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Talking about experiencing local culture in Vietnam, it is impossible not to mention Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi. As the biggest market in the capital of Vietnam, it is a symbol, a traditional feature, and a pride of all Hanoians, and is also a must-visit destination for all tourists. Read on for our local and detailed guide to this special market.
Address: Dong Xuan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Location on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/WyHPYXcW7jKKRC6dA
Opening hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
How the market looks from above
Dong Xuan market in Hanoi is one of the biggest wholesale markets in the Northern of Vietnam. The market is more than 100 years old and has always been a familiar place for traders from all over the country. Bearing such a bustling atmosphere with a variety of products being sold, tourists can expect to experience a distinct lifestyle which is imbued with Hanoi’s culture and history.
The market was founded in 1889 by the French under the Nguyen Dynasty. Since its construction, Dong Xuan market in Hanoi has gone through a lot of historical events; the most significant of which is the massive fire occurred in 1994, which almost obliterated the market and caused about a 4.5 million USD loss for the Government. Then, it has been rebuilt in its original form and maintained to be Hanoi’ busiest commercial location until now.
Dong Xuan market in Hanoi consists of 3 storeys covering an area of approximately 9,600 square meters. It has 3 main entrance doors in the front, 2 other doors on both sides and 2 staircases leading to the upper levels. Inside the market, it is not hard to see the dorm architectural style with a water fountain right in the center of the ground floor. There are two elevators on the left when entering the market from the main entrance and five other staircases.
The spacious area inside Dong Xuan market in Hanoi
Dong Xuan market is located on Dong Xuan Street, right in Hanoi Old Quarter and is just about 600 kilometers away from Hoan Kiem Lake. Therefore, there is a likelihood that tourists have several choices of transportation to get there.
There is a bus stop in front of the main entrance of the market. You can check the list in the picture below to find the right bus to get to the market. This can be the most economical and convenient means of transportation, but remember to prepare changes for bus tickets and don't bring too many belongings.
There are numerous buses that can take tourists to Dong Xuan market
Grabbing a taxi on the road is fine, but if possible, try to use mobile apps such as Grab or Goviet (a Vietnamese app to call motorbikes) to avoid dangerous scams and get cheaper deals.
Read more Useful Mobile Apps for Vietnam Travel.
Since the market is right in Hanoi Old Quarter, it would be best if tourists can experience this local market along with other destinations nearby and save transportation money.
The market opens from 8 AM to 6 PM daily and will mostly be crowded all day. However, due to the intense heat of the summer, coming in the afternoon or early morning might be better. On the weekends, from Friday to Sunday, there is also a Dong Xuan night market being held right on the same street, but instead of an indoor market, it is an air-opened walking market.
Opening hours for the night market: 7 PM – 12:30 AM (every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).
Find out more about Top 10 Night Markets in Vietnam.
Dong Xuan market in Hanoi is known as the most crowded market with numerous kinds of goods, from dried food such as sweets, wine, … to fresh food, household items, and signature souvenirs in Hanoi. The market is very diverse and suitable for any interest. Moreover, its structure is designed to create the most accessible routes for everyone.
The first floor has mainly dried food, souvenirs, household appliances, …
On the second floor are cloth and fabrics for apparel
Clothes for children, men, and middle-aged women are sold on the third floor
Besides purchasing souvenirs and exploring the local-market culture, tourists can taste some awesome food in Dong Xuan alley, which is located in the South of the market.
This alley is very small with a lot of food vendors densely situated
“Pho tiu” is a must-try food when coming to this market and it only costs VND 30,000 for a bowl full of noodles
There are several traditional sweet soups vendors in this valley and the price is often very affordable, just about VND 20,000
A bowl of traditional Vietnamese sweet soups is usually colorful and very suitable for a hot summer day
Fried cakes is a familiar street food with most Hanoians
There are other great Hanoi’s specialties that tourists can try in this valley such as dried beef salad, vermicelli and noodles soup, shrimp cakes and so on.
- The market is mostly very crowded, and the security is quite complicated, so keep an eye on all the belongings and do not bring too much money or personal documents to avoid pickpockets.
- The shop owners inside the market can be quite aggressive and tend to be quite annoyed when tourists look at the goods or ask for prices and bargain but end up not buying. It is advisable to visit with a group of friends or a local tour guide to avoid awkward moments.
- Tourists should also consider the most suitable ways to get to the market. Private vehicles are not recommended since it is hard to find somewhere to park and the parking fee can be unreasonably high; for example, the parking fee for motorbikes is usually VND 10,000 a time.
- If you have plans to shop in Dong Xuan market in Hanoi, do a little bit of research and ask for information from the locals if possible to assure there will be no unfairness of prices.
Despite the fact that it has existed for more than 100 years, the Dong Xuan market in Hanoi is still a vivid witness of Hanoi’s history. The bustling trading activities here create such a cultural ambiance and lifestyle in the heart of Hanoi.
Discover more on Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City.
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© Written by Giang Le for itourvn.com
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It may be better to shop at more local places, but the food here is good to try