6 oldest markets in Saigon still standing nowadays

For centuries, there are the oldest markets in Saigon that have stood resilient against the passage of time. While some are well-known to both tourists and locals, others remain shrouded in historical mystery. This article will guide you through the top ancient markets in Saigon, each built long ago and rich with stories from the past.
6 oldest market in Saigon still standing nowadays
Table of Contents

Ton That Dam Market (Cho Cu)


  • Address: Ton That Dam Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (see on maps)
  • Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Age (in 2024): approximately 180 years old

Once upon a time, in the heart of old Saigon, there was a lively market called Ton That Dam Market, or Cho Cu. It was located between a busy canal called Cho Vai and a stream called Rach Cau Sau, where Ham Nghi Street is today. In the 19th century, this market was the center of trade because everything was transported by boats.

People from all backgrounds—Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian—came to Cho Cu to buy and sell goods, making it the busiest place in Saigon. The market was always full of energy, with traders shouting and customers haggling.

But in the early 1900s, things began to change. Roads and railways started to replace the waterways. The canals were filled in to make streets, and Cho Cu’s importance began to fade.

By 1914, a newer market called Ben Thanh Market opened near the bus and train stations. This new market became the main trading spot, and Cho Cu was almost forgotten.

Despite all these changes, Cho Cu continued to stand tall, watching the city evolve. Families who once hurried to the market with baskets of vegetables now had established stalls. They passed their businesses down to their children and grandchildren.

In 2017, there were plans to close Cho Cu after the Tet holiday, which made many vendors sad because their beloved market might become just a memory. However, due to various issues, the market stayed open, and as of 2024, Ton That Dam Market is still welcoming both locals and tourists.

Ton That Dam Market (Cho Cu)
Ton That Dam Market (Cho Cu)

Ben Thanh Market


  • Address: Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (see on maps)
  • Opening hours: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Age (in 2024): 110 years old

The original Ben Thanh Market, built in the early 1800s, was made of bricks, wooden beams, and thatched roofing. Its location by the river made it a busy trading hub for local and foreign goods.

In 1833, Le Van Khoi used the nearby Bat Quai Citadel as a base for an uprising. After defeating Khoi in 1835, King Minh Mang destroyed the citadel and built a smaller one called Phung Citadel nearby. Ben Thanh Market remained but became less busy over time.

In February 1859, the French and Spanish captured Gia Dinh Citadel, burning Ben Thanh Market. By 1861, the French built a new market near Sa Ngu Canal, but a fire in 1870 destroyed part of it. Rebuilt with brick columns, wooden beams, and tiled roofs, it reopened later that year.

In 1887, Sa Ngu River was filled in to create Charner Street (now Nguyen Hue Street). The market thrived, surrounded by houses and bustling trade. However, by 1894, it was deteriorating and needed rebuilding. The City Council decided to construct a new market, theater, and City Hall, but faced delays due to funding and location issues.

Finally, in 1912, the new Ben Thanh Market was built by contractor Brossard et Maupin, opening in 1914. Covering over 13,000 square meters, the grand opening ceremony lasted three days, drawing 100,000 visitors with cultural and culinary festivities.

In 2024, after 110 years, Ben Thanh Market is still standing as a must-visited landmark of Saigon.

Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market

Tan Dinh Market


  • Address: 336 Hai Ba Trung, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (see on maps)
  • Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Age (in 2024): 97 years old

Tan Dinh Market, originally known as Phu Hoa Market, was one of the most important markets in northern Saigon during the 1870s and 1880s, according to French records. However, no images of Phu Hoa Market exist.

In early 1926, the colonial government allocated 110,000 Indochinese piastres to rebuild the market. This was done to improve its standards and generate revenue by selling the new market space to vendors. From then on, the market was called Tan Dinh Market.

The grand opening of Tan Dinh Market took place on July 26, 1927, with a celebration as grand as Ben Thanh Market’s opening 13 years earlier. The event was attended by high-ranking colonial officials, including the Governor of Cochinchina, the Chairman of the Council of Administration, and the Mayor of Saigon.

Like other traditional markets, Tan Dinh Market offers a wide variety of goods. Fresh food, dry goods, fruits, and essentials like clothes and shoes can all be found here. The market is also famous for being the largest fabric supplier in Saigon.

Tan Dinh Market
Tan Dinh Market

Binh Tay Market (Cho Lon)


  • Address: 57A Thap Muoi, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City (see on maps)
  • Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Age (in 2024): 96 years old

Binh Tay Market (Cho Lon) is known as one of the largest wholesale markets in Ho Chi Minh City and boasts a long history and beautiful architecture. Located in District 6, within the Cholon area, it is often informally called the “New Cholon Market.”

The name Binh Tay Market comes from the fact that in 1928, a Chinese businessman named Quach Dam funded the construction of this market to replace the old one.

Binh Tay Market has been a part of Saigon through many ups and downs over the years, becoming an essential cultural spot for the local people. It has been standing for nearly a century, representing the history, stories, and unique architecture of the area.

Binh Tay Market - Cho Lon
Binh Tay Market - Cho Lon

Ba Chieu Market


  • Address: Ward 1, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City (see on maps)
  • Opening hours: 7:00 AM – midnight
  • Age (in 2024): 82 years old

Ba Chieu Market is one of the most famous and oldest markets in Saigon. It is located at the busy intersection of major streets in the center of today’s Binh Thanh District, including Bach Dang, Phan Dang Luu, Le Quang Dinh, and Bui Huu Nghia.

According to many sources, Ba Chieu Market originated as a bustling open-air market about 150 years ago, serving the people of the Gia Dinh area.

In 1942, the local government decided to construct a covered market building, covering an area of 8,465 square meters. From this year onwards, the market no longer faced the “water pond” but instead faced Phan Dang Luu and Le Quang Dinh streets, as it does today. At that time, Ba Chieu Market was the largest and busiest central market in the former Gia Dinh province.

The market underwent a renovation and upgrade in 1987 and has remained in its current state since then.

Ba Chieu Market
Ba Chieu Market

To find more interesting things about markets in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), check these articles:

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