Want to get a sense of the traditional flavor of Vietnamese life? Simple, explore some of Vietnam’s markets. At the heart of community life, Vietnam is famous for its colour filled, glorious eats and authentic buys at the markets. Here are our top market recommendations and everything you need to know before you visit.
Bac Ha Market
One of the most talked about of Vietnam’s markets is the Bac Ha Market. Opening every Sunday at 6am this local ethnic market is filled with handmade ceramics, clothes, baskets and fresh produce. So how do you get there? Everyday buses depart Lao Cai at 6am, 11am and 1pm. Alternatively, travel by train to Pho Lu and then hop on a local bus or bike. If you are travelling from Sapa, direct buses from Sapa terminal will take around 3 hours to reach Bac Ha.
Our top tip: Stay overnight in Bac Ha on Saturday so you can visit the market early and avoid the heavy crowds pouring in around 10am.
Coc Ly Market
Coc Ly is medium-sized compared to Vietnam’s markets in other locations. Opening every Tuesday locals from surrounding villages come together to buy and sell fruit, vegetables, livestock and other handmade items. Opening 7am until early afternoon, enjoy your day in the market slowly and remember to bargain while you take in the vibrant local culture. Coc Ly is an hour drive from Lao Cai and 1h 45m drive from Sapa.
Our top tip: Once you are done exploring the market, take advantage of your close location to the Chay River, just a short drive away, winding its way through local villages and striking waterfalls and caves. Even take some time to visit one of the 6 local villages that gather at the markets.
Cai Rang Floating Market
The Cai Rang market is a 40-minute boat ride from Can Tho. While floating down the Mekong Delta river you’ll pass houses built on stilts and merchants carrying out their daily commute. The market itself, open from 4am is a truly unique site, a stretch of boats selling goods, mostly food produce. Be sure to jump on a pineapple boat for panoramic views of the markets. While you’re there you’ll learn to identify what each boat is selling by the hanging sample displayed on a long pole off the boat.
Our Top Tip: Try to get there early morning! (7am is best). Rainy season is the best time to visit as the temperature will be far cooler BUT harvest season is in the dry months so the produce you can purchase may be of a higher quality.
Phu Quoc Night Market
Phu Quoc night markets are buzzing with atmosphere and have a huge range of food on offer, both sweet and savoury. Open from 4.30pm till late in the Kien Giang Province, the market is growing in popularity so visit soon before it becomes a tourist takeover.
Our Top Tip: If you are looking for big take home souvenirs, this probably isn’t the market for you. Phu Quoc is famous for its amazing food and be sure to try the coconut ice cream and be sure to follow the local crowds to find the highest quality food.
Hoi An Night Market
The Hoi An Night Market open from 5pm daily on Nguyen Hoang Road in the Quang Nam province. With 50 unique stalls offering different local goods, the market stretches for 300 metres. For a taste of Hoi An night culture, visit this vibrant, atmospheric market.
Our Top Tip: When haggling in Hoi An, one of most popular of Vietnam’s markets, stay calm. Sellers will often refuse your price and then come running when you walk away. If you miss out, no stress! Shops tend to sell similar products so hunt around for the best bargain.
If you’re keen to travel through Vietnam and snag some bargains in some of Vietnam’s markets, visit our website to see the full range of Classic, Immerse Yourself and Deluxe Collection tours to Vietnam.
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