Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

There is no doubt that Ben Thanh Market is a must-visit in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) thanks to the perfect blend of beautiful ancient French and Vietnamese architectures and its experience through over 100 years in the city. Ben Thanh Market is always listed as one of the best places to go shopping in Saigon because it sells a wide range of products for tourist expectations. Highlights of the market include the good location, diverse choices and English-speaking vendors. This is an Ultimate Guide to Shopping at Ben Thanh Market which is expected to be fun and memorable.

Location and How to get there?

Location: Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. CLICK HERE to see location on Google Maps.

Ben Thanh Market is surrounded by four streets: Le Thanh Ton, Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chu Trinh and Le Lai. So that visitors can enter the market through any gate on these streets. It is easy to reach the market by bus or taxi because the market is located in the heart of the city. The taxi fare in Ho Chi Minh City is about VND 16,000, Vinasun and Mai Linh provide good taxis and professional services. The nearest bus station to the market is called Ham Nghi Bus Station. Taking any bus to this bus station from your place can save money because the bus fare is from VND 5,000. If you are good at using Grab which is similar to Uber in other countries, you can book a ride by car or bike at a good price to the market.

Opening hours

The day Ben Thanh market is open from 7:00 to 19:00. When the sun goes down, the market inside the building closes and the night outdoor market opens on Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Boi Chau Streets. The stores on Le Thanh Ton Street open from the morning to nearly midnight. This guide is about the day market, visitors can check out the Ultimate Guide about Ben Thanh Night Market HERE.

Are the prices at Ben Thanh Market high?

You may have read that prices at Ben Thanh Market are high and bargaining is a must. However, many things have been changed, the prices are reasonable and lots of stores sell the items at fixed prices now. There are more and more markets, stores and shopping malls open in the city. Vendors at Ben Thanh Market know how to attract customers with good prices and their attitude. They speak English well, some can speak a little Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

Shopping Centers and Shopping Stores

Ben Thanh Market has 1500 stores where more than 6,000 vendors do their business. Some stores are located inside the market, some stores are located in the corridors. East Ben Thanh Center, West Ben Thanh Center Ben Thanh Store in the corridors are good places to shop, the staffs in blue uniforms are well-trained and speak English well. Prices are fixed so that customers do not need to negotiate. At the other stores, customers should haggle for great deals.

East Ben Thanh Center and West Ben Thanh Center

East Ben Thanh Center (Trung Tâm Bến Thành Đông) , West Ben Thanh Center (Trung Tâm Bến Thành Tây) are owned by Ben Thanh Trading & Service Joint Stock Company. The East Center consists of 30 stores along the broadway corridor of the market, stretching from the East Gate to the South Gate. The West Center has 40 stores, located along the broadway corridor of the market, stretching from the West Gate to the South Gate. These stores sell fabrics, ready made clothes, handbags, handmade arts, lacquers, embroideries, luggage, etc.

East Ben Thanh Center - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

East Ben Thanh Center

Ben Thanh Store

Ben Thanh Store or Cửa Hàng Bến Thành, owned by Saigon Co.op Mart – one of the top retail co-operative in Vietnam, has been open since 1978. Ben Thanh Store – East Gate is located in the corridor, from Gate 11 to 13, Ben Thanh Store – West Gate is located in the corridor, from Gate 5 to 7. The stores sell clothes for women, men, children, toys. Ben Thanh Store owns the store at Gate 12 sells high-quality and reasonably priced CoopMart brand products which are designed and managed by Saigon Co.op. Customers can find hundreds of cosmetics, textile, household products and foods.

Ben Thanh Store - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Store since 1978

What to buy at Ben Thanh Market?

Ben Thanh Market sells countless products so that I have divided popular items into the following categories: Clothes and accessories, Fabrics, Souvenirs, Dried foods, Coffee and Tea, Luggage, Toys, Bedding products. Besides, the market provide fresh and artificial flowers, raw foods, household items and kitchenware which are sold mainly for local people.

Clothes and accessories

Clothes and accessories dominates the market. Traditional Ao Dai and Ao Ba Ba, dresses, underwear, T-shirts and other fashion products are abundant at the market. A large number of clothing and accessories are made from good fabrics in Vietnam. However, customers should check the origins of the items before buying. Customers are easily find the items at East Ben Thanh Center, West Ben Thanh Center Ben Thanh Store.

Ao Dai for men and women - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Ao Dai for women has two main types: long (traditional style) and short (modern style). If you would like to buy and wear something original, willowy and elegant, the Ao Dai with long sleeves and flaps, high collar is a good choice. The long and wide pants should go with this Ao Dai. In contrast, you can choose high collar or open neck Ao Dai with short flaps and sleeves. These Ao Dai can be mixed with jeans, cotton or khaki trousers, pants, even long skirts. Silk or brocade are good fabrics to make Ao Dai. The patterns are various, embroidered and beaded Ao Dai are more expensive than simple floral, animal and landscape patterns. Ao Dai for men are decorated with round dragon and phoenix pattern which represents longevity.

Ao Ba Ba Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

If you do not want to wear long clothes like Ao Dai but would like to buy traditional Vietnamese clothes, Ao Ba Ba is a good choice. A set of Ao Ba Ba consists of a top and a bottom which is similar to the one with Ao Dai. You can buy only the top or a full set. Ao Ba Ba top is simple but good at showing the beauty of a woman.

I love Vietnam, I love Saigon, Tiger (Vietnamese beer), Vietnamese flag, map of Vietnam T-shirts Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

I love Vietnam, I love Saigon, Tiger (Vietnamese beer), Vietnamese flag, map of Vietnam T-shirts are cheap, light and meaningful items to buy at Ben Thanh Market.

Saigon Vietnam T-shirts Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

I love Pho, Good Morning Vietnam, Lager Beer, Ho Chi Minh President, Vietnamese girls in Ao Dai T-shirts and silk scarfs

Long dresses - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Simple long dresses and dresses decorated with embroidery items and beads

Pyjamas Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Silk pyjamas and short sleeve shirts for men

Swimsuits Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Swimsuits including bikini, thongs, one-piece, boardshorts, jammers, swim trunks in different colors and with various patterns for men, women, children

Sedge handbags Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

These sedge handbags are eco-friendly accessories, they are all made in Vietnam and cheap.

Leather handbags, clutches, belts, wallets Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Leather handbags, clutches, belts, wallets with no brand name. Customers should evaluate the quality of these bags.

Sneakers Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

This store offers a wide range of sneakers for customers’ choices.

Jewelry - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Long beaded necklaces, bracelets made from beads, threads and gemstones

Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

These nice hair tie bands, hair bands, hair pins, rubber bands are cheap and usable

Fabrics

Khaki, linen, nylon, cotton, velvet, silk, chiffon fabrics and many others sold at Ben Thanh Market are made in Vietnam, Thailand, Italy, China. Many tourists, ex-pats and locals buy Ao Dai fabrics and fabrics for suits, trousers and shirts for men at the market. The stores also offer tailor services such as Make suits or Ao Dai in 1 days, Free delivery to customers’ hotel.

Fabrics - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Folded fabrics are arranged well at a store in Ben Thanh Market. This store provides Make suits in 1 day service.

Beaded and embroidered Ao Dai fabrics - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Beaded and embroidered Ao Dai fabrics

Dried foods, coffee and tea

The market sell both fresh foods and dried foods but tourists tends to buy dried foods and cakes to bring home. People who live in Ho Chi Minh City can find fresh vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood, tofu, flowers in the raw food area.

Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Vietnam exports salangane nests in large quantities so that there is no reason not to buy some of the healthy foods at good prices to bring home. Dried sea cucumber which is known as one of the top healthiest foods in the world can be found at dried food stores at the market. Pia cakes are favorite of not only Vietnamese but many foreigners thanks to to tender and buttery crust, sweet and smooth fillings of mung beans or taro and salted duck egg yolk.

Nuts - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Made-in-Vietnam dried cashews and dried lotus seeds are worth buying. You can eat the cashews right away because they have been toasted or use them to make delicious cakes, desserts and great dishes. Dried lotus seeds are usually used to cook Sweet soup, savory soups, stewed and braised dishes.

Dried shrimps - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Dried shrimps – a calcium rich foods can be eaten as a snack, used to make salads, soups, congee, Stemed sticky rice, etc.

Dried mushroom cellophane noodles - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Dried mushroom, dried cellophane noodles and other dried rice noodles, egg noodles, spices, pastes, sauces which are made in Vietnam are sold popularly at Ben Thanh Market.

Coffee, Tea & Candies - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Customers can choose intant coffee with or without sugar, milk (2 in 1, 3 in 1), roasted and unroasted coffee bean, ground roasted coffee. There are some good brands such as Trung Nguyen, Metrang, Wakeup, Mr. Viet Coffee. Tea are grown in Thai Nguyen, Bao Loc, Hanoi, Northwest Vietnam.  The unbranded coffee and tea are also good. Vietnam produces a large amount of coffee and tea. It will be a big miss if visitors do not buy some great coffee and tea to bring home. The smell of coffee and tea spread in the air around tea and coffee stores. Some vendors provide some tea and coffee so that you can taste and decide to buy or not. Read more about The Ultimate Guide to Vietnamese Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City.
Sugar-preserved and dried fruits and vegetables (also called candies) are traditional Vietnamese foods, better to eat while drinking hot tea. These treats include candied coconut ribbons, sugar-preserved and dried kumquat, ginger, papaya, mango, kiwi, mulberry, jack fruit, orange, guava, dragon fruits.

Souvenirs

Any tourist love to buy a souvenir to bring home, souvenir store at Ben Thanh Market offer customers many souvenirs. The top souvenirs at Ben Thanh Market are as follows:

Souvenirs Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Embroidered wallets with scene of Vietnamese girls riding bicycles, carrying shoulder pole and baskets, beautiful Vietnamese country, etc, brocade wallets in animal and floral patterns, lacquer paintings, lacquer plates, bowls, etc. Scarfs are also good souvenirs and accessories.

Fabric lanterns, Bamboo wind chimes Souvenirs Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Fabric lanterns made from silk and bamboo (or steel) are great decorations for your houses and garden. Lovely bamboo wind chimes make your space eco-friendly and warm with their nice look and funny sounds. Wooden statues of Vietnamese girls, bronze Buddha statues are not bad choices.

Brocade and embroidered silk wallets, magnets, key chains - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Brocade and embroidered silk wallets, magnets in shapes of conical hat, Vietnamese girl in Ao Dai, couple of bride and groom, key chains

Conical hats, fans, metal Vietnamese money Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Painted conical hat in different sizes, fans made from paper, wood, bamboo, metal Vietnamese money

Luggage

Luggage - Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Carry-on luggage, wheeled business cases, garment bags and other types of luggage from plastic and fabrics are useful if you do not have enough space to brings clothes, accessories, foods and souvenirs home.

Fruits

Some visitors buy fresh fruits to bring home if the distance between Ho Chi Minh City and their home is not too far. Visitors can buy and try some fruits: pomelos, mangoes, sweet oranges, custard apples, dragon fruits, durians, etc. Baskets of fruits are great presents on death anniversaries and first birthday parties or when you visit a Vietnamese family.

Fruits Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Pomelos, mangoes, sweet oranges, custard apples, dragon fruits, durians, etc.

Toys

Do you take your children to go with you on the trip to Vietnam? Are you living with your kids in Ho Chi Minh City. Ben Thanh Market has plastic toys, electric toys for both boys and girls.

Toy store at Ben Thanh Market

Cooking utensils, models of dinosaurs, cities, chess, cubics, dolls

Bedding Products

bed sheets, pillows, pillow covers, blankets - shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Bed sheets, pillows, pillow covers, blankets

Summary of Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Whether you are a visitor or ex-pat, Ben Thanh Market has everything you need for your normal life. Although you can go shopping at modern and luxury shopping malls with air conditioning systems and lots of services, shopping at one of the oldest, most famous and beautiful markets in the city is an amazing experience. At the market, you can meet vendors who have been doing their business for dozens of years. Many things have not been changed and customers feel like shopping in Saigon in the past. Prices are not very expensive, the costs are fixed at some stores. You can freely choose the items and the vendors are happy to advise you which are the best.

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