The market is a must-see for every traveler interested in learning more about the local culture of any region. This is due to the market displaying the hustle and bustle of everyday local life.
When visiting Vietnam, some tourists want to see a contemporary Vietnam with bustling tourist spots, while others want a genuine Vietnamese environment, such as markets, since they want to take some Vietnamese items home with them. If this describes you, you should not miss out on visiting the eight best markets in Vietnam listed below.
8 best markets in Vietnam you should check out
1. Hoi An Central Market
Highlights: Hoi An is known for its many different markets, each with its own reputation. However, tourists visiting Hoi An cannot ignore the Central Market, which is definitely the largest and busiest market.
Together with other markets, this market has greatly contributed to the formation of Hoi An’s commercial and spiritual values. About 600 years ago, in the 15th century, Hoi An was the commercial center of the Cham Empire (a Polynesian who once invaded the lowlands and coasts of Vietnam). A century later, under the orders of Lord Nguyen, it became an international trading port and was soon recognized as important for commercial activities in Southeast Asia.
Today, while Hoi An has reduced its commercial value (but increased its tourist value), the commercial spirit here remains intact.
Hoi An is listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO for two reasons, the first being “an outstanding example of a well-preserved traditional Asian trading port”. Therefore, when traveling in Hoi An, tourists should visit more markets, especially the Central Market.
At Hoi An Central Market, visitors can find a wide variety of food, from fresh to cooked.
What to buy:
- Fresh food:
Hoi An Central Market has a wide variety of meat, from pork and poultry to beef and vegetables. Everything is fresher than a supermarket, like any normal market you can find in Vietnam. However, if you want to see some interesting sights, it is best to go to the river around 4 or 5 in the morning every day. In this way, you can see the scene of sending fish.
Moreover, tourists can also buy fish, crustaceans, even super shrimp, small sharks, etc., all very fresh. Sometimes they are still alive and the prices are the most reasonable. One can also buy daily necessities, flowers and almost everything for self-catering in Hoi An as this market is a real treasure for consumers.
- Cooked food :
For ready meals, the Central Market food court would be ideal for those looking to eat out. The food court is open from 6:00am to 6:00pm, which means you can eat here all day long, from savoring a hearty traditional breakfast to grabbing a snack while wandering the Hoi An Central Market.
When visiting for the first time, visitors are advised to try typical Hoi An dishes such as: Cao Lau (special vermicelli served with marinated pork, vegetables and some soup), Quang Noodles (a typical combination of Quang noodles in Vietnam). Delicious soup, quail) eggs, prawns and pork, Vietnamese Banh Xeo (pork, prawns, herbs mixed evenly wrapped in banh xeo), White Rose (not flowers of course, dumplings of course steamed prawns) and more.
Things to note:
Thankfully, even though Hoi An is one of the most popular tourist spots in Vietnam, the prices of goods at this central market are consistent. A bowl of Cao Lau is expected to be no more than 30,000 VND (~1.5 USD), juices are also very reasonably priced at around 15,000 VND (~1.5 USD), …the vendors here serve you all the goodies s things. Best food, both regional and international so good prices.
- Location: Tran Quy Cap Street, Cam Chau, Hoi An, Quang Nam
- Opening hours: 6am to 6pm
2. Hanoi Weekend Night Market
Highlights: This busy market, located in the city’s historic neighborhood between Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square and the entrance to Dong Xuan Market, shows tourists a different side of the gorgeous Hanoi. Open from Friday through Sunday evenings, the Hanoi Weekend Night Market (also called the Old Quarter Night Market) becomes a gathering place for both locals and visitors to Hanoi. Visitors may explore the streets and take in the market’s goods, cuisine, and musical acts because certain routes are blocked on weekends.
What to buy: When you come to Hanoi, you must mention the food here. Come here, tourists can taste many delicious Vietnamese dishes, from the famous Pho (special noodle soup) to Banh Mi (the best sandwich in Vietnam), Bun Cha (delicious grilled pork noodle ), etc. If you want to bring Order something to take home as a souvenir, this market has a lot of cultural items for sale. Tourists can buy 3D cards such as famous Vietnamese landscapes or characteristic trees, or cheap T-shirts printed with Vietnamese landscapes.
Things to note: The Old Town Night Market is very lively on Saturday nights. Usually on these evenings, there will be live performances or various artworks on display, attracting thousands of tourists to Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Participating in these artistic activities, visitors can not only enjoy modern Vietnamese music, but sometimes also traditional music, making walking around the market more relaxing and enjoyable.
- Location: Hang Dao Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Opening hours : 6:00 pm to 0:00 am
3. Dong Xuan Market, Hanoi
Highlights: The French government gave the order for the construction of Dong Xuan Market in 1889, during the time of French colonialism. Dong Xuan Market was one of Hanoi’s most significant new construction projects at the time.
The market, which focuses on wholesale items, is today regarded as Hanoi’s biggest and most well-known commercial sector. Unquestionably, Dong Xuan Market has a wide selection that will meet all needs and preferences.
What to buy: In this bustling market, from dry goods to fresh products, from tableware to clothing, from daily necessities to exquisite wood carvings… Even newcomers who come to Dong Xuan Market for the first time, it is difficult to get lost. Because each commodity here has its own shopping area, which is divided according to the size and use of the commodity. This makes the marketplace really convenient for consumers to search and buy goods.
However, it’s not just the market itself that makes Dong Xuan Market so interesting. This is partly due to the bustling alleys surrounding the market with hundreds of stalls.
Things to note: As mentioned above, Dong Xuan Market specializes in wholesale; therefore, tourists will have difficulty buying large or small quantities. The surrounding alleys solve this problem, not only provide daily necessities, these vendors also sell gourmet food, making the area a traditional consumption and dining area.
- Location: Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Opening hours : 8:00am to 6:00pm
4. Binh Tay Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Highlights: Despite being one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most well-known marketplaces, little is known about its past. The Binh Tay market is said to have been developed, or at least significantly funded, by a Chinese businessman by the name of Guoyan (Vietnamese: Quach Dam). He does this to benefit both the local buy-and-sell scenes and his trading profession.
Tourists may readily locate a market with a distinctive layout that blends Vietnamese and Chinese influences in Vietnam’s Chinatown. This Chinatown is no longer the typical adorable Chinatown seen across the world; rather, it is a “real” Chinatown thanks to the Chinese style that has been incorporated into people’ everyday lives.
What to buy: Binh Tay Market, unlike the extremely renowned and touristic Ben Thanh Market, is a less crowded, two-story structure along Thap Muoi street that sells a broad range of items to residents.
Famous cuisines and popular goods may be found here, like in other Vietnamese marketplaces. What distinguishes this market is a stone altar in the center of the market that enshrines the Quach Dam.
- Location: 57a Thap Muoi, Ward 2, District 6, HCMC
- Opening hours: 6am to 7pm
5. Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Highlights: Ben Thanh market appears to be the most well-known among the Vietnamese marketplaces. The oldest remaining market in Ho Chi Minh City was first founded in the 17th century by a group of traders, and it was legally established by the French in 1859. Today’s Ben Thanh Market is a new market called New Ben Thanh Market that is situated in a new site after experiencing numerous ups and downs.
What to buy: Ben Thanh is Saigon’s biggest market, similar to Dong Xuan in Hanoi. In addition to the extensive selection of items, this market is an excellent spot for culinary adventurers. The greatest cuisine, ordered and prepared in front of you, will be available from rows of food kiosks eager to serve you.
- Location: Le Lai Street, Bincheng District, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Opening hours : 6:00 am to 0:00 am
6. Ho Thi Ky Flower Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Highlights: The market is the most popular floral destination in Ho Chi Minh City for both individuals as well wholesalers. The market’s spectacular beauty may captivate first-time visitors, with hundreds of flowers arranged in a harmonic and lively manner, suggesting a beautiful garden. As a result, even individuals who have no intention of purchasing flowers come to the market to soak in the cheerful atmosphere.
What to buy: Naturally, there is a large assortment of flowers at the market. These flowers come from a variety of places, including Da Lat, the “City of Thousand Flowers” noted for its mountains in central Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, other regions of Vietnam, and other areas of the world.
The Ho Thi Ky flower market draws a large number of tourists and shoppers from various societal backgrounds each day. This makes sense given that most people like to embellish their houses with beauty, and fresh flowers unquestionably enhance the décor beautifully.
- Location: Lane 52, Ho Thi Ky, District 1, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City
- Opening hours: all day
7. Nha Trang Night Market
Highlights: It seems to reason that Nha Trang has a night market as it is one of the most stunning and tourist-friendly cities in all of Vietnam. Nha Trang Night Market comes alive at night like other night markets, but it distinguishes itself from others by having a variety of specialties.
What to buy: There are many different products offered, including apparel, home goods, souvenirs and cuisine. “Bun Cha Sua,” rice vermicelli with jellyfish soup, is a must-try food at the market. Finding “Bun Cha Sua” is far more difficult than finding “Bun Cha Ca,” rice vermicelli with fish soup, which is widely available across Vietnam. Unlike “Bun Cha Ca,” which is made with fish and pork bone broth, “Bun Cha Sua” is made with jellyfish broth and steamed jellyfish, as well as a variety of other ingredients including crab meat, shrimp, and more, making for incredibly fulfilling meals for foodies and tourists alike.
Additionally, visitors shouldn’t pass up the chance to try “Banh Can,” a Vietnamese mini-pancake prepared with eggs, squid or shrimp, rice flour, spices, and other ingredients. They will definitely remember this classic Vietnamese treat for the rest of their lives.
- Location: 78 Tue Tinh, Loc Tho, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province
- Opening hours: 6:00 pm to 0:00 am
8. Dinh Cau Night Market, Phu Quoc
Highlights: The biggest street in Phu Quoc, similar to the legendary Hanoi Night Street, undergoes a transition at 5 p.m., when motorized traffic is barred from the market area, providing a pedestrian-friendly environment for tourists.
What to buy: Exploring the Phu Quoc Night Market allows guests to find great keepsakes for their loved ones as well as partake in a scrumptious supper. The market has several vendors selling a broad range of seafood. Each aquatic creature is displayed in its own glass habitat, allowing customers to admire and choose their favorites. After being selected, the food is freshly made, cooked, and served. As a result, each mouthful is guaranteed to be as fresh as possible. However, because this is a major tourist destination, meal costs at this night market are typically 30% more than eateries in other sections of the island.
- Location: Vu Thiau Street, Duong Dong, Phu Quoc
- Opening Hours : 4.30pm to 3am
Helpful tips for tourists
- Be prepared for large crowds and busy environments, especially in popular markets. It’s advisable to visit early in the day to avoid the peak hours.
- Bargaining is a common practice in Vietnamese markets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate the prices. Start with a lower offer and be willing to compromise to reach a fair price.
- Keep an eye on your belongings at all times, as crowded markets can be a target for pickpockets. Use a secure bag or backpack and keep your valuables close to you.
- Bring small denominations of Vietnamese Dong (VND) as many vendors may not accept larger bills or credit cards. Having small change will make transactions easier.
- Try the local street food available in the markets, but make sure it’s cooked fresh and served hot to avoid any potential health risks. Follow the locals’ lead in choosing the stalls with the most customers, indicating good quality and cleanliness.
- Stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle with you, especially in the hot and humid climate of Vietnam. It’s essential to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Respect the local customs and traditions while visiting the markets. Be polite, smile, and ask for permission before taking photographs of people or their products.
- Explore beyond the main tourist areas of the markets to discover hidden gems and unique local products. Wander through the smaller lanes and alleys to find lesser-known stalls and experiences.
- Take your time to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the markets. Engage with the locals, learn about their products, and embrace the cultural diversity that these markets offer.
These bustling shopping venues are a shopaholic’s dream when it comes to locating the greatest markets in Vietnam. Each one provides a one-of-a-kind experience that represents the country’s rich culture and customs. These markets have it all, whether you’re looking for authentic handicrafts, tempting street cuisine, or simply want to soak up the colorful ambiance. So, make a point of visiting these best markets in Vietnam to find hidden treasures, bring home unique mementos, and enjoy an incredible shopping journey.