Like the Notre Dame Cathedral and Independence Palace, Saigon’s five oldest markets have also become iconic landmarks.
These markets are always bustling and attract many tourists, who come to shop or just visit.
1. Ben Thanh Market
Built between 1912 and 1914, Ben Thanh Market has been witness to the ups and downs of Saigon, which is more than 300 years old.
Ben Thanh Market in the early 1950s
Ben Thanh Market today. Photo credit: panoramio.com
At the market, visitors can buy handicrafts, framed paintings, clothes, and jewelry and enjoy a variety of popular street foods.
Covering an area of more than 13,000 square meters in District 1, the market is separated from its neighboring blocks by four streets -- Le Thanh Ton, Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chu Trinh, and Quach Thi Trang Square.
Open from early morning until midnight daily, Ben Thanh attracts 15,000 people daily.
2. Binh Tay Market
Binh Tay Market, also known as Cho lon (literally Big Market), was built in 1930 by a Chinese businessman known as Quach Dam. The commercial center of Chinatown offers everything from kitchenware to clothes to Chinese spices.
BinhTay Market in the 1950s
Binh Tay Market today. Photo credit: Bloomberg
Binh Tay has a great clock tower and a central courtyard with trees. Much of the business done here is wholesale.
Address: 57A Thap Muoi Street, Ward 2, District 6.
3. Tan Dinh Market
Built by the French colonial government in 1927, Tan Dinh Market is one of Saigon’s most historic.
Tan Dinh Market in the 1940s
Tan Dinh Market today. Photo credit: VnExpress
In the years after its completion, its stylish design was deemed so noteworthy that the French authorities even commissioned a 20,000-franc diorama of the market building for display at the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931, historian Tim Doling said on his portal, Historic Vietnam.
Unfortunately, the original roof has not survived, but the building has retained its unusual and attractive facade to this day, Doling said.
Though Tan Dinh Market has all the usual stuff – fruits and vegetables, rice, meat, cosmetics, jewelry, and toys, its specialties are fabrics and food.
Address: 1 Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1.
4. An Dong Market
The 57-year old An Dong Market specializes in clothing, footwear and fabrics.
An Dong Market today. Photo credit: VnExpress
Located in District 5’s Chinatown, the four-story market is a great place to buy jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sandals, and cloth.
Its basement is home to a number of small restaurants where visitors can lunch on the cheap.
Address: 18 An Duong Vuong Street, Ward 9, District 5.
5. Ba Chieu Market
Build in 1942, Ba Chieu Market is one of the oldest retail spots in Saigon.
Located in the center of Binh Thanh District, the market attracts a large number of shoppers and visitors every day.
Ba Chieu Market in 1967
Ba Chieu Market today. Photo credit: Zing
Ba Chieu mainly offers clothes, shoes, fruits, and food at relatively cheap prices. At night the business takes place in the front of the market.
Address: 366 Bach Dang Street, Ward 1, Binh Thanh District.
The original Vietnamese story can be found here on VnExpress.