Ben Thanh Market



Ben Thanh Market

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One of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, this huge shopping center was built in 1914 by the French, who named it Les Halles Centrales or Central Market Halls. Its most famous feature is the massive clock tower that dominates the neighborhood.

Home to several hundred shopkeepers, the market offers an amazingly extensive and varied selection of merchandise, ranging from food and leather goods to household items and clothing, as well as hardware and livestock. The atmosphere here is one of high energy and tremendous bustle (visitors should beware of pickpockets) as products arrive from around the country and, throughout the day, merchants sing out their wares, customers haggle, and tourists wander in search of great deals. It is common practice to bargain hard for everything; start at around a third of the asking price.

On entering through the main portal on Le Loi Boulevard, general merchandise is on the left. To the right is clothing and textiles. Moving farther in, to the right are dry goods, such as tea, coffee, and spices, as well as packaged foods. Halfway in, fresh foods are on the right, and food stalls, where meals are available, to the left. The eateries here are famous for both quality and price. Since the signage is in English as well as Vietnamese, patrons can point to the posted menu to order.

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