Ben Thanh Market - Asia Travel & Leisure

Asia Travel & Leisure

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is a large marketplace in central Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in District 1. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and one of symbols of city, popular with tourists seeking local handicrafts, textiles, ao dai (traditional dress) and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.


Built in 1870 by the French, the market was initially called Les Halles Centrales before being renamed Ben Thanh in 1912. From a wet market created by street vendors by the early 17th century, Ben Thanh has experienced many ups and downs throughout its history, and is now the oldest surviving market and one of symbols of city. That makes it a must for any visitors travelling to this 300-year-old city.

Today, because the market possesses one of the most crucial locations in District 1 (the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Avenues and Le Lai Street), transportation is extremely convenient and trade is bustling. In the morning, you can find almost everything from dry food to clothes for a reasonable price. The market atmosphere can sometime be a real hustle and bustle, but it is an exciting experience after all.

From late afternoon until late night, the shops inside the market are closed, but several restaurants are open outside on the surrounding streets. These small yet interesting restaurants can offer you a variety of choices: bubble teas, grills, seafood, etc. When you are tired of eating, stand up and take a walk along the neighborhood which has in no time transformed into a night market full of lights and glamour.

Besides, Ben Thanh is already a major hub for bus traffic, will become a major hub connecting several lines in the near future. It is going to a hub for several lines of the planned Ho Chi Minh City Metro; Line 1 is under construction, will connect Ben Thanh with Suoi Tien Park and Long Binh in District 9. Other lines will connect Ben Thanh with Tham Luong in District 12, and with Cholon and Binh Tan District.

Address: Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Location: in the heart of center. It takes about 1-2 hours for visit.

Open daily, all year around. Just close for 3-4 days at Lunar New Year.

Entrance fee: No.

Highlights/ Tips:

Though quality of goods is quite good but price here is often inflated up to two or three times than the initial. Hence, always remember that bargain is a must when you shop here.

Going shopping in the market before 08:00am for “morning price” that is a little lower than the usual for the same good. “Cool” price at the beginning of the day is for easier first transaction which is believed to bring about good luck to the sellers for the rest of the day.

Even if you’re not on a shopping mission, Ben Thanh Market is a must see. Because your trip to Ho Chi Minh City cannot be completed without a visit to Ben Thanh market to experience the “real Vietnam”!