An Englishman in Vietnam: Shopping

Now, it is safe to say that I spent a lot of my time (and my money) shopping in Vietnam. I didn’t plan this at all. Sure, I wanted to get a few things (like a new suit made and some shorts) but before I knew it, Marta and I were spending every night around the market. This is because, in Ho Chi Minh City, the place to be at night is the market. Even though the majority of the inside market closes down around 6:30pm, the streets outside bustle with life.

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Fruit For Sale, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015

The market that we went to first, and spent most of our time around, was the Chợ Bến Thành market, in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. The market itself is one of the oldest structures in Ho Chi Minh City and has been open since at least the 19th century. Inside,the market itself is split into sections – food, clothing and that sort of thing. It makes navigation around the market both simple and confusing (especially with all the narrow isles). I would say try to avoid the market in the early afternoon, as it will be packed with tour groups. Marta and I were there on several days about this time, and it gets hard to move at all.

People enjoying street food, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015
People enjoying street food, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015

As I said above, even when the central market had closed there was still an awful lot to do in the area. There was one street consisting almost entirely of shoe stores. Street traders appeared from no where and the warm nights were filled with their voices as they offered goods ranging from fruit to clothing to trinkets. The smells of delicious street food drifted up and down the street, tempting many a local and tourist alike to take a seat and partake in the ecstasy that was the freshly made food.

Marta shopping, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015
Marta shopping, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2015

I would say this is a must visit for anyone interested in seeing Vietnamese culture, eating Vietnamese food or going shopping.

There was also a Russian Market that we visited. I wish I could tell you more about it but it was closed due to the Lunar New Year. It did not look as big or as interesting as Chợ Bến Thành though.

Have a good day, friends.


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