Ben Thanh Market – A detailed shopping guide

Ben Thanh Market is the most famous shopping destination for tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. It is a nice place to buy local handicrafts, branded items, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs. In addition to shopping, this oldest market in the city is also an attraction in itself.

Short history

 Ben Thanh Market

The old market was originally built with stones and wood. In 1859, two days after the French conquered Gia Dinh (the ancient name of Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnamese soldiers organized a fire attack on the entire city and the market was burned. In 1860 the French rebuilt the Ben Thanh market at its original location. In 1870 the market burned down again, so the French rebuilt it.

In 1911, Ben Thanh Market threatened to collapse. For this reason, the market was demolished and rebuilt at a different location. Until 1975 the market was only called Ben Thanh Market in books, the local people often called it Sai Gon Market or New Market. Ben Thanh Market underwent a thorough renovation on July 1, 1985. Today, the market is one of the most famous landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City.

What to buy at Ben Thanh Market

Today, Ben Thanh Market is primarily for tourists. From traditional clothing and handicrafts to local spices and souvenirs. You can find almost everything here, including souvenirs, clothing, hats, coffee, tea, shoes, purses, snacks, fresh fruit, art, electronics, toys, spices, suitcases, watches, fruit and jewelry. Here is a list what you can buy:

Clothing and accessories

 Ben Thanh Market
  • Traditional Vietnamese clothing (ao dai)
  • Silk garments
  • T-shirts and apparel with local designs
  • Handbags and purses

Souvenirs and handicrafts

  • Lacquerware
  • Ceramic pottery
  • Bamboo products
  • Handmade jewelry and accessories

Food and spices

 Ben Thanh Market
  • Vietnamese coffee beans
  • Traditional herbs and spices
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Local snacks and sweets

Textiles and fabrics

  • Batik fabrics
  • Silk scarves and shawls
  • Embroidered tablecloths and linens
  • Traditional Vietnamese textiles

Home décor

  • Decorative lanterns
  • Paintings and artwork
  • Wooden furniture and carvings
  • Ceramic vases and bowls


  • Vietnamese traditional musical instruments
  • Non la (conical hat)
  • Vietnamese silk lanterns
  • Handmade soaps and cosmetics

Prices & bargaining

Fixed prices

In the outer ring of the market, you will find stalls that offer fixed prices for their items, some of at stalls the sellers wear light blue T-shirts. This area is particularly convenient for those who prefer not to engage in bargaining.


Bargaining is a common practice in many parts of the market. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Most traders are superstitious. You can get better deals in the morning because it is their first sale of the day and that brings good luck.
  • Be prepared to bargain. The prices on Ben Thanh Market are often two or three times higher than normal.
  • You can get better prices if you buy multiple items at the same time.
  • It is always best to first look at the different stalls and look for the best deals instead of buying something at first sight.
  • Smile and stay nice. People always respond to positivity here and it makes for a more pleasant experience.
  • Be prepared to walk away from a deal. In many cases you will be recalled by the seller with acceptance of your bid.
  • If you don’t want to buy anything, just look around. Do not touch any items and then put them down again. Traders do not like this.
  • Negotiating can be a lot of fun, but the most important thing is that you always act with respect and remain friendly.
  • Keep in mind that many of the items available at Ben Thanh Market can also be found in other parts of Vietnam. Therefore, it’s advisable not to be too hasty in your purchases.

Price guide

ItemPrice in Vietnamese Dong (VND)Price in US Dollars (USD)
T-shirt/Shirt100,000 – 300,000 VND$4 – $13
Pants200,000 – 400,000 VND$9 – $17
Non la (Conical Hat)50,000 – 100,000 VND$2 – $4
Ao dai300,000 – 800,000 VND$13 – $35
Wallet100,000 – 300,000 VND$4 – $13
Shoes300,000 – 800,000 VND$13 – $35
Handbag200,000 – 500,000 VND$9 – $22
Small Souvenir20,000 – 50,000 VND$1 – $2
Ceramic/Porcelain100,000 – 500,000 VND$4 – $22
Lacquerware200,000 – 1,000,000 VND$9 – $43

Food at the market

food in Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is not only a bustling marketplace for goods but also a vibrant hub for food enthusiasts. Inside the market, you’ll find a wide array of food stalls and eateries offering delicious Vietnamese street food and local delicacies. From steaming bowls of pho and flavorful banh mi sandwiches to fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and delectable desserts, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Ben Thanh Night Market

Ben Thanh Night Market

Ben Thanh Night Market is just as popular as the normal market. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. traders set up their booths on the east and west sides of the market, with a wide range of items to choose from. From traditional clothing to electronics, just like the daily market, you can find many things here.

Nearby is the famous Street Food market, slightly more expensive but with a wider range of local dishes. It closes at 10 p.m., but is a great place to eat before heading out in the evening. There are clubs and bars in the area, or cafés and parks, which you also can visit.

Ben Thanh Market location & opening times

Ben Thanh Market is located in District 1 in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City at the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Ngh, Tan Hung and Le Lai streets. The shops close the late afternoon with the best shopping in the morning before the heat of the day strikes.

The market is one of the most famous landmarks of Ho Chi Minh and is known to all taxi drivers, but if you are staying in the city center, first check if you can walk from your hotel to the market as it is very centrally located .

Opening hours:

  • Ben Thanh Market: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Ben Thanh Night Market: 17:00 – 22:00

Address: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Nearby Ben Thanh Market

When visiting Ben Thanh Market, you have the opportunity to explore several nearby attractions. If you visit the market during the day, you can conveniently visit notable landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post, Reunification Palace, and the War Remnants Museum, all located within a short distance from the market.

In the late afternoon or evening, after immersing yourself in the bustling atmosphere of Ben Thanh Night Market, you can go to Bui Vien street, also known as the backpacker street, a popular place if you’re interested in the vibrant bar and club scene. For a more local experience, head to Nguyen Hue Walking Street, where you can enjoy the lively atmosphere, witness the beautifully lit City Hall and Opera House, and indulge in street food.

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