Ben Thanh Market is one of those markets which is a must go when you are here and has been here forever. It’s so much more than just a place to shop as you will see when visiting this vibrant place
Ben Thanh Market is the most famous shopping destination for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City, featuring every type of souvenir the spending traveler desires to buy. The attraction is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important landmark of the city.
Some markets specialize in certain products (or a small range of similar products) such as war memorabilia, household supplies or silk and other fabrics, whereas others sell virtually every item imaginable. No matter what it is they sell, and whichever market it is you go to, your experience will be unique and hard to replicate elsewhere in the world.
Ben Thanh Market is one of those markets which is a must go when you are here. In this article, you will find all you need to know about Ben Thanh market from it’s history, to what you can buy, to a comprehensive map and tips & tricks. Its always an exciting place to hassle and bargain.
Ben Thanh Market is the most famous among all markets in Vietnam, let alone Saigon. One of the earliest surviving structures of the city, this architectural masterpiece is where the sight-seeing experience beings for a first timer in Saigon for numerous reasons: it is emblematic of Saigonese culture, shows up in a large number of movies and articles, is listed as number one on virtually every tourist guide book there is about the city and is also the first recommendation on the tip of everyone’s tongue. In addition to being a market for locals and foreigners alike, this massive rectangular structure that boasts 13000m2 also serves as a historical site, a landmark, a rendezvous point and a background for beautiful photo-ops.
Unbeknownst to most patrons however, is the interesting history of the place, which is worth a quick read. The first “Ben Thanh” market started out in the early 17th century as a few little stalls and informal makeshift markets by casual street vendors gathering together near the Ben Nghe River (Saigon River). When the neighboring Gia Dinh citadel was overthrown in 1859 by French imperialists, the market was properly built and formally established. Initially named Les Halles Centrales, it was renamed Ben Thanh which roughly translates to “wharf citadel”, after being destroyed in a fire and then restored.
However, in 1914 the market was relocated to a more central location to what was then near the My Tho railway station (current Saigon bus station) and again renamed as the “New Ben Thanh Market” to distinguish from its predecessor. In 1985 the new one was renovated to keep up with the city’s progress, yet the famous clock tower on the south entrance was left unchanged. Despite the restorations over time, the market remains one of the earliest surviving structures of Saigon having witnessed war after war, and finally peace.
Location and Opening Hours of Ben Thanh Market
It’s literally impossible to not get to Ben Thanh because it’s used as a landmark when it comes to addressing other locations of the city. The market possesses one of the most crucial locations in District 1 the intersection of Le Loi, Le Lai, Ham Nghi, and Tran Hung Dao, and is also right opposite the Saigon Bus Station – so you can say that all roads lead to Benh Thanh. From the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you can take Bus 152 which takes you directly to Ben Thanh Market and this costs about 15,000VND (65cents Exchange rate 30/08/2018).
You can easily walk if you live in the nearby vicinity, in which I used to or you can take a bus call a Grab or hail a local Vinasun / Mai Linh taxi. They will all know where it is.
Opening Hours –
Ben Thanh Market: 06:00AM – 06:00PM
Ben Thanh Night Market: 06:00PM – 10:00PM
I hope you enjoy your visit to Ben Thanh Market – Kiwi in Saigon
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