It is quite difficult to know exactly how many markets and how many types of market there are in Vietnam. From the busy cities to the high mountains, from hiding in a corner of a village to floating on a river of the delta, from widely selling all kinds of goods to specifically offering only one product, you can expect to find any market in Vietnam. Markets are more than just a place to trade, they usually are where the culture and the typical lifestyle of the area are shown.
For foreign travelers, markets in Vietnam are somewhat an unusual experience but would totally excite you. Going to a market, you would expect a big crowd with noisy voices at all time. You might even have to squeeze through the aisles to get to where you want to be. The smells and the heat are typical as well. All those, however, are not at all inconvenient or irritating; they create a warming and welcoming trading atmosphere like no other. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous and symbolic markets in this beautiful Southeast Asian nation.
Bac Ha hilltribe market
About three hours from the famous tourist city of Sapa, Bac Ha market is located on one of the high mountain ranges of the Lao Cai province, Vietnam. This market is where the unique and fascinating cultures of the people in Northwest, mostly the ethnic minority tribes, are vividly shown. Bac Ha meetings happen every Sunday gathering thousands of hilltribe men and women in their typical colorful costumes to come trade vast varieties of products. You can find anything from daily life tools to handmade clothing and even animals being sold here. The market has recently been renovated so products are now conveniently separated in different sections. Here, you can find the best handmade brocatelle products woven by the minority tribes – which are not only colorful and pretty but also represents the tribes’ unique way of dressing up. You would see cows, buffalos, chickens and other animals being sold here as well. After a long day of shopping, guests can sit back and enjoy some Northwestern foods and drinks in the market. Bac Ha market, with its energetic trading activities, really is a wonderful capture of the unique culture that is Northwest of Vietnam.
Dong Xuan market
Located in the Hoan Kiem district right in the heart of Hanoi capital, Dong Xuan has long been one of the most famous markets in Vietnam. Not only is it a wonderful place to shop, Dong Xuan market can also tell you so many great historical stories as it grew with Hanoi in its hardest times. Originally built by the French administration in 1889, this three-story market has been damaged and renovated many times (mainly because of the wars) but is still standing today as the largest covered market of Hanoi where clothes, household utilities, foods and souvenirs are sold by wholesale traders. Since 2003, the night market of Dong Xuan has been opened and it is enjoyed by many. This night market is mainly organized as a tourist attraction rather than a business place where one can buy gifts, handicrafts and also taste traditional foods or enjoy cultural activities such as ca trù and chèo (Vietnamese types of music). Make your trip to Hanoi better with a visit to Dong Xuan market!
Dong Ba market
It is not going to be a complete trip to the lovely city of Hue if do not include a visit to Dong Ba market. Located right by the beautiful Huong river (Perfume river) and is only 100m away from the famous Truong Tien bridge, Dong Ba market is right in the middle of Hue. This 117-year-old market is the pride of Hue people; it is where tourists can really learn and appreciate the culture/history of this old citadel city. Having the symbolic bell tower in the middle, Dong Ba is a very well-designed market that shows a lot of the characteristics of Hue. If your entire visit to Hue was a movie, Dong Ba market is the brilliant trailer that captures the best things of this city to show you. Just a walk around and you will see all the best products authentically made in the Thua Thien land being sold here such as ‘non la’ (Vietnamese conical hat decorated with pictures and poems) and number of beautiful blacksmith, pottery and jewelry products. Dong Ba market also gives you a chance to try some of the most delicious foods in Hue – ‘bun bo gio heo’ (Hue noodle with beef and pork’, many kinds of yummy Hue snack cake and Hue sweet desert soup. There are plenty more for you to discover at Dong Ba market and it cannot wait to welcome you.
Da Lat market
Being called ‘the heart of Da Lat city”, Da Lat market is the biggest trading center in the central highlands of Vietnam. Da Lat market is only a short walk from the famous Xuan Huong lake and it is always a frequent destination for tourists. Built in 1929, Da Lat market has been through many changes, mainly expanding, to be able to serve the people’s demand. Da Lat market offers you some wonderful products that are typical of this area. Here, you would expect to find the most beautiful highlands grown flowers, the delicious candied dried fruits or the fresh vegetables of Da Lat. Guests can also look for some very nicely woven wool clothing perfect for the cold highland weather here. Recently, Da Lat center – a modern shopping mall – was opened next to Da Lat market, making it an even greater place to shop. Touring this lovely market and get some nice gifts for you and your friends would make a pretty great day - Da Lat market is waiting for you!
Ben Thanh market
Reaching out of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Ben Thanh market is now one of the most symbolic attractions for tourists in Vietnam. Many people know about Ben Thanh market by the image of its South entrance with big clock on top. is Being built in 1859 by the French powers after a gathering of street vendors, Ben Thanh market has a very long history and it is also one of the largest markets in Vietnam. With more than 3000 shops selling anything from local handicrafts, textiles, ‘ao dai’ (Vietnamese traditional dresses) and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine, Ben Thanh market is loved by many tourists. It is also very close to other tourist attractions in Saigon which makes it even a greater destination for you. Ben Thanh market – an iconic attraction of Vietnam – cannot wait for you to come!
Cai Rang market
Cai Rang market is located in Can Tho city in the south of Vietnam. To be more exact, it is located right on the Cai Rang river. That’s right! Cai Rang market is a special floating market where all the trading is made between boats and boats. It is one of the largest trading centers of the Mekong delta. The products being sold here are mainly fruits and agricultural products the participations of many people from individual sellers to large wholesale traders. Visiting Cai Rang market attracts many tourists because it shows a very different way of living. Many boats here are actually floating and moving houses where families are living on and base their life on this special market. Cai Rang river – a very unique experience of the Me Kong delta that will for sure impresses you.
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