You can’t visit Ho Chi Minh City without seeing this market. Day or night, it’s incredible (though I prefer it during the daytime). Imitation goods, shoes, food, tailored suits, backpacks…in other words, the usual assortment of Vietnamese market goods and the customary haggling. There are, in fact, two types of vendors: the nice ones and the rude ones. The second ones look offended that you’re even looking at their wares (it’s surreal). Your best bet in that case is to move on to another post where you’re sure to be greeted with a smile.
The Central Market in Hoi An was under renovation in May 2009. This forced some stalls to be moved to the "clothing market" and others were established in the street around the construction site. One of the most interesting parts of the Central Market is that it's next to the river so you can buy fish from local traders.
Something that never ceases to surprise me in any Asian country are are the markets where you can find any fruit, vegetable and animal that you want. In Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, you can find markets on almost every block, also selling clothing, imports (especially from China), imitations of famous brands, fish etc...it is a wonderful mixture of sights and smells. The fish is sold completely whole and some still alive. One of the most colourful fruit, although in my opinion with a rather bland taste, is the dragonfruit. I have to admit that it is only the colour that makes it interesting. The dried shrimps and prawns are the best known products, considering the number that are available.
Floating markets are a time-honored tradition in the Mekong Delta. For someone who is used to living on asphalt, it's hard to imagine doing everything on a small boat. During our trip through Vietnam and Cambodia, we stopped at the floating market of Cần Thơ (one of Vietnam’s greatest attractions, in my opinion) and watched how the locals haggled, bought and sold. We visited the earliest and largest of the floating markets: Cai Rang.
It’s about 7km. southwest of the city and we got there on a boat from the Victoria Hotel. You can see firsthand the freshness of the products and the quaintness of the sales methods. The stalls, or rather the boats, have the main product hanging on a pole, like a sign or a banner. Fresh fruit, vegetables, rice, seafood…each boat has a unique color and aroma. You can’t miss these amazing floating markets in the Mekong Delta.
Dong Xuan Market is in the northern part of downtown Hanoi. It is a pretty big market. It has two, 3-storey buildings which are connected on the second floor. In the market, you can find clothing, accessories, small appliances, electronics, decorative items, cereals, spices, etc. Fish is located at the eastern entrance. To find really good meat, you must go to the streets alongside the market. One of the most interesting things about this market is watching as the packages are loaded onto motorcycles for delivery, capable of carrying virtually anything from Plasma TVs to pigs and ducks!
Hue is one of Vietnam's most spectacular cities, mainly due to its monuments and pagodas heritage of its imperial past. It's also known for being one of the gastronomy capitals of Asia. One of the places where you can feel the pulse of the city is the bustling Dong Ba market, north of Perfume River, in the extreme southeast of the Imperial Citadel. What I liked about this market is that it expresses itself and you can find almost anything here. We had some free time to look round it and had an absolute blast. Dong Ba Market sellers are experts in the art of bargaining and very persistent. In fact, a market seller chased us through the market until we went to his textile shop. We eventually bought some spices, Vietnamese coffee and tea and a few items of clothing. It was quite an adventure.
The Cho Dan Sinh market is definitely worth a visit. Not a market where you can get clothes or food, this market basically offers two things: tools (locks, screwdrivers, etc), and military items (helmets, uniforms, boots).
There are many food stalls in the Central Market in Hoi An. Many offer a kind of buffet service. You pay a fixed price and you fill the dish with what you want. As expected, it's not luxurious or fancy food at these stalls, but you can always buy a bottle of water to drink or pour on your hands after eating to wash them. If you wander about, you can converse with the locals, or hear singing from the market crowd.
North of Vietnam on the Chinese border, you can take the train from Hanoi to Lao to go to the markets on Sunday morning. In particular, the Bac Ha market, where you can explore and see the Hmong people. The color of the traditional dress they wear are the colors of flowers. It's a way to experience an immersion in tradition.
The buying and selling of fish at the Hoi An Market is quite a spectacle. They loaded boats and fish boats throughout the morning, so no need to go first thing in the morning to enjoy the frenetic activity that goes on there. People come up to boats to bid on the baskets of fish as you are going to buy. There are people selling ice and if you walk to the boats there are stalls that sell smaller quantities for individuals or small restaurants. There are old women from nearby villages who offer to take pictures if you pay them. Their faces are furrowed by wrinkles and they have stained teeth by the continuous consumption of betel drupes.
What is called the Clothing Market in Hoi An houses, in reality, all sorts of products, from toiletries to fish, fruit or clothes. Like most markets in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia, the Central Market of Hoi An has some of its stalls in the building, which is old and not very big, and other stalls are on the street, covered by tarpaulins for shelter from the sun and the rain.
Also called the Chinese market of Ho Chi Minh City Cholon. This wholesale market includes everything imaginable to find in stores and other markets. These range from consumer goods, wholesale egg, mushrooms, tea, spices, etc. It's a show of vendors and lost in the middle of their supplies. An intense life in the middle of a neighborhood where there is an enormous circulation, so that across the street is a miracle! A scene not to be missed.