The best thing to buy at Cho Ben Thanh, the famous street market in Saigon
Ben Thanh Market (or <em>Cho Ben Thanh</em> in Vietnamese) is perhaps the most famous market in Ho Chi Minh City. Its central location in District 1 makes it accessible to many of the hotels and other tourist destinations. During the day, vendors sell souvenir t-shirts, cell phone cases, kitchenware, fabric, fruits, sugar cane juice, durian smoothies, and (my favorite) harem pants. These pants are the best thing ever to lounge in. The fabric is lightweight and thin, and the waistband is elastic. I prefer the hems that are also elastic so I can wear them long or pulled up to my knees, depending on how hot I’m feeling. They often come in elephant patterns and various colors, and they make for great gifts to bring back for friends. I personally have several of them in my wardrobe for loungewear. Protip: You can usually haggle the price down to 5 for $500.000 VND ($22 USD).
Ben Thanh is where to go if it’s your first or second time to Saigon, but it gets stuffy inside, and the crowded, narrow aisles combined with the vendors calling and sometimes pulling your arms to come back can get uncomfortable. Regardless, it’s where I go to get my awesome harem pants.
At night, the market changes it up a bit:the day vendors close up shop, and the night market begins. The night market still sells many of your trinkets and souvenirs, and there are food stalls that serve up bowls of noodle soup on tiny plastic tables.
I enjoy strolling through a city’s street market to learn what the locals <em>believe</em> the tourists want. Oftentimes, they’re spot-on—after all, these vendors probably wouldn’t still be selling their knickknacks if they weren’t making money.
Out of all that exist in the world, which street market is your favorite?
Ben Thanh Market
Intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao Aves. & Le Lai St.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 083 521-0004