Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is among the largest and most historic markets in the country, and one of the oldest surviving structures in Ho Chi Minh City. People have been trading on its grounds since the 17th century.Under French colonial rule, the market building was first constructed and opened under the name Les Halles Centrales. Following a fire in the early-20th century, it was renamed Ben Thanh, which roughly translates to “Wharf Citadel”. Its famous southern entrance is watched over by a soaring white clock tower that has remained unchanged for over a century. For a city that saw the ravages of colonial rule and a decade-long war, there aren’t many better places to get a glimpse of the old Saigon.Inside, its vaulted halls are home to hundreds upon hundreds of stalls, with vendors selling everything from school uniforms and umbrellas to green tea and engine oil. Ben Thanh Market covers an impressive 13,000 square meters (139,931 square feet) in the heart of District 1.The great production that is a day at the market begins at around 4am when the first traders start to arrive. If you’re at the southern gate around that time, you can see traders praying at a small temple for prosperity and success in the day’s dealings.If you get to the market later in the day, from 6pm onwards, the main halls shut down, and three thriving night markets open up at the building’s northern, eastern and western gates.