My mom used to say one must not travel into a town without going to its market. Although I think this maxim says something about my mom’s shopaholic tendency, I am glad that I visited Ho Chi Minh’s Ben Thanh Market.
The Ben Thanh market is located in downtown Ho Chi Minh. Ben Thanh is quite organized for a market, the stalls are spaced adequately and the goods are sold in each section. The place looks like a train station with its high ceilings – great because the weather can be quite humid in Vietnam.
Although I believe the prices here are much higher here than in the market alleys of the city, the selection of goods from all over Vietnam are quite good. Here you can buy dry-fit shirts such as cycling wear, football jerseys, etc. (Vietnam is a manufacturing hub of sportswear), souvenir Vietnam shirts, lacquerware, antiques, tropical fruits and other souvenirs.
Tin Tin items are quite popular here. Maybe because of the French tourists who go here. They have these Tin Tin shirts and frames.
We bought these bamboo dragonflies as souvenirs. I think these are also available in other southeast asian countries.
The shopkeepers have these calculators wherein you punch in the number of your offer for haggling. I tried haggling for three souvenir shirts for $2. The shopkeeper refused so I left, but after a few moments I noticed her (the shopkeeper) following me giving a lower offer. Long story short, I got three shirts for $4. I’d say as compared to their northern neighbors, the shopkeepers here are persistent, but still mild mannered.
If you’d like better deals I suggest going to the backstreets of the Ben Thanh market, where rent is perhaps lower and tourists are less likely to wander.
Dragonfly photo courtesy of thirstyfish