Visiting the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (+Photos)

Located in the historic District One of Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh Market is considered the largest retail market in Vietnam. With close to 1450 stalls and 6000 traders selling a range of goods from food produce to luxury products, there is good reason this is one of the busiest in the country.

The market was first established in the 17th century but has undergone multiple relocations and renovations as the city developed.

Inside the Four Quarters

Ben Thanh Market

There are four main gates that you can enter from: The South Gate is where you’ll find clothing, fabrics, and dry foods. The North Gate trades fruit and fresh produce. The East Gate is the best way to access high-end cosmetics and confectionary products, and the West Gate is the best entrance for freshly prepared food, drinks, and souvenirs.

I must confess, I spent most of my time around the South Gate, where I purchased some dried fruits, coffee, and snacks. But from what I did experience, I can highly recommend it to anyone visiting the city.

Ben Thanh Market

After bargaining my way through the market, I stopped by Che Be, a dessert shop that sells traditional Vietnamese dessert soups. The stall had over 40 years of sweet soup making under its belt and prepared an impeccable bowl of creamy sweet soup filled with gelatinous balls.

Things to Know Before Visiting

Ben Thanh Market

The market is around 500 meters from Ben Thanh Station, which is the largest bus stop in the city. It’s right in the city center, which is where we were staying. I had a private driver drop me off and collect me from the market, but technically, I could have walked the 20 minutes from my hotel.

It’s just a 12-minute walk from Bui Vien Walking Street and an 11-minute walk from the Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Plaza. The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is also just a 13-minute walk away.

Like most markets, it opens its doors at 6 am and closes around 6 pm. However, some sections, like the food hall, stay open for a night market, which can get super busy! I visited in the early morning when it wasn’t overcrowded and too hot, and I can advise you to do the same.

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