The markets in Saigon offer a unique, cultural shopping experience unlike anything you’ll encounter elsewhere.
Ho Chi Minh City has a plethora of great, authentic shopping markets to explore. Offering everything from local produce to one-of-a-kind souvenirs at a low cost, the Saigon markets are a great way to get some shopping done, experience the local culture, and get to know the city a bit better. Expect the markets to be hot, crowded, and slightly overwhelming at first. But don’t worry, that’s all part of the experience!
What to Know Before visiting the Saigon Markets
Some relatively simple things to note before visiting any of the markets listed below include, how to shop like a Vietnamese market pro, and what to expect when visiting some of the best markets in Saigon.
First, we recommend to bring only cash. Most vendors will not take card or other forms of payment, so visit the ATM beforehand.
Second, haggle haggle haggle. This doesn’t mean offering $1 for hand-painted art, but rather, compromising with the vendor to get a deal you both agree on. Vendors will think you have less respect for them if you offer to pay too low of a price. They may not be willing to work with you in the end. So, be reasonable!
Finally, understand that most of those designer clothes aren’t real. Knock-off designer imports from China have made their way to Vietnam as well. But don’t be fooled if a vendor says their items are real and incur a higher retail price. As long as you’re okay with the knock-offs, carry on and find that nice Gucci belt you’ve been wanting!
So, you may not have expected to visit a Russian Market (328 Vo Van Kiet, Co Giang Ward, District 1) in Ho Chi Minh City. However, this one is definitely a hidden gem that you shouldn’t miss. The Russian Market is different in the items that it sells. It mostly supplies winter clothes, coats, boots, as well as travel gear such as suitcases and backpacks. This is a great market to visit if you’re preparing to return to your home country during the winter.
An Dong Market
Located in District 5, An Dong Market (An Dong Market, 34-36 An Duong Vuong Street, Ward 9, District 5, HCMC) specializes in clothing with the latest trends, local fashion, tailors, and fabrics. Vendors also offer local crafts, art supplies, and interiors for home décor. You can find unique, hand-painted products such as bowls and tea sets. What makes it stand over most of the Saigon markets is that it has great options for jewelry, such as jade bracelets, Vietnamese pearls, and sterling silver. If you’re looking for genuine jewels that typically come with a higher cost, make sure to do your research beforehand to ensure that you’re getting a decent price from a reputable seller.
Ba Chieu Market
The Ba Chieu Market (40 Hong Bang Street, Binh Thanh District, HCMC) is known as the market where “all the local’s shop”. Visit this bustling market and you’ll see just why! Ba Chieu Market has a great variety of open stalls catering to locals’ needs such as textiles, kitchenware, and groceries. It’s a great place to stop in for some local cuisine or a refreshing Vietnamese iced coffee. Buy your fresh produce or Vietnamese treats here, as you won’t find them anywhere cheaper in the city!
Binh Tay Market
Another international-style market, Binh Tay Market (57 Thap Muoi, Ward 2, District 6, HCMC) is situated in what’s known as the “Cho Lon” or “Chinatown” area of Ho Chi Minh City. This market stands out with its ancient Chinese-style architecture, including high golden arches and red-painted exteriors, so you can’t miss it from afar. If you visit a Vietnamese market and then come to this one, you can easily spot the difference between the vendors’ setups. With narrower hallways and closer quarters, you’ll want to visit this market mainly for the cultural experience. When you decide to purchase something here, be prepared to buy in bulk as the vendors sell mostly wholesale products. However, you can get your souvenirs here, en masse, and for an affordable price, such as postcards or ceramics.
Ben Thanh Market
The list wouldn’t be complete without including the infamous Ben Thanh Market (Le Loi, Ward Ben Thanh, District 1, HCMC). Yes, this centrally located market is a tourist hot spot. However, it’s a great place to start if you’re a newbie to the Saigon markets scene. Here, you will find virtually any item you’re looking for, from home décor to knock-off designer shoes. Ben Thanh has an abundance of stalls to cater to your shopping needs. As with most Vietnamese markets, Ben Thanh also has a great selection of local snacks, treats, and delicacies to try during your shopping trip. Be sure to shop around as some vendors carry similar items, so make sure you know you’re getting the best deal on whatever it is you’re looking for.
Regardless of what you’re shopping for, Vietnam has a great variety of famous markets to visit, with some of the best markets being right here in Ho Chi Minh City. The market shopping scene in Saigon provides visitors with an unforgettable array of culture, diversity, and adventure, uniquely crammed between the stalls, vendors, and hallways of each Vietnamese market. Our recommendation is to explore by an organized tour these famous markets in Ho Chi Minh City. Once you decide what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find a hidden gem somewhere, even if it’s just the market itself.