs. It is quite confusing, believe me. In addition, pickpockets and snatchers abound in this area. I heard from my son that the father of his classmate was robbed of his DSLR camera when they visited Ho Chi Minh City. Hence I was not surprised anymore when I saw this notice or sign at the entrance of Ben Thanh market

Finally, before you buy any North Face or Kipling bags at Ben Thanh, I recommend that you pay a visit to nearby Saigon Square. I believe that the price is lower and the quality is better at Saigon Square. The place was recommended to us by our classmate residing at Ho Chi Minh City.


  1. Hi! I'll be travelling to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand this coming May...
    I just wanted to thank you for the info here in your blog. ;D

  2. hello do you have any idea how much the kipling bag..thanks

  3. hi ı came to vietnam 3 years before and now ı want to do some busines can you help me my mail adress is ı need some telephone numbers from ben thanh market which are selling best quality kipling bags thank you