Author: By Ecolodge team
It is often said that the heart of Asia is in its markets. These are the backbones of everyday living across the continent, where locals can socialise, relax and haggle with intensity. Across Vietnam you’ll find a wealth of unique markets and their lively visitors, who display the hardy Vietnamese spirit with rambunctious buying and selling at any hour of the day. These are the 5 best, most unique markets in Vietnam that capture the very essence of the country.
Can Tho Ecolodge, our beautiful eco-friendly accommodation in the Mekong Delta, is a champion of the raw Vietnamese culture and sense of community found across Vietnamese markets. If you’re looking for the same authentic feel at your accommodation, consider a stay at one of our charmingly rustic cottages in the outskirts of Can Tho, adapted to 4-star luxury with top quality amenities. Click here
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Coc Ly Ethnic Market – Sapa
In terms of sheer size there’s no topping the famous Bac Ha Market in Sapa, but Coc Ly Market, lying 35km away, offers a much more authentic experience all-round. As Bac Ha continues to be plagued by issues relating to responsible travel, Coc Ly is emerging as a dream come true for responsible shoppers, as it beautifully combines the quintessential market experience with true ethnic culture and fair prices for everyone.
Coc Ly is one of the best Vietnamese markets for seeing how the vibrant H’mong ethnic group operate. Every Tuesday H’mong families will travel to the market and sell their ethnic wares throughout the morning including food, fruit, agricultural tools and even livestock. Horses are a big seller here, but the most interesting merchandise for visitors is the clothing, which is typically gorgeous H’mong attire loaded with colour and intricate patterns.
Cai Rang Floating Market – Can Tho
Not all of Vietnam’s best market experiences take place on land! Cai Rang Floating Market is the epitome of a Vietnamese tradition that has long been part of the identity of the Mekong Delta, where locals gather on simple sampan boats and haggle for some of the region’s famous produce. Visitors here can enjoy the thrill of riding down the Can Tho River and witnessing local trade between swaying palm trees.
The Mekong Delta is known for producing over half of Vietnam’s rice, fruit and seafood, and Cai Rang Floating Market displays this with its delicious merchandise. Boats stacked high with exotic fruits are a consistent sight, while boats containing steaming vats of noodles are always a welcome addition. Rise early if you want to be part of this magnificent daily experience drenched in heritage, as it starts at about 6am!
Can Tho Ecolodge is located just downstream from Cai Rang Floating Market. Our tour of one of Vietnam’s best markets is guided, private and unmissable. Check it out here
Quang Ba Flower Market – Hanoi
If rising early is no problem for you, you can really challenge yourself with a 4am visit to Quang Ba Flower Market in Hanoi. As you might have guessed, flowers are the name of the game here – rows and rows of beautiful blossoms line the side of Au Co Street, which becomes a mesh of motorbikes, old ladies and a rainbow of colours in the middle of the night.
Heading into this unique market in Vietnam’s capital, you’ll find a wealth of activity as Hanoi’s famous ‘flower ladies’ buy their flowers for the day ahead, usually as early as 2am. Take a seat amongst the amiable chaos, between the gorgeous lillies, sunflowers and roses, and take a midnight snack of delicious pho chien phong. Quang Ba Flower Market is a fantastic place to sit back and watch Vietnamese spirit in full flow.
Dinh Cau Night Market – Phu Quoc Island
For tourists looking for that island paradise in Vietnam, there aren’t many better places than Phu Quoc. This pendant-shaped island off the coast of the Mekong Delta is rich with beaches and, unsurprisingly, some of the best seafood available in Vietnam. Engulfed in languid island vibes you’ll find Dinh Cau Night Market, one of the top Vietnamese markets for seafood located in central Duong Dong town.
There are about 100 stalls here and the majority of them are grilling, steaming or stewing some of the sea life lying in Phu Quoc’s azure oceans. Squid, crab, mussels and scallops are all constant favourites of Dinh Cau Market, all served in generous helpings of Vietnam’s iconic fish sauce and served by the kilo. Operating between 5pm and midnight, it’s the perfect place to enjoy your relaxation after a day of relaxation!
Hoi An Central Market – Hoi An
Though it’s by no means the biggest or least touristic, there is an obvious charm to the central market of Hoi An. Much of this comes from the fact that the charm is ever-present in the town itself, with its ancient yellow buildings and humble approach to life. It’s both of these facets of Hoi An that combine in one of the top markets in Vietnam’s central region.
Inside this exquisite building, amongst the buzzing streets of Hoi An, visitors can browse a range of Vietnamese souvenirs, clothing, silks, medicines and foods. The latter of these come in the form of true central Vietnam classics like cao lau, my quang, banh bao vac and che. Head outside to see more vendors operating just outside of the walls, as well as the fruit, fish and bread sellers lining the riverside.
Much like Vietnam’s best and most unique market experiences, Can Tho Ecolodge is a snapshot of true Vietnamese culture. You’ll find us in the rugged jungle outskirts of the Mekong Delta’s central city, where we live life by the sway of the palm tree and the gentle ripples of the pool. Our operations are stringently eco-friendly and beneficial to our neighbouring regions – something that we will never change. Check us out here
if you’d like to know more about us – and thanks for reading!