Ben Thanh Market, HCMC

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ben Thanh market has long been one of Saigon's most famous landmark. The market has been in existence since the French occupation. The original market was located on the shores of Ben Nghe river by old fort Gia Dinh. Its proximity to the fort and the river where merchants and soldiers would land was reason for its name (Ben meaning pier or port and Thanh meaning fort). In 1859, when the French invaded Saigon and overtook fort Gia Dinh, Ben Thanh Market was destroyed. It was rebuilt shortly thereafter and remained standing until it was moved to its present location in 1899.

Built on a landfill of what was once a swamp named Bo Ret (Marais Boresse), the new Ben Thanh Market is located in the center of the city. Under the French government, the area around Ben Thanh Market was called Cu Nhac circle (Rond point Cuniac), named after Mr. Cuniac, the person who proposed filling the swamp to create this area. The area was later renamed Cong truong Dien Hong.

Everyone who has been to Saigon would recommend the Ben Tanh Market. All prices of goods are up for haggling. We found some nice lacquer pictures, hand-embroidered pictures and handbags, souvenir t-shirts, Vinamit dried fruits, blue mountain coffee and jasmine flower tea after 3 hours of shopping! The place is terribly humid and quite a maze. Shoppers must be prepared with lots of drinking water, patience and stamina!

Below are some random pictures that I took while I was there.

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