General information about Ben Thanh market

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
Ben Thanh market, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

Ben Thanh market is a famous destination for many local and foreign tourists from all around the world. The market is one of the earliest surviving structures and an iconic symbol of Ho Chi Minh City (also known as the name “Sai Gon”). From a mix of traditional and modern culture to mouth-watering food to tales of travel experiences, Ben Thanh market has a lot to offer tourists. Moreover, combined with the lively hustle and bustle of the crowd intertwining the sellers’ chants, and small paths along stalls offering clothes, souvenirs, local cuisine, etc. It’s undeniable that Ben Thanh market is one of the worth experiences when having a vacay in Saigon. 

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
Ben Thanh market 90 years ago

A little history of Ben Thanh market

The market goes back to the 17th century. The original marketplace provided a makeshift space where vendors put up temporary stalls during the daytime. In the half of the 18th century, it was built as a formal marketplace and named Les Halles Centrales by the French. Unfortunately, in 1912, the market was gutted by fire and then moved into the location people are familiar with today. With a new marketplace, the name was changed to Ben Thanh market to be distinguished from its predecessor. The name Ben Thanh derives from the words “harbor” (Ben) and “citadel” (Thanh).

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
The panoramic view of Ben Thanh market with four main gates facing four directions


Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
The Northern gate

With a total area of 13.056 square kilometers, this Indochina-designed building stands out in the heart of Saigon’s glitzy and modern city center. Ben Thanh market has four main gates facing four different directions (South, North, East, and West), and each gate has its specialty goods.

  • It comes to cosmetic heaven when entering from the Eastern gate, where a wide range of body care and skin care products are on display. On the other hand, starting from the Western entrance, tourists will be spoiled for choice when it comes to here with a variety of footwear and souvenirs. 
  • At the Southern gate, tourists will be fascinated by an array of stalls offering garments with fashionable clothes and dried food. In the opposite direction, fresh products such as flowers or fruits can be easily seen from stalls at the Northern gate. 


Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
Inside of Ben Thanh market

Ben Thanh market is in the center of Ho Chi Minh City in Ben Thanh ward, District 1 (the intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Avenues, and Le Lai Street). 

Opening hours

Entire day:

  • Day market: From 6 am – 7 pm
  • Night market: From 7 pm 

What to see at Ben Thanh market?

The unique architecture

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
The three-sided clock tower of Ben Thanh market

Despite many restorations over time, the market retains its original architectural features. At the Southern gate, there is a three-sided clock tower built according to the French. The market’s name also is hung on in front of the tower by the Vietnamese version “CHO BEN THANH”.

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
The Eastern gate of Ben Thanh market with bas-reliefs

More impressive, on each market’s main gate, bas-reliefs made of baked ceramic by artisan Le Van Mau from 1952 still remain. The bas-reliefs depict the regional Southern products like pigs, bananas, fish, etc. 

Easily find everything from cheap to the best quality 

Ben Thanh market – there’s no limit to the things that one can buy. If one is looking for things such as the best tasty and busy food court but always available for any time open, then Ben Thanh Market is the place to be. Moreover, eye-catchy handicraft products with affordable prices or dried specialties from all over Vietnam could be easily found here.

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
A merchant is raving about a miracle product and curious shoppers milling around the stalls

Just imagine, you are in the market, there is the woman seller’s smile at the market corner with fresh meat straight from the farms. Far away from the other side are piles of newly-dug vegetables and sweet-smelling fruit. That would be a bustle unmistakable in other places! So do not miss a chance to spend time here!

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
A stall selling souvenirs with the cutest items

Ben Thanh night market 

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
The market with colorful bright lights at night

Ben Thanh Market is one of the vibrant ambiances of a sleepless city. That brings tourists close to the local culture because the vibrancy and dynamism they offer are jaw-dropping. When the dark falls, vendors set up brightly lit stalls on two sides of the big streets of Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh. The stalls offer similar goods to the day market but with more emphasis on tasty and mouth-watering street food.

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
The famous Hai Lua restaurant at the night market

Some vendors expand their stalls into sit-down restaurants offering tables and seats. This market is a gathering place for many locals to hang out after work, and it’s also suitable for tourists as they offer western-style menus in English. In a rush for Vietnamese cuisine? Come here, please! 

How to reach Ben Thanh market?

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
Shuttle bus from the airport to the market

Tourists can choose a suitable way to get there depending on their location. Because of the convenience of transportation, taking a seat on a bus or car, driving a motorbike, or just on foot are all ideal choices for reaching the market. 

Bus: This is a cheap way to get to the market. You can take bus number 152 from the airport, with a dirt cheap price ticket costing 15.000 VND. 

Walking: if your location is at Pham Ngu Lao street. It is only 1 km away and takes around 10 minutes to walk.

Motorbike: It’s more convenient to get around if you drive a motorbike. Reference price: 150K VND/per day. 

Taxi: You can book a Grab car at a more affordable price than the traditional taxi. It would be costed from 300K to 400K VND if you directly move from the airport to the market. 

Destinations near Ben Thanh market

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral – a worth visiting destination in Ho Chi Minh City

After exploring this bustling market, you can spend time in nearby places. There are some recommended destinations when traveling to Saigon:

– Commercial Centers: Diamond Plaza, Vincom Center, etc.

– Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, Sai Gon Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, etc. 

How to shop at Ben Thanh market?

Don’t be afraid to bargain to the bottom

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
Try to bargain to get a reasonable price!

To have a bargain-priced item, you have to know the actual value of the good and a bit skill of tricky bargaining. 

Use Vietnamese as much as you can

Ben Thanh market - All you need to know
Vietnamese are very friendly!

There is no theory or rule here, but trying to use a bit of Vietnamese when traveling in the country will help you a lot. In some way, it shows your efforts and love for the country, which Vietnamese people appreciate. They will be more gladly and generous, so this really works, to be honest! 

A Vietnamese buddy with your shopping journey if possible

A Vietnamese knows what the good is and he/she somehow can help you reduce the first prices the sellers offer to you. So if you cannot find your Vietnamese buddy, remember to check out some booths for the same products before you want to buy one. 


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