Visiting Hoi An Central Market, Vietnam (+Photos)

No trip to Vietnam is complete without a visit to some of the country’s bustling local markets. When I traveled through Vietnam, my first port of call in each big city was the central marketplace. And by this, I don’t mean the tourist hub markets where you’ll find fake Gucci bags and cheaply made souvenirs; I mean a truly authentic food and goods market where local residents do their daily shopping.

Safe to say, I was not disappointed, as I explored some of the most enchanting markets in Vietnam. Browsing hand-woven materials, shoulder to shoulder with locals going about their daily chores, as scents of rich spices and fresh tropical fruit wafted through the air, there are few places that make me as happy as a market!

The Hoi An Central Market of Chợ Hội An wasn’t the biggest market I visited in Vietnam, but it did leave one of the biggest impressions.

Dating back to the 15th century, it has been a buzzing trading hub for over four centuries, standing strong over the rise and fall of the empires around it. Hoi An was once a prominent trading port along the Silk Road, and the market reflects this as a commercial and cultural center. Since then, it has been damaged by wars and lovingly rebuilt and restored to feature its original historic architecture.

Hoi An Central Market

You can find a treasure trove of goods ranging from traditional handicrafts, including silk, textiles, and handmade lanterns, to local produce, spices, and the custom-made tailor shops that Hoi An is so famous for.

Exploring the Market

Hoi An Central Market

As I walked into the mustard yellow building, I was greeted by the scent of fragrant spices. Under a high vaulted ceiling held up by yellow pillars, there are rows upon rows of merchants.

As wonderful as this indoor marketplace was, it was the outside vendors and informal stalls that caught my attention. Lining the edges of the building, you’ll find every type of lean bean, giant pineapple, and tropical litchi displayed in brightly colored plastic containers, being peeled by women wearing traditional leaf-woven hats.

Hoi An Central Market

Since I was only visiting the village for a few days and was staying in a hotel, I wasn’t able to purchase as much fresh produce as I would have liked to. That said, I did buy a few loose fruits and snacks to eat throughout the day.

Getting to the Market

Central market  in Hoi An, Vietnam

Nestled in the heart of the ancient town of Hoi An along the Thu Bon River, the market is easy to access by foot or bike. In fact, the entire historical town is vehicle-free, which means there are no taxis or cars. I spent an entire morning exploring this buzzing riverside marketplace.

If you’re visiting the town from elsewhere, you can take a taxi or shuttle. Transport will drop you around the crossroads of Nguyen Hue and Phan Chu Trinh or between Hoang Dieu and Tran Phu, since you won’t be able to drive directly to the market.

Things to Know Before Visiting

Hoi An Central Market

Hoi An Central Market

Hoi An Central Market

The building is split into four major sections: prepared foods, spices and cooking utensils, fresh meat and vegetables, and fish. You’ll typically enter on Tran Phu Street past the fresh-water well and exit the building along the Thu Bon River.

The market is open between 6 am until around 6 pm. If you’re visiting for the produce, the best time to go is early in the morning when stock is high, produce is fresh, and crowds are minimal. However, for a vibey atmosphere, do yourself a favor and visit in the early evening.

Looking at the prices, you can expect to spend around 200 thousand Vietnamese Dong (VND) for a handmade lantern and between 500 thousand and 1 million VND for an item of personalized, tailored clothing.

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