BEN THANH MARKET – A SYMBOL OF HO CHI MINH CITY
If Dong Xuan Market is a cultural feature of Hanoi, Ben Thanh Market is one of the special symbols of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) that everyone will remember when coming here. It will be a great regret if you miss this tourist attraction when you’re in Saigon.
Ben Thanh Market is located in Cua Nam – the intersection of Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chu Trinh, Le Thanh Ton streets, and Quach Thi Trang construction site, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. It is the oldest market around here. The most prominent symbol of the market is the clock image at the south door t like Big Ben clock in London.
The French formed the market when they arrived in Vietnam. At that time, the original market was located along the Ben Nghe River, at a station near Gia Dinh citadel. Therefore, the original name – Ben Thanh means a meeting place for small businesses near the Saigon River. By 1911, the French colonial government decided to move the market to its present location. They started the Ben Thanh Market construction from 1912 until the end of March 1914, then completed and operating continuously until now.
How to get to Ben Thanh Market
Because the market is right in the center of District 1, the path is easy! To get to the market in the fastest way, you should use a motorbike or taxi. However, buses are more economical. Because Ben Thanh Market and the central bus stop are quite close to each other, most trips take you to the market. You can choose one of the bus routes 02, 04, 18, 28, 36, 45, 52, 65, 93, 152, etc.
The unique architecture of Ben Thanh Market
At first, this was just a primitive market with materials such as bricks, wooden thatched roofs. But, since its inception, the market has been operating for more than 100 years. Although in 1985, Ben Thanh Saigon Market was greatly renovated and remodeled the old architectural features remain. It is the tower with 4 clocks facing 4 directions above the main gate while the other 3 sides have a simpler architecture.
Another feature of the architecture of Ben Thanh market is that on the gates, there are ceramic reliefs carved by Bien Hoa pottery artists in 1952, depicting cows, geese, bananas, etc. Those are commodity products of the South.
With an area of over 13,000m2, the market sells mainly clothing items, woven fabrics, shoes, handicrafts, fresh food, fruits, and fresh flowers. Besides, there are numerous restaurants and eating stalls with typical dishes of the Southern region.
The market is open from 4 am in the North area with high-class fruit stalls and high-quality fresh food products for families, restaurants in the city. Around 8-9 am the other stalls at the three main gates: East, West, South simultaneously open to welcome guests.
If you are a Saigon tourist who wants to shop and discover the beauty of this modern city, you cannot miss Ben Thanh Market. Here you will admire the ancient architecture of the market, explore the bustling life of the people. Especially, you will also find many satisfied items as souvenirs or gifts for relatives and friends.