BEN THANH MARKET
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» War Relics
» Things to Buy: Vietnamese Modern Art
» Things to Eat in Ho Chi Minh City: Restaurant Guide
» Places to Party in Ho Chi Minh City: Bars and Clubs
» Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City: Saigon Hotels
» Getting There: Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport
» Further Afield: Phu Quoc Island
» Buying Real Estate in Vietnam?
» Learning Basic Travel Vietnamese
» Media in Vietnam
OTHER MARKETS IN THIS CROWDED WORLD
Paddy's Market, in Chinatown, Sydney, Australia
Sacked and Sorted /// BEN THANH MARKET
Sacked and Sorted /// BEN THANH MARKET
Bến Thành Market is probably one of the best places in the world to buy counterfeit goods. North Face bags and jackets hang outside stalls deep in the labyrinth. Believe it or not Vietnamese actually like buying fake shit, it gives them a chance to wear luxury brands. Chinese medicinal products such as herbs and dried seahorses are on sale all over the place. Dried scorpions can be found and bought too although I have never actually seen them. There are many temples. Ch・ｽa B・ｽ Thi・ｽn Hậu is one of the more colorful, but they are all good.
The whole place reminds me of the old kung fu movies from the 1970s which I used to watch with Matt Tumbers in Australia. Right across the street from Ch・ｽa B・ｽ Thi・ｽn Hậu is a community youth center, built like a concrete shell. As I walked past in the hot sun I could hear what sounded like kung fu grunts emanating from those typically Indochinese concrete ventilation slats... obviously the new generation were recieving their education. It was just another day in backstreet Chợ Lớn.
BEN THANH SET TO BECOME TRANSPORT HOB OF HO CHI MINH CITY: Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai attended a ceremony on August 24 at which the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee formally marked the start of work on metro Line 2. Opening is scheduled for 2016. The first phase of Line 2 will be 11·2 km long, linking Tham Luong in the northwestern District 12 to Ben Thanh in the central District 1, following the Duong Truong Chinh, Duong Cash Mang Thang Tam, Pham Hong Thai and Dai Lo Ham Nghi roads. There will be a 1 km spur to the depot at Tham Luong, and the line will have one elevated station at Tham Luong and 10 underground stations. It will initially require 12 three-car trains, a study by MVA recommending 750 V DC third rail electrification. As Rusty Compass illustrates, Chợ Lớn used to be notorious for its brothels, opium dens and casinos. The vice is gone presumebaly, but Chợ Lớn maintains its economic vitality.
Address: 111 An Duong Vuong Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. Named after one of the early kings of Vietnam, An Duong Vuong Street is a good introduction to the modern bustle and hustle of Chợ Lớn. One the street you can find the huge Windsor Plaza Hotel, and the famous Ngan Dinh Chinese restaurant which is housed inside. It is all the right ambience. Just as my ten years in Japan (2000s) have given me the chance to live out my Bladerunner fantasies on a daily basis, so my coming 10 years (2010s) in Vietnam will give me the chance to live out my Apocalypse Now! fantasies. And my Hemingway and Graham Greene fantasies as well, to various degrees of appropriateness. The Reunification Hall was one of the first landmarks I noticed on my first trip into Ho Chi Minh City in mid 1995, wondering what the hell I was doing in this feral and forsaken place. Ho Chi Minh City has changed a lot since then, and so have I.
THERE WERE PLENTY OF FAMOUS IMAGES FROM THE VIETNAM WAR, BUT ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS, WAS THAT OF TANKS SMASHING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE GATES OF THE BUILDING NOW KNOWN AS REUNIFICATION HALL. Of course Vietnam was not reunified at the time, and it was then called Dinh Độc Lập, or .... fly from/to Ho Chi Minh City daily (3-5 flights a day) and from/to Rach Gia (1 flight a day). Air ticket rate:
- Ho Chi Minh -Phu Quoc Island : 1.040.000 VND (2 ways) ($63.63.)
You can book flights to Phu Quoc Island online -- check this Or even better, book flights and check the flight schedule using the official Eating Asia's Guide to Cholon.
Binh Tay Market: Phan Van Khoe Street, District 6, Cholon.
Open from 6am to 6pm.
Being a wholesale market, this lacks the aggressive vendors of Ben Thanh Market in the center of town. There is a food court in the market. On the nearby Yersin St rises the Dan Sinh Market, which specialises in hardware.
Ciaran and Ruth (from Ireland) write: "A spectacular palace from the outside (see Ruth from it's balcony above), the inside is decked out according to the opulence enjoyed by South Vietnamese President Van Thieu and his predecessors before they made their sudden exit when the North Vietnamese made their entrace. They - unlike us - used tanks to remove the gate. We found an easier entrance, just to the left, where you can be admitted for about 50 cent - it mustn't have been open that day. Maybe the current decorators are exaggerating a bit to demonstrate the counter-socialist ideals of the south before its liberation, or maybe its accurate, but this place is like a cross between the Playboy Mansion and a Bond villain's secret lair. The cinema, game room, snooker tables and piano co-exist with the Map Rooms and underground bunkers decked out with those old Telecom Eireann phones (though I don't think they were the actual suppliers) and enormous radios. It really has the feel of a place Dr. Evil would occupy while plotting his takeover of the world. Probably for more than 1 million dong. That wouldn't even cover the bill in a decent hotel. Or gifts for an engaged couple - though we don't know the price of a good pair of ducks in those days..."
The projects, Vietnamese style. These apartment blocks are in District 5. Note that many of the apartments seem to have air conditioning. That said, the blue building in the mid-right can't even be assed having windows for half of its surface area. It's like they gave up allocating windows halfway down. Or maybe those were copies and the original gates were stolen by some enterprising entrepreneurs one night and sold as scrap metal. Probably that's the case:..
There are very basic medical facilities at both Ham Ninh and An Thoi, with the latter being the better, but for anything more serious than a hangover or a paper cut -- head to Saigon.
PLACES TO STAY
Bien Xanh Hotel US$15 Check rates online
Bo Resort: Ong Lang Beach.
Phu Quoc Island is only 50 minutes by plane from Ho Chi Minh City, where the average temperature is 27 C degree. Phu Quoc is very rich in natural resources and there are many white sandy beaches are unspoiled. Moreover, rivers, streams, channels are found nearly everywhere in the islands. 150 Three-Star rooms with modern equipments. Services : Swimming pool, tennis, beach games, beach volley ball, massage, 200 place meeting room, restaurant with special sea-food. Taking and meeting tourist services at Thien Hai Son Resort. Receptionists are ready to serve visitors with pleasure. Saigon Phu Quoc Resort: 1 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town, Kien Giang,Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province.
Phone: 84 77 846 999. Fax: 84 77 847 163.
Saigon Phu Quoc Resort. Saigon Phu Quoc resort is the first Vietnam's three-star island resort with 90 well-equipped bungalows and apartments of international standard. The Phu Quoc Island and resort offers pristine beaches and forests to all nature lovers and travellers, making the your stay there a memorable time.
Saigon Phu Quoc Resort is only 50 minutes by plane from Ho Chi Minh City, where the average temperature is 27 C degree. Phu quoc island is very rich in natural resources and there are many white sandy beaches are unspoiled. Moreover, rivers, streams, channels are found nearly everywhere in the islands. Located on the hill of coconut palm trees occupied around 3.5 hectares, Saigon Phu quoc is a beautiful seaside resort in a quiet place and plenty of sunshine. Just 10 minutes from the airport, the resort is an ideal haven for relaxing, fishing, trekking snorkeling and scuba diving. The resort provides a perfect balance between relaxation and excitement. Visitors can enjoy special seafood, cocktails by the pool bar or on private balconies while watching sunset over the ocean.
90 rooms and bungalows of the resort equipped with AC air-con, safety box, private bathroom, in-house Internet, IDD telephone, satellite TV, mini-bar, decorative plant and Balcony.
Restaurants: Saigon restaurant with 150-seat offer international and local dishes, specializes in sea food. Pool bar and Beach bar offer barbecue dinner. Facilities: Swimming pool; Beauty salon and Health club: body, foot & hand massage & sauna parlor; Jacuzzi; Badminton and Foot ball field; Karaoke club. Water sports: water-skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Services: tour desk for fishing, hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, camping, eco-tour, sightseeing tour, car and motor-bike rental.
Thousand Star Resort US$18 Check rates online Thuan Thien Hotel US$12 Check rates online Tropicana Resort US$25 Check rates online Yen Phuong Minihotel US$8 "In another story, Tran Minh Phuong, 23, an accountant at a toy-making company in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) says she earns VND1.8 million ($113) a month and has to pay a third of that in rent for her little one-room apartment.
"They all dream of owning their own apartments but with property price sky-rocketing that is simply impossible.
"Not only locals but about 81,000 expats in Vietnam have also suffered from soaring rents and greedy landlords, even though their income is much higher..."
(For full story click here.)