No trip to Vietnam would be complete unless you’ve visited one of the local markets. Although they sell just about everything you could think of, shopping is only a small part of the experience. Whether it’s chatting to the vendors or people watching over a bowl of Pho, Vietnam’s markets offer you a unique insight into the lives and culture of the locals. So to help you make the most of your experience, our very own Rachna Pandit has put together a go-to guide to the best markets in Vietnam.
Hoi An Night Market
Where: Nguyen Hoang Street
Opening times: Daily from 5pm to 11pm
Featuring over 50 local vendors, Hoi An Night Market is a must-visit when staying in this enchanting port town. Hoi An is famous for its hand-crafted lanterns and it’s here that you’ll get the chance to buy one for yourself. The market’s other offerings include jewellery, trinkets and souvenirs, making it a popular experience for tourists.
The market also has plenty of food vendors and stalls, with local delicacies such as banana pancakes, rice paper pizza and a variety of noodle-based dishes. However, if you’re craving some home favourites, Vy’s Kitchen & Deli serves both Vietnamese and Western cuisine opposite Hoi An’s iconic Japanese Bridge.
Most hotels are located with walking distance of Hoi An Night Market. So you can easily stroll back to your accomodation once you’ve finished browsing the stalls.
The colourful lanterns on display are unique to Hoi An’s markets. Time your visit as soon as the sun goes down to see them beautifully lit up.
Hanoi Weekend Night Market
Where: Hanoi Old Quarter
Opening Times: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7pm onwards
Running from Hang Dao Street to the edge of Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi, this bustling market features roadside stalls illuminated by pretty decorative lights. Their main offering is affordable clothing, with t-shirts, summer dresses, harem pants and other fashion items available. The perfect place for purchasing lightweight clothing to wear throughout the rest of your trip in Vietnam.
There are also plenty of streetside eateries selling local dishes such as Bhan Mi and Bun Ca. However, if you’re after a restaurant, head to Essence Restaurant, which offers fantastic local cuisine and delicious vegetarian options. Minh Chay Vegan Restaurant is also worth checking out as it serves amazing Pho.
With plenty of hotels and backpackers in the surrounding area, Hanoi Weekend Night Market draws plenty of tourists as well as locals to its stalls. However, if you’re not staying in the area, a taxi is by far the way to get there with cheap prices and local drivers that know where to go.
Bargaining is a way of life in Vietnam, so be sure to haggle as many vendors will drop prices by almost half. A good starting offer is around 75% off the opening price, then you can negotiate from there.
Cai Rang Floating Market
Where: Can Tho
Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday from 6am to midday
Found 6 kilometres from Can Tho, Cai Rang Floating Market is the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta. Locals come to trade fresh wholesale produce and fish from their boats, with tourists visiting to spectate and experience this unique event. Each boat normally sells one type of product, with samples attached to a long pole – so you can easily identify what they’re offering.
If you’re feeling peckish, boats sell freshly chopped fruit such as pineapple, making for a great snack. Locals tend to have Pho for breakfast in Vietnam, so you can be sure to find a few boats selling this delicious dish too. Several also sell coffee for as cheap as $1, which is often much-needed as tours to the market tend to leave early.
The best way to reach this floating affair is by boat. From the market in Can Tho, this normally takes around 45 minutes and costs between $10 to $15. Once there, a bridge serves as an excellent vantage point to take photos.
It’s worth an early start to beat both the heat and tourist crowds. Whilst the market is open until midday, it’s best to visit around 6am to 7am.
Fancy experiencing these markets for yourself? Take a look at our group tours to Vietnam.