Tuesday, May 30, 2017

View from our Room: Ben Thanh Night Market in HCMC

In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, we booked our hotel in District 1 right beside the Ben Thanh market. We wanted to be centrally located to the important attractions and in an area that is oozing with activity day and night.

Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

I took this picture from our room at Avanti Hotel, zoomed in.

By day, the Ben Thanh area is busy with many local shoppers, street vendors roaming around and curious tourists eager to taste a bit the local Vietnamese market life. But by night when the market closes down, the adjacent market streets come to life!

What is sweeter for us is that from our hotel room, which has a floor to ceiling one-way tinted glass wall, we were indulged with a fantastic view of the goings-on of the night market below. This was our view every single evening. There is a feeling of being one with the market for sure. You know, that feeling that despite we were not actually down there below, we felt like we were.

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I managed to make a video of the Ben Thanh night market one evening from our hotel room window. It was a bit late so the crowd has died down already but the vehicular traffic from the adjacent streets was still going strong as ever, drowning us with an explosion of toots and beeps from passing cars and scooters. That’s Vietnam for you, chaotic, fearless and horribly noisy, which only locals seem to understand the not-so-easy to decipher underlying structure of order.

As a foreigner, one would need some time to unravel whatever structure of order there is.

Because the night market is the view from our hotel room window, my mum somehow lost her interest in shopping at the night market. I guess from our room she can mentally shop, well let us just say, literally window shop from our hotel room window, haha.

I personally do not think the night market is that special except that it is mixed with many interesting street food vendors. The concept is very similar to other night markets in Asia, such as Bangkok and Hong Kong, but it’s a good place to walk around, check out locally made souvenirs and perhaps eat at one of the makeshift roadside cafeterias.

Ah, it was very tempting for us to sit down and try their Bun Mam, Pho Bo, Goi Cuon or Bun Bo Hue. But helaas, we have already eaten. This is always my problem when travelling in Asia. There’s so much delicious food out there to try but so little stomach to deposit them all in! Plus I need to watch my growing waistline because I am almost 50. *cringe*

My sister and I, however, managed to scour, albeit quickly, the night market on our third evening in the city. We were planning to buy some local coffee and were noting down their prices for comparison as we were going to the supermarket the next day. We later found out that the vendors at the Ben Thanh night market were selling the ready-to-drink Vietnamese coffee packs way too high. Twice the price, some even more, from the supermarket prices! No thank you.

Tip: There are many travel agencies (for day trips and tours) in Ben Thanh area that are open until late in the evening. Perhaps cheaper than booking online or at your hotel.


Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Vietnamese coffee is very distinct in flavour. I prefer it served chilled with lots of ice. Here at the market, many vendors sell the packed ready-to-drink coffee and the per gramme coffee beans... beware, they are priced sky high!

Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The night market streets are both accessible to pedestrian and scooters.

Street Food Vendors Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Street Food Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

You want a Bun Bo Hue or Gu Cuon? What about a Bun Mam? Maybe a Pho Bo...?

Street Vendor Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Street Food Scene Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The street food scene at Ben Thanh night market. It is a great place to experience the local cuisine at very cheap prices.

Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The fruit and dry goods market stalls outside Ben Thanh market keep their stores also open until late in the evening.

From our hotel (Avanti) just beside Ben Thanh
Avanti Hotel V Cafe just beside Ben Thanh

The V Cafe of our hotel, Avanti Hotel places a few tables outside. Great area to sit down for a cold Vietnamese coffee and watch the activity of the night market across.

Dangerously multitasking in Vietnam

As the night market vendors were slowly closing down for the night, we saw this guy (dangerously) multi-tasking. He dragged a cart with his left hand and another one with his right foot whilst riding a scooter! Only in Vietnam, lol.

Travel Period: November 2016
Destination: Ho Chi Minh City (Southeast), Vietnam

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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