Shopping Tour (Self Guided), Saigon/HoChiMinh City

Among other things, Ho Chi Minh City is known as a great shopping destination. Attesting to this are the plethora of street markets scattered across the entire city, with vendors selling all sorts of fresh fruit, local coffee beans and other produce, street food, and souvenirs at very competitive prices. There are also designated markets specialized in niche items, such as war memorabilia, silks, fabrics, and artifacts.

Dong Khoi Street – dubbed the Fifth Avenue of Saigon – is where you find high-end boutiques and shopping plazas. Ben Thanh Market is the liveliest marketplace in the city that should be on every visitor's itinerary. And if you are looking for Vietnam War memorabilia, head to the Dan Sinh Market. Ho Chi Minh City has something for every visiting shopper. Just follow our self-guided walking tour of the best shopping venues in Ho Chi Minh City and see for yourself!
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Shopping Tour Map

Guide Name: Shopping Tour
Guide Location: Vietnam » Saigon/HoChiMinh City (See other walking tours in Saigon/HoChiMinh City)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 4
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Dong Khoi Street
  • Ben Thanh Market
  • Dan Sinh Market
  • Phạm Ngũ Lão Street (Backpacker Street)
1
Dong Khoi Street

1) Dong Khoi Street (must see)

Dong Khoi Street is one of the busiest roads in Ho Chi Minh City. It was immortalized in the novel 'The Quiet American' by the British author, Graham Greene, which later became a popular Hollywood movie.

The Dong Khoi Street extends between the Nguen Du Street and Ton Duc Thang Street. It was called the Rue Catinat under the French Rule and is flanked by many elegant French colonial style buildings. The name was changed to Freedom Street or Tu Do Street during the short-lived rule of the South Vietnam government. After the reunification of Vietnam in 1975, the street got its present name Dong Khoi, which means Total Revolution Street.

The most important landmark buildings of Ho Chi Minh City are found in Dong Khoi Street. Famous restaurants, like the Nam Kha Restaurant, and the biggest hotels, like the colonial Caravelle Hotel, the Continental Hotel, and the Majestic Hotel are located here. High-end shopping plazas and small local shops coexist side by side along the street and one can purchase some of the finest silk and silk garments and embroidered textiles from one of the many quaint local stores. Among the other landmark buildings in the street are the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, the Saigon Opera House, and the Central Post Office.

Why You Should Visit:
Very clean – a great street to walk down and stretch your legs.
You'll find a lot going on here and there are several places to enjoy a local meal.

Tip:
It would be a good idea to bring an umbrella with you as the weather in the city is quite unpredictable at times.
Also, try a small souvenir shop called 'Vietnamese Handmade' near the Cathedral that sells some unique gifts not found elsewhere.
2
Ben Thanh Market

2) Ben Thanh Market (must see)

The Ben Thanh Market is the most vibrant among marketplaces in Ho Chi Minh City. The shops sell a range of merchandise including clothing, leather goods, household items, and livestock.

This market is one of the oldest surviving structures in the city. It was first an informal market, created by a gathering of traders near the Saigon River. A formal market, built by the French in 1870, was burned by a fire, and the current structure was built in 1912 as the Central Market Hall. The present market's appearance is the result of a renovation in 1985.

The Ben Thanh Market consists of a neatly arranged network of aisles. The shops are grouped together according to the products they sell. The front part consists of shops selling clothing, leather, and textiles. The food section offers different types of pickled vegetables, duck, crab, rice, rice noodles, tea, coffee and spices. Local cafes and eateries are located at the end of the market where one can sample local cuisine, Vietnamese coffee and a well known Vietnamese dessert called Che. It is also a popular tourist destination because some shops sell souvenirs at lower prices than in other parts of the city.

Why You Should Visit:
Price and quality of goods here are good, plus an excellent place to enjoy local food.

Tip:
Haggling is required to get the best deal and to avoid rip-offs. The regular market is closed around 6 or 7pm, after which the night-time market will be operated outside until midnight.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7:30am-7pm
3
Dan Sinh Market

3) Dan Sinh Market

The Dan Sinh Market in Ho Chi Minh City was once entirely dedicated to selling war relics and army related objects, from uniforms and objects carried by soldiers in their backpacks to shell casings and defused land mines. However, today it is mostly a hardware and souvenirs market, most of the things sold are modern-day reproductions, notably the Zippo lighters, don't even expect to find an authentic one. You can still find an authentic item or two, but you would have to dig very deep and really know how to spot the real deal.

The main stalls in Dan Sinh Market sell genuine and/or fake objects relating to the Vietnam War. One can find Zippo lighters, dog tags, shell casings, duffel bags, genuine and fake US army helmets, field stretchers and gas masks. One can also find Soviet army relics including Soviet flight suits and helmets which have become popular after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
Besides military objects, the market also features a series of hardware shops that sell industrial and motor vehicles tools, nuts and bolts of all sizes, welding equipment, lights and forklifts. A few shops sell ladies clothing and kitchen utensils.

Open every day from 7:00 to 18:00
4
Phạm Ngũ Lão Street (Backpacker Street)

4) Phạm Ngũ Lão Street (Backpacker Street)

Phạm Ngũ Lão Street is known as Backpacker Street because of the many low-rate guest houses, hostels, and small hotels that line it. It is named for Phạm Ngũ Lão, a national hero that lived from 1255 to 1320.

Phạm Ngũ Lão Street is lined with markets, both indoor and outdoor. It's the perfect place in town to buy cheap clothes or electronics. Not everything is on the up-and-up here, so buyer beware.

Besides shopping, there are many bars, restaurants, and cafes along the street. The street is very crowded, noisy, and alive. This is a traveler hot spot where you can get a good look at Ho Chi Minh City life from right inside of it!

A major fixture along the road is the September 23rd Park. The park serves as a quiet, tree-lined oasis of calm in an otherwise bustling neighborhood. It's a great place to eat your banh mi and drink your latte in peace.

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