Location and How to get to Dong Ba Market?
Dong Ba Market is the biggest commercial center of not only Thua Thien – Hue Province but also the nearby regions. It lies along the north bank of Huong River, on Tran Hung Dao Street of Hue City and stretches from Trang Tien Bridge to Gia Hoi Bridge. It is only about 1.5 km from The Imperial Citadel so that you can just walk between the two Hue’s famous attractions.
There’s a parking lot inside the market, so it’s convenient for travelling there by bus or car as well. However, the most interesting way to visit Dong Ba Market must be by cyclo. Some people even travel there by boat, starting from Vi Da Wharf. This is really interesting, though tourists aren’t suggested doing so because the safety standard is not to make sure.
History of Dong Ba Market
Before the opening of Dong Ba Market, there had been a grand market named Qui Gia Thi outside of Chanh Dong Gate in the reign of King Gia Long. The name Qui Gia Thi referred to the return of Nguyen Dynasty to Phu Xuan (Hue nowadays). In the summer of 1885, the capital city was attacked and Qui Gia Thi Market was burned to ashes. It was not until 1887 King Dong Khanh rebuilt the market and renamed it Dong Ba Market. Since then, the market had played a role as the main resource of food for the palaces, army camps, hospitals, and dormitories of the national universities such as Quoc Hoc, Dong Khanh, Binh Linh, Thien Huu. in 1899, during the Western-style reconstruction project of King Thanh Thai, the market was moved to the nowadays position. Although Dong Ba Market has undergone several projects since the beginning of the 20th century, nowadays, it still remains many old features.
What to see at Dong Ba Market in Hue, Vietnam?
Visiting Dong Ba Market, travelers can easily see the ancient bell tower standing proudly among the complex of buildings. The market reaches an area of up to 16,000 m2 consisting of nine new buildings and four new sections ranging from foods to clothes. Similar to most Vietnamese markets, this one is divided into different sections, depending on the types of products. The whole floor upstairs is for garment and clothes. Dong Ba Market is not only outstanding for the architecture but also the atmosphere and the daily pace of the market itself. There is also a hidden tailor shop floor (“lầu may”) where local experienced tailors make clothes. In addition, they do not only sell and buy products inside but also outside the market.
What to buy at Dong Ba Market?
Visiting Dong Ba Market, Travelers can find all of the most special cultural gifts and souvenirs of Thua Thien Hue that remain until today. They comprise “non la bai tho” (conical hats having poems woven into their design) from Phu Cam Village, which is made of latanier leaves; me xung (candies), Truoi berries, Tuan tea, tom chua (Hue Sour Shrimp), lotus seed of Tinh Tam Lake, etc. Travelers can also find traditional food such as mussel rice, beef vermicelli, leaves cakes, etc.
People said that Dong Ba Market is where people can get most of Hue’s delicious dishes within a place – its food courts, and at a high-quality standard. Don’t miss the street vendors’ stalls on the ground of the market (under the stair). They’re really worth dropping by.
Today, Dong Ba Market still plays an important role in the economy and trade of the city although plenty of supermarkets have been built. Besides providing food and other goods for the cities, it’s also a place for travelers discovering typical trading methods as well as buying some Hue specialties.
How to buy at this amazing market? Some useful tips
Requesting more highly than the right price is a habit of the vendors in Vietnam where the income of people generally is still low. Therefore, in order to get an item at the right price, do not be ashamed of bargaining
It’s the first tip at Dong Ba Market that even local residents have to apply. Few sellers can speak English fluently, but it doesn’t matter since they can say the number and use the calculator. Start bargaining from half the price. Buying in a large number will help you when dealing with the sellers. If You are good at bargaining, Dong Ba Market can offer the best price because Hue’s cost of living is quite cheap. You can find out the prices of the item that you need to buy before going shopping.
When to get there?
The average number of consumers arriving at the market daily is from 5,000 to 7,000 and can be up to double during important holidays. On these opportunities, visiting the market is really exciting because the scene of trading is very busy. However, travelers must guard against pickpocketing. Travelers should avoid coming there on the first day of the Vietnamese New Year because very few shops are open. Normally, the market fully restarts after the third day of the New Year.