Located in at the intersection of Le Loi Avenue, Ham Nghi Avenue, Tran Hung Dao Avenue and Le Lai Street, 700m south-west of the Rex Hotel in district 1, the heart of Ho Chi Minh city
, the bustling square- shaped Ben Thanh market
is not only a huge covered market in the city where consumers can conveniently find all sorts of producs but also one of the most attractive tourist sites for both domestic and foreign visitors.
The name Ben Thanh comes from its first position near the wharf (Ben) of Gia Dinh. Citedal (Thanh). From a wet market created by street vendors by the early 17th century, Ben Thanh has experienced many ups and downs throughout its history, and is now the oldest surviving market and one of symbols of Ho Chi Minh city. The market was formally established by the French colonial powers after taking over the Gia Định citadel in 1859. This market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market, which was called Les Halles Centrales. In 1912 the market was moved to a new building and renamed the new Ben Thanh Market to distinguish over its predecessor.
Ben Thanh Market has the best location of all the markets in Saigon. Covering an area of over 13,000 sq m, the market is separated from the adjacent blocks by four streets. Its north side borders Le Thanh Ton Street, the east side Phan Boi Chau and the west side Phan Chu Trinh. To the south, the market faces Quach Thi Trang Square.
Inside Ben Thanh you can find nearly anything your heart desires such as local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art, other souvenirs and food.
Officially starting at 19:00, Ben Thanh night market also sells some of the same goods you’ll find inside during the day, but its main attraction is food and beer.
There are at least 20 street-side eateries around the market building, with hundreds of diners gathering to feast on a wide range of the best dishes from all over Vietnam. Tourists may spot 'Bún chả' or 'Phở', delicious noodle dishes from Hanoi, 'Banh Nam', little steamed cakes in banana leaf from Hue, or Bánh xèo, crispy rice pancakes from the Mekong Delta, as well as plenty of other delicacies. You can order delicious fresh grilled seafood, or tasty barbequed pork - with such great choices, you can't go wrong!
Being a bustling market in the daytime and a social center after sunset, Ben Thanh Market is absolutely a must-see attraction of the most dynamic city of Vietnam.