An outlook of the High-Spirited Hanoi Markets, Vietnam

Updated: Apr 23, 2019


One doesn’t need to visit the market to purchase things in Hanoi as every corner around the street exhibit everything you’d ever want to buy. But then again, if you’re into Chaos, Crazy or anything like me then get set to entertain yourself.


1. Ngoc Ha Market

A market what I now call ‘close to home,’ located on the Ba Dinh district, Ngoc Ha Market was my first acquaintance to the Hanoian Markets. Being from India, I wasn’t new to the organized chaos, however, talk about the overwhelming encounters with butchers. What had me going was the sight of butchered boars, with every organ you can imagine on display. God Forbid any part of the meat going for a waste. Oh, wait did you say you were a vegan? Okay, there are heaps of fresh vegetables and ripe fruits found as well. Spread across the entire street, apart from the array of meat, green vegetables and people zooming around on motorbikes, the charm of this market is the rural household stationed in the corner, a sepia-colored rustic edifice single-handedly puts the shopping experience in supermarkets to shame.


2. Weekend Night Market

Held every Friday, Saturday and on Sunday, the Weekend Night Market is a busy gathering of roadside stalls and local food vendors that bring enormous crowds of tourists and locals. Running through the Old Quarter district from 19:00 onwards, starting from Hang Dao Street to the edge of Dong Xuan, the Market illuminated with decorative lights makes it a favorite spot for traveling photographers. Fashion-wise, the items on sale won’t turn much head as you will find the usual array of inexpensive t-shirts, handicrafts, accessories, shoes, sunglasses, and souvenirs. However, the overall environment is very lively, and bargaining is a way of life here. With prices starting at VND 15,000, visitors can also find plenty of iconic Hanoi dishes while strolling through the busy night market, including bun thang (rice vermicelli soup with shredded chicken, fried egg, and pork), La Vong grilled fish, pho (noodle soup with beef or chicken), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), and bun cha (rice noodles served with roasted pork).




3. Hom Market

Copious amounts of stalls compacted into a minimal space are what Hom market feels. This market is worth seeing but probably not so much for tourists as the products sold here are for locals and their livelihood. Situated on 79 Hue of Hai Ba Trung, this market is filled with fabric everywhere. Patchwork cotton or non-stretch fabrics are hard to find, but there's some fantastic jerseys, stretch wools, chiffons, satins, embroidered and sequined material, fleece - endless! Ground level is a wet market loaded of fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, and street food. Based on how lost you look, be sure to get weird looks from the vendors. You may be called over by a few of them to give their products a touch. This is when it gets tricky, know what you're after and be firm, avoid saying maybe. If you are anything like me who doesn’t take a great deal of liking to street food then prepare yourself with a word that saves you from all the hassle ‘ăn chay’ translates to vegetarian. Before you know, you are left alone




4. Quang Ba (The Flower Market)

Flower market on the edge of West Lake, Tay ho starts up around 2 a.m., when wholesalers arrive to claim their spots with piles of roses and chrysanthemums and lasts until sunrise. Quang Ba is especially worth a visit during occasions when flowers are needed for the many celebrations. The second thoughts one might have while leaving your hotel at 6 a.m. to visit a flower market is quickly dispelled when you arrive at the most massive display of blooming plants ever seen in one place. It's a haven of opportunity to look at the workers at work before the day opens to sell it to the customers. Quang Ba is a buzz of early morning activity as hundreds of people are buying flowers and loading them on motorbikes, trucks, cars or carrying them on shoulder-baskets for hotels, restaurants, businesses and who knows what else. The aroma is magnificent, and the people-watching equals the overwhelming floral display that seems unending. When in Hanoi, you've got to stop and smell the roses in Quang Ba.





5. Dong Xuan Market

If you had to draw a parallel, call it the Walmart of Hanoi. Though not quite the same since a devastating fire in 1994, this famous market is nevertheless a landmark trading post. Dong Xuan Market is in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Entrance to the market hall is free, and you can visit all day long. However, during lunch hours many stallholders will be away for lunch or asleep in the back of their stores. Squeeze down the narrow walkways as you make your way through the building. In the aisles, you’ll find a vast range of clothing, plastic children’s toys, household appliances, and traditional Vietnamese fabrics. The insides of the market are indeed not the one to hold your interest longer than 10 minutes, but during weekends, Dong Xuan runs a night market that spreads out onto the streets around it which admittedly is a feast to the sensory experience. On those nights you’ll find more tourist-oriented wares and souvenirs. While browsing, try some traditional North Vietnamese dishes from street stalls.



Crazy as they are, these iconic areas in Hanoi are worth a visit – they are sure to leave you with exciting memories and stories to tell, if you make it out alive without getting run over by motorcycles zipping through the market aisles, that is.


Information

1. Ngoc Ha Market

Address: Ngọc Hà, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam


2. Weekend Night Market

Address: 8 Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam


3. Hom Market

Address: 79 Huế, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam


4. Quang Ba (The Flower Market)

Address: Âu Cơ, Nhật Tân, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội, Vietnam


5. Dong Xuan Market

Address: Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam

Photography Credits:

Shilpa Srinivas @flohwithme