All the bigger towns and communities in Vietnam will have some open-air market where the locals (and tourists) go to shop. Often these are different places. Markets like the Ben Than Market in Ho Chi Minh City, catered to tourists, are where travelers can get some of the best fresh produce and souvenirs while practicing their bargaining skills.
Hoi An’s famous night market has cultivated a reputation as one of the Vietnam’s finest. Situated in front of the meandering Thu Bon River, this 300-meter stretch of stalls, shops, and food outlets will keep you occupied for hours. The Hoi An Night Market can be found on Nguyễn Hoàng Street and is only a …
Day and Night Markets in Vietnam
Vietnam is home to both day and night markets, offering unique experiences depending on when you visit. Whether you’re looking to buy a few souvenirs, grab a meal, or simply wish to go for a stroll, a trip to any one of these markets should be on your itinerary.
Guide to Shopping in Markets in Vietnam
If there’s one thing that’s consistent throughout Vietnam, it’s that there are markets pretty much everywhere. Markets in Vietnam are not only places where people buy products and ingredients but also act as social hubs where locals talk, eat, and exchange goods with one another.
In general, shops sell anything from produce to household items, souvenirs, hand-crafted items, drinks, treats, and everything in between. While these exchanges have been around for hundreds of years, many of them are geared towards attracting tourists. And for those looking to sharpen their bargaining skills and witness the daily life and culture of an area, stopping by a market is ideal.
Depending on where you go in Vietnam and where you’re shopping will determine the market’s atmosphere and goods sold there. Even though the function of the markets is all very similar, there are some significant differences between the types that you might visit.
Unlike the day markets in Europe, where locals purchase their food for the entire week, Vietnamese go to the market once or twice a day to pick up ingredients for their next meal or two. Because of the frequent visits, the vendors at the marketplaces rely on providing fresh produce to their customers.
The environment of these daily markets is usually bustling, and while locals mostly frequent them, tourists who prefer to make their own meals or stop in for a snack will enjoy looking at what’s for sale.
The markets can be located in large, mall-like indoor buildings or spread throughout the street under multiple tents and tables. The Han Market in Da Nang is one of the oldest in the area, being around for over a century, and is an excellent example of an indoor shopping market.
Night markets can be the life of the party and are popular attractions for tourists. They can be loud and crowded with plenty to look at, making them the ideal place to go for a stroll, grab a bite to eat or listen to live music. Adventurous eaters will find exotic street foods at these vibrant bazaars, especially during festival times or holidays.
Other items customarily sold at night markets include desserts, gifts, souvenirs, clothes, and jewelry.
Bargaining at the night markets is standard practice, and tourists can cut down the prices quite a bit. However, many of the products within the markets are very similar, so if you can’t get the price you want, you’ll surely find another vendor that might offer a better deal.
One of the most famous night markets is the Hanoi Weekend Night Market, located right on the edge of the Old Quarter. Another is the Hoi An Night Market which is especially popular during the monthly lunar festival.
Fair & Festival Markets
Fair markets in Vietnam usually are more like special events, as they only happen on certain days of the month or year.
They can occur as a day, night, or floating market depending on the region and are lively places to shop, relax, and enjoy the area’s folklore. Locals can buy animals, plant seeds, and farming equipment at these kinds of markets, but tourists who happen to be in town for one will find the atmosphere lighthearted and interesting to explore.
The Bac Ha Sunday Market in Sapa is considered one of the most colorful fair markets of this kind and is only open on Sunday mornings. In Ha Giang, the northernmost region of Vietnam, the Khau Vai Love Market Festival happens just once a year during the end of the third lunar month.
If there’s one type of market that Vietnam is known for, it’s the floating markets commonly found in the Mekong Delta and mainly in the southern regions.
The interconnecting rivers and canals in this area are perfect places for locals in their boats to showcase and purchase fresh produce, rice, small animals, and seafood. In addition to vendors, you’ll also find floating restaurants, bars, and various shops, which can only be accessed by boat and are a unique and incredible way to experience a morning in Vietnam.
Private tours of the floating markets can be arranged through tourism companies, but they can also be explored on your own. The most popular markets of this kind are the Cai Rang Floating Market and the Phong Dien Floating Market.