Ben Thanh Market: Tourist Trap or Worth Seeing in Ho Chi Minh?

Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is one of the most popular attractions in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam! Centrally located in District One, this massive single story market complex has everything that you could imagine. From clothing and street food to knock off designer handbags and everything in between, this market is such an interesting place to explore. So is this famous Saigon market worth visiting, or is it just another tourist trap? Here’s everything you need to know!

About Ben Thanh Market 

Ben Thanh Market is the largest of its kind in Ho Chi Minh, and one of the most historic attractions in the city. The original market dates all the way back to the 17th century with the current building constructed in 1912.

Most travelers stay nearby in District One to be close to all the attractions. This makes Ben Thanh the ideal place to visit in the morning or early afternoon. 

The market is open from 7am until 6pm, and then spills out into an outdoor night market in the evening. Still, know that most of the action takes place earlier in the day. If you’re heading to Ben Thanh Market hungry definitely make sure you go before 3pm when the food stalls close!

While the shopping section does cater to tourists, you will find a mixture of everything at Ben Thanh. Locals come here to pick up there meat and produce, or even enjoy a meal alongside travelers. 

→ Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam: 15 Helpful Tips For First Time Travelers

 

Ben Thanh Market Vietnam

Ben Thanh Market Guide

Quick Tips For Ben Thanh Market

Haggle: While there are signs that say “set price” know that it’s always negotiable. Since this is considered the tourist Ho Chi Minh market, the prices you’re being quoted will be typically higher than other places in the city. It’s perfectly acceptable to haggle here! Just keep in mind that this doesn’t apply at the food court.

Watch Your Valuables: Ben Thanh Market is safe to visit. Yet, like any crowded area make sure to take care of your valuables. That could mean locking your backpack, using a fake wallet, or a money belt. If you don’t have any of these things you can easily pick them up at the Ben Thanh Market!

Don’t Get Lost: There are dozens of small lanes that cut through this Saigon market making it easy to get disoriented. The food section is the only part of the market that stands out as different. Although you may want to stick together with your group, getting lost can be all part of the fun!

Do a Loop Before Buying: It’s hard to understand how much shopping there is in Ben Thanh Market until you see it for yourself. While you might be tempted to buy some items immediately, be sure to take a loop first. Ask the prices on items so you get an understanding of what they’re going for. Then get a game plan before you try and buy!

Ho Chi Minh market

Shopping at the Ho Chi Minh Market

Trinkets: If you’re on holiday and looking to pick up anything in the tourist area this is the place! Traditional lamps, dining sets, and other antiques can all be found at Ben Thanh Market Vietnam.

Clothing: The clothing section at Ho Chi Minh market is wild and definitely a place where you can switch up your style. Beyond the typical Vietnam tank tops, there is a large range of athletic wear, dresses, and more designer Adidas and Gucci then you’ll know what to do with.

Coffee: Looking to make your own Vietnamese coffee? Well, Ben Thanh Market has you covered! Tins of coffee are stacked high at multiple stalls where you can pick out a pre-packaged bean, or scoop some loose ones for yourself! There’s also plenty of traditional cafe sua da’s to enjoy at the many food stalls.

Flowers: From single stems to fully arranged bouquets, this is the spot to get your flowers! The colors will astound you and are a nice change from the other strange smells of the Ben Thanh Market.

Fruit & Veggies: Besides the prepared food section, this is the yummiest part of Ben Thanh. Tropical fruits from around Asia are for sale at extremely low prices. The only better deal you’ll find for fruit is if you buy from locals on bicycles right outside.

Meat and Fish: Get ready to plug your nose because the meat and fish sections are stinky! With actual food being so cheap in Vietnam there is no reason to buy anything from this area. Unless you’re strolling through to see what a skinned animal looks like, it’s probably best to skip this part of the Ben Thanh Market.

Ho Chi Minh market Flowers

Ben Thanh Ho Chi Minh

Food at Ben Thanh Market Vietnam

Onto the good stuff! The food stalls are the holy grail of Ben Thanh Market. You can find everything from hot noodle soups to iced coffee and the best traditional Vietnamese dishes. Many travelers come here just for the shopping and have no idea there is great food to be enjoyed!

Some stalls only serve one thing which makes your choice easy. Yet, others display their top dish on a sign but have a little of everything. One of our favorite soups in Vietnam is Bún bò Huế so we usually go directly to the stand we know has it.

Don’t forget the drinks either! In the morning try a delicious Cafe Sua Da coffee. During the afternoon, a fruit shake is always nice to cool you down from the Ho Chi Minh market heat.

→ Love the food in Vietnam but not sure where to start your eating adventure? Consider jumping on a street food motorbike tour

Ben Thanh Market

Soup At Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market Food

Ben Thanh Market at Night

When the sun goes down the indoor market closes, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! Two parallel roads around the Ben Thanh Market are closed to traffic at night.

Here you’ll find several rows of stands set up with similar clothing and souvenirs for sale. We prefer the actual Ben Thanh Market which open during the day. However, this is still a cool alternative if you miss out on the morning or afternoon.

Saigon Night Market

Is Ben Thanh Market Worth Visiting?

We think so! If you’re staying in District One definitely make a stop by here. To be clear, we don’t recommend coming to Ben Thanh Market to actually go shopping. Since it is so popular the clothing and other trinkets will go for much higher prices than other places.

We typically would stop into the Ho Chi Minh market for a quick breakfast or lunch before heading to other parts of the city. Even if you’re not eating or shopping, it’s still an entertaining place to explore and walk around. Ben Thanh Market is absolutely tourist. Yet, this historic symbol of the city is still worth seeing. 

Check out all our Vietnam articles to help plan your trip! We cover everything from the best Vietnamese food to 50 travel tips & how to get around.  You can also find our Northern Vietnam and Southern itineraries as well as an amazing 1 month route

→ Start Planning: HanoiHa Long BayHa GiangTam CocPhong Nha-Ke BangDa NangHoi AnMui NeDa LatPhu Quoc

Market in Ho Chi Minh

Where To Stay In Ho Chi Minh City

Ultra Luxury – Park Hyatt Saigon – In the upscale part of the city sits the beautiful Park Hyatt, which acts as a retreat from the buzz of Saigon. Swim in the outdoor pool, relax in your upscale room, and enjoy the special touches that come with a luxury resort.

Fun VacationFusion Suites Saigon – This hotel has a contemporary style and is completely unique to other places you will find in the city!

Boutique HotelChez Mimosa Petite – Bright and fun rooms that are great for travelers on a budget. Located close to the Fine Arts Museum the hotel offers free bikes to explore the city. 

Budget TravelCity Backpackers Hostel –  Also, it’s just a quick walk away from Bui Vien Street so you are in the popular party area!

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own tips for Ben Thanh Market Vietnam? Let us know in the comments below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Vietnam Travel Planning 

Transportation: 12Go is what we use to book ferries, trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Vietnam! 

 Flights: For cheap flight deals check out Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc for $20 USD and Vietnam to Thailand for less than $50! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Tours: Get Your Guide is an amazing place to find fun activities all over Vietnam! There is everything from a Hanoi Cooking Class and market tour to a Mekong Delta Pagoda & rowing boat trip, and even the Phu Quoc Cable Car Ride with three island snorkeling tour! 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years and they are always there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Vietnam Travel

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2 Comments

  1. Mark
    December 29, 2023 / 8:22 am

    Great infos about Ben Thanh market, I really appreciate it! I’m planning to visit it on my 5th trip to Vietnam after New Year! So yeah, thanks for this helpful guide 🙂

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      December 29, 2023 / 8:28 am

      Of course! Thanks for reading. We are planning our next trip to Vietnam soon as well. Enjoy!

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