Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is the biggest market in Ho Chi Minh City. Located at the center of Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh market reflects totally the bustling life of trading and busy people here. It is now considered the symbol and soul of Saigon. Let learn more about the market by reading the below information
Where is Ben Thanh Market and how to get there?
Where is Ben Thanh market?
Ben Thanh Market is located at the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao, and Le Lai Streets, right in the middle of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.
Actually, Ben Thanh Market has 4 gates facing the big streets, including:
- North Gate (Cua Bac) is on Le Thanh Ton street
- East Gate (Cua Dong) is on Phan Boi Chau street.
- West Gate (Cua Tay) is on Phan Chu Trinh street.
- South Gate (Cua Nam) is on Le Loi and Le Lai Street
How to get there?
Depending on which place you are at, you can choose a suitable way to get there. If you stay far from the market, you can take a motorbike or a taxi. If you are visiting other tourist attractions nearby, you can walk there.
- Taxi: Taxi is the most convenient to get to the market. You can use Grab which is cheaper than the traditional taxi. It costs from 300.000 to 400.000 VND if you travel from the airport the market.
- Motorbike: A motorbike is a convenient and cheap way to get around. With only 150.000 VND per day, you can easily get to the market and other tourist attractions in the city.
- Walking: You can walk to the market if you are staying at Pham Ngu Lao street. It is only 1 km away and takes around 10 minutes to walk.
- Bus: Bus is a cheap way to get to Ben Thanh market. The market is a major bus terminus many busses go here. From the airport, you can take bus # 152 to get to the market. The price ticket is 15.000 VND
The history of Saigon Ben Thanh Market
The market was first created as an informal gathering of street vendors near Saigon River. After the French colonial powers took over Gia Định citadel in 1859, they formally established Ben Thanh Market. The name Ben Thanh actually derives from the words harbor (Ben) and Citadel (Thanh).
In 1870, the market burned down, then it was rebuilt, and stayed the largest market in Saigon. The building holds strong French influence, the southern gate of at Le Lai Street features the clock tower.
In 1912, the market was moved to a new building and changed its name to Ben Thanh Market to distinguish it from its predecessor. In 1985, the building was renovated. The market has been around for over 100 years through important times of Vietnam’s history, experienced many ups and downs throughout the history
It is now the oldest market and one of the largest markets in the city. There are thousands of stalls packed into the building with tens of thousands of visitors daily.
Ben Thanh market
Structure and design
Ben Thanh market was constructed by the Brossard et Maupin Construction Company in 1912. It is well known for its special architecture and becomes the symbol of Saigon. The market stretches over 13,000 square meters and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors every day. It has nearly 1,500 booths selling wholesale and retail items from food to luxury goods.
Ben Thanh Market has 4 main gates and 12 entrances. The main front gate or the south gate is on Le Loi Street, the North on Le Thanh Ton street, the East on Phan Boi Chau street, and the West on Phan Chau Trinh street. The main entrance is famous for the big clock tower which is the iconic symbol of Ben Thanh market.
The four main gates are
- Cua Nam (South gate): where trade in goods such as clothing, cloth, and dry food.
- Cua Bac (North gate): where trade in fruit and fresh food.
- Cua Dong (East gate): where trade in cosmetics and confectionery.
- Cua Tay (West door): where trade in foods, drinks, and souvenirs.
What to buy at Ben Thanh Market
- Clothes and accessories
In Ben Thanh market, you can find all kinds of clothes and accessories in Vietnam. Traditional Ao Dai and Ao Ba Ba, dresses, underwear, T-shirts, and other fashion products are abundant at the market.
There are also many kinds of fabrics in the market from khaki, linen, nylon, cotton, velvet, silk, chiffon fabrics sold at the market. These kinds of fabrics are made from Vietnam, Thailand, Italy, China. You can also have a tailor to make your suits, trousers, and shirts right at the market.
- Dried food, coffee
The market sells both fresh foods and dried foods but tourists prefer buying dried food, coffee, and tea. Dried sea cucumber, pia cakes, dried cashews, and dried lotus seeds are favorite things that not only Vietnamese but many foreigners want to buy. Besides, the market sells many kinds of coffee from coffee with or without sugar, milk…There are some good brands such as Trung Nguyen, Metrang, Wakeup, Mr. Viet Coffee that you can trust.
When traveling, many tourists would love to buy something to bring back home as souvenirs. At Ben Thanh market, you can find many souvenirs. Embroidered wallets, lacquer paintings, lacquer plates, bowls, scarfs are abundant in the market. Fabric lanterns, wooden statues of Vietnamese girls, bronze Buddha statues are also bad choices for gifts to bring back home
You love traveling, that is the reason why you are in Ben Thanh market. Do not forget to pick up something for the next trip as there is a variety of luggage that you can buy here. Carry-on luggage, wheeled business cases, garment bags, and other types of luggage are available at the market for you to choose from.
Products in Ben Thanh market
What to eat at Ben Thanh Market
Not only famous for design, souvenirs, and structure, Ben Thanh market has many delicious food courts inside. The below is some recommended food to eat in the market,
- Banh Beo Hue: Address: Door number 7; Ben Thanh Market; Main food: Banh Beo; Price: 20,000 - 50,000 dong; Opening: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
- Quan Bun Mam: Address: 22 Phan Boi Chau, District 1; Main foods: Bun Mam, Goi Cuon; Price: 10,000 - 65,000 dong; Opening: 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM.
- Be Che: Address: Door number 7, Ben Thanh Market; Main food: Che; Price: 17,000 -39,000 dong; Opening: 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM.
- Oc Van: Address: Ben Thanh Market, Main food: Shellfish; Price: 20,000 - 50,000 dong; Opening: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Tips for The best shopping experience at Ben Thanh Market
- Do not forget to buy some small gifts for your family/friends.
- Remember to bargain for the best possible price and only haggle if you are keen on buying.
- Go to about two or three-stall to compare prices of similar goods to buy with the most reasonable price. Normally the prices of fruit and nosh are not too expensive.