‘If you want to get to know a specific area in one country, head straight to its local market,’ my friend told me that. This is what he does every time he travels to any place as well.
He was right. I spent my last summer in Vietnam – a small country in Southeast Asia, and had some amazing experiences there.
The people, in general, were friendly, the hotel I stayed in was also nice. It was a memorable trip, and I would definitely go back there when I have the chance to.
Asides from the landscapes and food, which made my Vietnam trip so special were the local markets. Yes, you heard correctly, markets.
Let’s all try to look at Vietnam from a whole different perspective: local markets. If it’s just about luxurious hotels or fine dining restaurants, then you will see that Vietnam is not much different than other countries you’ve visited.
A market is the heart of the community. Here in Vietnam, people tend to go to markets more than supermarkets, especially in the countryside.
You can expect to find basically everything at the market, ranging from food like fresh vegetables, meat, fish to clothes, trinket, or whatever you can think of; you name it.
At almost every famous destination in Vietnam, there is at least one or maybe a few markets that are excellent and full of surprises waiting to be discovered by you.
In this article, I’m going to introduce you 5 of the most well-known local markets in Vietnam you should pay a visit when you have the chance to.
5 Must-visit Markets In Vietnam – An Experience Like A Local!
Ben Thanh Market – The impressive symbol of Ho Chi Minh City
- Opening Hours: 06:00 – 24:00
- Address: Ben Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City
Located in District 1 – the center of many nightlife locations in Sai Gon – Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh Market is a bustling trading area during the day and a fun gathering place at night.
The goods here can be a bit pricey, though, comparing to other markets. Locals don’t usually go shopping here due to the price. However, Ben Thanh Market is known as one of the oldest landmarks in Sai Gon, so it would be worth it just to stop by and have a taste of a Vietnamese market atmosphere.
Dong Xuan Market (Ha Noi)
Opening Hours: 06:00 – 19:00
Address: Dong Xuan Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Founded in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is the biggest wholesale market in Ha Noi, attracting a great number of tourists every year. It is housed within a four-floor building constructed in a Soviet style right on Dong Xuan Street.
Dong Xuan Market is known for its wide array of quality goods, ranging from food, souvenirs, clothing to furniture or household equipment.
Unlike other well-known markets in Vietnam, the price at Dong Xuan market is rather reasonable. That’s why you can see lots of locals here during the day and at night as well.
The best time to go to see Dong Xuan Market would probably around 6 p.m because after that it will get very crowded and you may find it hard to look for what you really want.
Hoi An Central Market (Hoi An)
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 20:00
- Address: Nguyen Hue and Tran Phu Street, Hoi An
Don’t forget to put Hoi An Central Market in your must-visit location list during your time in Hoi An ancient town – recognized as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO.
You can expect to buy the freshest fish since its location near Thu Bon river. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also on display, as well as spices like cinnamon or chili powder.
One special thing about Hoi An Central Market is that it has the best tailors in town. There is even a whole section where you can find lots of tailors’ shops. Don’t hesitate to get a dress or ao dai made, because here they offer the best price you can get in town.
Don’t forget, if you don’t bargain, you will likely be ripped off at the market, one way or another. So, work on your bargaining skill, and don’t hesitate to offer half the price they give you.
At markets, when giving the first price of something, you are very much likely to be offered an over inflated price. Don’t hesitate to walk away, and you’ll be surprised at the price you then be offered.
>>> Don’t forget to see more and more Top Things to Do in Hoi An | Best attractions in Hoi An
Cai Rang Floating Market (Can Tho)
- Opening Hours: 04:00 – 09:00
- Address: Can Tho River (near Cai Rang bridge), Can Tho
‘Floating market’ may seem like a new concept to you, but in the Western part of Vietnam, it comes at nothing strange because rivers here are so dense.
Cai Rang Floating Market is a top tourist attraction in Can Tho city, West of Vietnam. This market is where both locals and foreigners head buy food and learn more about the life of people who live right on the floating houses Hau river.
It is said that Cai Rang Floating Market has been there for more than 100 years! The primary goods you can find in this market are fresh fruits and a lot of fresh fruits. Some boats even have dishes like hu tieu or bun bo, always being there to serve you.
Cai Rang Market usually open quite early, usually from dawn and until around 8 – 9:00 am. Hence, you should visit Cai Rang Floating Market at 6 – 7:00 am as well because it is the most lively shopping time.
The market is mostly inactive on the Lunar New Year days (1st and 2nd of the Lunar New Year and the 5th of the fifth lunar month).
There are more than 20 boats a day displaying goods right on the river every day. Fantastic isn’t it?! If you are currently in the West of Vietnam, you must pay a visit to this astonishing market.
You will find yourself overwhelmingly pleasant with this unique market!
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Dalat Night Market – Hell Market
- Opening hour: 19:00 – 04:00
- Address: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Dalat
Traveling to Da Lat, you should not skip the chance to discover Dalat Night Market – Hell market. This unique name appeared from a long time ago when the street lights were not there yet, vendors gathered along the stairs from the Hoa Binh area to the Dalat market.
At night, when Da Lat was immersed in a white mist, looking from afar, this place is full of flickering and glimmering spots of embers, hence it is called Hell market.
You will not find the high-end dishes in the Dalat night market. It is the ideal place to have a truly relaxing trip when you plop down on a plastic chair for some fragrant rice wine or a hot pot of boiled snails.
You will discover a hidden charm of daily life in Dalat here. The local people gather in the Hell market to enjoy a peaceful night, from janitors who have just finished their work, the college student wandering around the busy streets, to tourists want to enjoy the taste of Dalat night.
Quang Ba Flower Market (Hanoi)
- Opening Hour: Daily 02:00 – 12:00
- Address: Au Co Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Coming to Quang Ba Flower Market, you will be fascinated by the numerous flower stalls with an astonishing collection of different species and brilliant colors.
The florist cherishes and gently selects the freshest, most beautiful branches, then gently wraps them in paper, and gives them to you with a happy smile.
The most crowded time of market is about 1 – 2:00 am. You will see a very different Hanoi in Quang Ba. When the whole city was in a deep sleep, Quang Ba flower market was bustling and lively, with full of flowers and laughter.
The light from the street lights makes the market immersed in shimmering and fanciful colors.
Explore Quang Ba to explore a small and unique corner of Hanoi at night!
Dam Market (Nha Trang)
- Opening Hours: 06:00 – 16:00
- Address: Van Thanh, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa
Last but not least in my list, it’s Dam Market. As someone who was born and raised in Nha Trang, let me tell you this: Dam Market is an absolute must when in Nha Trang.
Taking place in a three-floor building in the center of Nha Trang, Dam Market offers numerous kinds of goods. Farmers and fishers come here every early every morning to sell the freshest produce like vegetables, seafood, or fruits… to both locals and tourists.
You can also find trinkets, souvenirs, or handmade clothes with all kinds of prices. If you go a little bit further inside Dam Market, you will be overwhelmed by the food area it has.
There are lots of traditional Vietnamese dishes you should try in the food area of Dam Market, such as banh cuon, pho, bun cha sua or banh xeo. Also, bun cha sua is a must eat when you’re in Nha Trang, I’m telling you.
Have you made up your mind about where to stay on your next trip to Vietnam yet? If you plan to visit one of the locations above, don’t forget to go check out the markets that I suggested.
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The markets in the list that I mentioned above were all carefully selected, based on my own experience with them, and I’m sharing this with you, so if Vietnam is your next location, you know what places to visit.
Tell me about your experience with these markets if you have been to one or more in the comment section. I’d love to read them all, both bad and good.
Thank you for reading!