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I was checking out Pham Ngu Lao and Bo Vien known as the backpacker center. I normally like exploring and photographing less touristy areas of a city but it never hurts to be familiar with places where you’re more likely to meet up with fellow travelers and exchange stories, suggestions and tips.
I was on my way to Ben Thanh Market, another lively and well-known part of the city. Actually most of Ho Chi Minh City is lively, in fact pretty much all of it is. The constant buzz from the hundreds of thousands of motorbikes that race the streets fuels what looks like to the uninitiated, pure chaos. But for the most part, it seems to work.
There’s lots of ways of getting around Ho Chi Minh City, or as many of the locals still call it, Saigon.
It’s not for everyone, but when it wasn’t raining I found myself hopping on the back of a motorbike taxi ordered using an app. Safe, convenient, and courteous drivers only interested in getting you safely to your destination with fair pricing.
The original Ben Thanh market area was established in the 16th century by local street vendors and eventually was organized by the French into a more formal setting in the mid 1800’s.
The current location was established in 1912 with a renovation completed in 1985.
Even though the market closes at 6pm every night it’s still a great gathering spot with lots of people hanging out, eating and socializing. A night market opens up just outside Ben Thanh right after the indoor market closes.
Ben Thanh Market is a great place to see what people eat, and shop for in Saigon, but be aware these prices are set high for naive tourists and hard bargaining. Excerpts from "Saigon, Vietnam-Fast-Changing City Of Contrasts".