We are in Ho Chi Minh City, a bustling city that (almost) never sleeps! Unlike Hanoi, which is much quieter at night, HCMC is alive and thriving with activity after the sun sets with clubs, pubs, massage parlours and night markets operating until the wee hours of the morning. One such place is Ben Thanh Night Market located in District 1.
Very similar to Malaysia’s pasar malam, the market offers everything from cheap clothing to fake designer goods/perfume, street food, handbags, souvenirs and other touristy items. Bargaining is a common practice. Me, being absolutely terrible at it, let my travelmates have a go at it lol.
Colourful steamed glutinous rice snacks. Most of the stalls are lit up by makeshift generators with noisy hums and smelly fumes. A couple of bikes weaved up and down between the throng of tourists. I was actually quite surprised to see a lot of Malays from Malaysia/Brunei here. The shops even sold tudung (head coverings) and jubah (robes) for cheap prices, while some eateries had ‘halal’ signs on them.
We stopped by one of the shops for souvenirs to bring home. The instant 3-in-1 coffee mix costs only VND100,000 (about RM30) for three packs. Vietnam is also famous for it’s jackfruit chips, which were sweet and crunchy. We bought bagfulls of these as well. (VND100k for 1kg). They also had grind coffee, but I figured it would be harder to pack into my luggage so no go.
The sellers here are multilingual,speaking a combination of both English and Mandarin Chinese. One guy even spoke fluent Malay to us when he found out we were from Malaysia.
DVD seller peddling his wares on a bike. He had a speaker on and was playing 90s love ballads, which could be heard a good way down the street.
Another peddler selling roast peanuts cooked over a wooden fire.
Paper cut out souvenirs. They seemed to feature random stuff from all over the world…. spot Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers in there?
Local hawkers in front of a selection of fresh seafood items which will be cooked on the spot.
JQ and I tried the street iced-coffee prepared by a very good looking Viet guy. The coffee was strong flavoured but very sweet and sugary.
Ben Thanh Market is a fun place to visit if you’re into shopping and stuff. It also operates as a wet market of sorts in the day. We went there twice since our hotel is just a 10mins walk away. Just remember to be mindful of your belongings when you’re here, and always bargain for the best price. Happy shopping!