Since its establishment until now, Ben Thanh market (Vietnamese: chợ Bến Thành, chợ means market) is still being the busiest and most famous market in Saigon. It is considered one of the important symbols of the city; a famous destination not only for many locals but also for foreign tourists from all around the world.

Where is the Ben Thanh Market?

Ben Thanh market is located on an intersection of four busy streets in District 1. The main entrance or Southside is on Le Loi street overlooking Quach Thi Trang Square with the symbol of a three-sided clock tower. The Northside is on Le Thanh Ton Street. The Eastside is on Phan Boi Chau and the Westside on Phan Chau Trinh Street.

Ben Thanh Market

History of this famous market

Ben Thanh Market was originally built in the 17th century near the Ben Nghe River to welcome tourists and soldiers into Gia Dinh Citadel. That is also the reason why the market was named Ben Thanh (Ben means river wharf, and Thanh mean citadel). 

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market (source: collected)

From a primitive market with materials such as brick, wooden frame, and thatched roof, which was partly damaged by a fire in 1870. In 1911 it was demolished for a more spacious one which was completed in March 1914. After being moved many times, it is now standing in the very center of the city where consumers can conveniently all sorts of goods imaginable. Although in 1985, Ben Thanh market was renovated and overhauled, basically the old architecture still remains, especially the front of the clock tower which was kept as it was.

Ben Thanh Market

Since the building was constructed around the time of the French Colonial time, so the building holds strong French influence. The market adopted some of its unique features from French architects.

What is attractive in Ben Thanh market?

Currently, Ben Thanh market has an area of ​​about 13,000 m2, which is the largest retail market with more than 1,400 booths and about 6,000 small businesses.

Ben Thanh Market is designed with 4 main doors facing 4 busy streets, each door is arranged with stalls with a variety of items so visitors can easily choose.

South gate: facing Le Loi street, Quach Thi Trang square is a place to sell items such as fabrics, clothes and dry food such as dried seafood, roasted peanuts, candied fruit, coffee beans, tea, fish sauce, herbs, and spices of many regions. In particular, the South Gate, the main face of the market, is designed with a prominent clock tower that has been kept intact since its inception, thus attracting many tourists to come here to take pictures.

Ben Thanh Market

North gate: facing Le Thanh Ton street, there are stalls selling fresh foods and fruits with eye-catching decorations.

Ben Thanh Market

East gate: located on Phan Boi Chau street, this is a paradise for sweet food lovers and beauty enthusiasts with countless stalls selling a variety of cosmetics and confectionery products.

Ben Thanh Market

West gate: Facing Phan Chu Trinh street. is a gathering place for handicrafts, souvenirs and shoes. Visitors can stop by to visit and buy as gifts for family and friends.

Ben Thanh Market

In addition to these 4 main doors, Ben Thanh market also has 12 side doors radiating out to 4 directions of the market.

This is also where the food vendors are set up to sell common Vietnamese dishes like pho, broken rice, spicy beef noodle soup, fresh-water crab soup, rice-flour rolls, grilled seafood, desserts…

Ben Thanh Market

eating area in Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is also very lively at night. After 20 pm, the street lights up when the market becomes the busiest and most exciting. At this time, many main stalls started to close gave way for other clothing stalls, souvenirs, handicrafts … located outside the market on Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Boi Chau streets.

Ben Thanh Market

Things to remember when visiting Ben Thanh Market

To have a complete and economical trip to Ben Thanh Market, you should keep the following tips in mind.

  • The market’s operating hours start at 7:30 am and end at 20:00 pm, so if you want to visit the market, you can come at this time. After 20:00 p.m., the night market outside will begin operating, some shop inside will be close.
  • With a fairly large market area and many stalls, it will take you at least 1 to 2 hours to visit, so you should arrange your time in advance.
  • The market mainly serves a large number of foreign tourists, so the price will be slightly higher than the normal price. If you want to shop at the market, you should know little of bargainning.
  • When checking in at the market gate, you should ensure traffic safety, because the market front is a major traffic area.
  • If you do not want to buy, you can freely visit the market area, but absolutely do not touch the goods and put them down without buying.

Source: collected by An