Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) has a typical lifestyle with lots of local markets in every district where you can enjoy and feel in the most authentic way the atmosphere of bustling but colorful Saigonese daily life and businesses. And one of the best recommendations for anyone who wants to observe how the Vietnamese run their business every day to make a living is to visit Ba Chieu Market.
Located at Bui Huu Nghia Street, Ward 1, Binh Thanh District, Ba Chieu Market is in the center of this district. From both Tan Son Nhat international airport and the center of District 1, you will spend an equal duration to arrive at Ba Chieu Market, around half an hour. You can catch a taxi with an approximate price from VND 100,000 to VND 120,000. The fare can be lower (about VND 85,000 to VND 100,000) if you book a four-seat car with the on-demand taxis.
Read more on taxi fare and traveling by taxi in Ho Chi Minh City.
The inside of Ba Chieu Market is usually opened from 8 AM to 5 PM, and the outside - also called the night market - is operated by merchants from late afternoon until early dawn. That means Ba Chieu Market is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for those who want to do some shopping the locals' way and at reasonable prices.
There is no surprise to claim that Ba Chieu Market is worth your visit because of its long establishment. Built in 1942 in Binh Thanh District, Ba Chieu Market has remained the immense charm of old Saigon despite the city's rapid urbanization and development. There are so many different theories about Ba Chieu Market’s name that have not been confirmed or agreed upon by all; even people who have been living in Saigon for years and from the time are not sure.
Most people believe that “Chieu” was the name of one of the five wives of Nguyen Ngoc Thang, also known as Lanh Binh Thang. Lanh Binh Thang was a general under Emperor Tu Duc in the 19th century that rose up against French colonialism in the South of Vietnam. People also believe that he was the one that built Ong Lanh Bridge which connects District 1 and District 4 of Saigon to facilitate trading in the city.
Rumor has it that he was married to five women and in order to occupy their time, he built five markets and had his wives in charge of each of them. People now call these five markets by the names of these women: Ba Diem (Hoc Mon District), Ba Hat (District 10), Ba Hom (Binh Tan District), Ba Queo (Tan Binh District), and Ba Chieu (Binh Thanh District).
Another hypothesis was proposed by Vuong Hong Sen - a researcher at the Museum of Vietnam History in Ho Chi Minh City. He had a different explanation for these names, stating that these five markets were named after the women who had established and managed the market or were just simply the first merchant in the market. Although the name of Ba Chieu Market caused some debate, people still admire the old but gold architecture of this landmark.
Ba Chieu Market is not as big as Ben Thanh Market and not always so crowded with tourists so you can have leisure time to find things you want to buy. Ba Chieu Market is separated into 2 particular parts: dry market and wet market.
The dry market inside the building of Ba Chieu Market faces Phan Dang Luu Street and is operated by several merchants who sell mainly clothing, jewelry, shoes, bed sheets, bags or cosmetics. Meanwhile, at the back of the Ba Chieu dry market is full of grocery shops and fresh produce.
If you want to experience the authentic lifestyle of residents, you can have a tour around the wet market where you can find fresh foods such as seafood, pork, chicken, vegetables, and tofu. However, keep in mind that there are plenty of people all the time, especially in this part of the market, so be careful and mindful of your belongings to avoid pickpockets.
The vendors on two sides of Ba Chieu Market is where you can find both fresh and dried fruit, as well as various kinds of rice, the staple food of Vietnamese. After a long day exploring, you can make a quick stop at the food area on the right side of the Ba Chieu dry market to enjoy local foods with local people.
Remember to always ask for the price and bargain before buying, but with food, you don't have to do that because most of the dishes here are very cheap. Besides, some of the things here may be cheaper than that of Ben Thanh Market because the market is quite far from the city center and touristy area.
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Local markets still play an inseparable part in the Vietnamese life, and Ba Chieu Market is not an exception. You can find all kinds of things and Vietnamese foods in the market and buy them at a reasonable price. But that is not all why you should visit this market; Ba Chieu Market describes perfectly the genuine image of locals in how they operate their business and make their living. Spending time to explore every small corner of this market may be the best way for you to gain these valuable experiences.
Join us on motorbike adventures in Ho Chi Minh City and discover many more attractions as well as local markets like this. You may also want to look at other helpful information in our Vietnam travel guide.
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it is surprisingly near D1 for a local place to shop. But the atmosphere is way too hectic, maybe it's only nice for a stroll around to have a feel of the local culture