Header images courtesy of Jack Young and Dara Keo (via Unsplash)
Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, is home to an abundance of vibrant indoor and outdoor markets, selling pretty much everything you can imagine. Although some may prefer the air-conditioned designer shopping malls (which, in the heat, is completely understandable at times), the local markets offer some of the best hidden treasures and artisan items, all of which are unique in their own way and can’t compare to commercial fashion. Opening from as early as 5 am to as late as 1 am, visitors are welcome to explore the markets at pretty much any hour of the day.
The most popular local markets in Hanoi are usually crowded with good reason. Bright and bustling, and selling the most fragrant fruits, vegetables, and spices, markets are filled with tourists and residents from all over. If you’re completely new to the city, a great way to quickly engage is to try out one of the lively markets, to experience the diverse Vietnamese culture. You can bargain for clothing, souvenirs, street food, shoes—whatever you need or forgot to pack. Don’t forget to bargain! It’s completely expected at Vietnamese markets and tests your negotiating skills. And, as always, take a camera and protect your belongings. From flea markets to night markets, here are our picks for the best five markets in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Set within a three-story shopping mall, Hang Da Market is situated in Hanoi’s central business district, in the heart of the city. Housing an eclectic variety of stalls, it’s one of the most popular markets in the region. From its exterior, visitors can peer at the antique façade, before stepping in and finding a plethora of stalls selling everything from bun cha to flip flops.
The market has seen its share of historical changes in the city since its opening in 1937, yet remains intact and true to its roots. It’s recommended that the earlier the better to visit (which is great because it opens from 5 am) to avoid the packed crowds and midday heat. In the basement, you can find mainly food products, including fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish—most of which are imported. The first floor features confectionery and beverages, and the second floor sells branded clothes and premium accessories.
If you’re looking for unique, quality items, Hang Da Market is a great place to be. There are silk seamstresses selling traditional Vietnamese dresses and hand-embroidered garments, which is perfect for those wanting something culturally significant to bring home. A day is well spent here and can be continued thanks to its convenient proximity to the Old Quarter. The market is nearby other famous monuments including Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, Vietnam Women’s Museum, and Ba Dinh Square, to name a few.
Hang Da Market, 1 Hang Da Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 5 am to 9 pm every day
Probably the most famous market, Dong Xuan Market was established in 1889 by the French and is the largest market in the capital. Located in a four-storey Soviet-style building, the indoor market starts with a busy wet market at the bottom floor, followed by rows of fashion, souvenir, and boutique stores available at wholesale prices. Foodies can also try out the eats from the massive dining area, which sells everything from Vietnamese coffee to scrumptious local dishes.
On weekends, the market has a pedestrian street to bring a bit of Hanoi nightlife to the area. If you’re travelling by foot, walk to Hang Ngang Street, and go straight for four blocks. For a lengthier trip, head to Hoan Kiem Lake and walk for about 400 metres. The day market is open from 6 am to 7 pm and the night market is open from 7 pm to 10 pm.
As the biggest market in Hanoi, there’s plenty to explore at this venue, but of course, the food is a must-try. There’s a variety of classics, including green papaya salad and pho—or try something more exotic, if your adventurous taste buds are feeling it.
Dong Xuan Market, Dong Xuan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6 am to 10 pm every day
Known for its extensive collection of fabrics and tailors, Cho Hom Market is a one-stop destination for textile enthusiasts. It’s very popular amongst locals and tourists for custom-made clothing, but if you’re not into that, the market also houses fresh groceries, household appliances, souvenirs, and flowers (on the ground floor).
On the second floor, you’ll find stacks of fabrics including cotton, tweed, silk, wool, linen... you name it. The third floor has a terrace and gymnastic rooms. To get to the market, go up from Pho Hue towards Hoan Kiem Lake. Cho Hom Market is on the corner of Pho Hue and Tran Xuan Soan Street.
The fabric selection is definitely the winning feature at Cho Hom Market, and the most famous and best-selling item is the iconic Vietnamese silk. And what better place to obtain it than from its birthplace?
Cho Hom Market, 293 Tran Nhan Tong, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6 am to 5 pm every day
Gathering the freshest bouquets from all across Vietnam, Quang Ba Flower Market is the biggest flower market in Hanoi. Open all hours, the market is located in Tay Ho district and features rows of beautiful cherry blossoms, roses, orchids, and crowd-pleasing sunflowers. It gets extremely busy during the annual Tet Festival, so it’s best to avoid these times.
The main gate of entry is on Au Con Street, just seven kilometres north of the Old Quarter. There are two opening hours of the market—one from 2 am to 4 am for wholesalers, and the other from 4 am to midnight for retailers. There are two main corridors, one for flowers and one for six street food stalls—after all, what’s a Hanoi market without a selection of post-shopping scrumptious street eats?
Its main product—the fresh flowers—are an inviting, aromatic feature of the whole market. The prices are low and service is friendly, so if you’re a sucker for flowers or looking to impress, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Quang Ba Flower Market, 236 Au Co, Quang An, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 2 am to 4 am and from 4 am to midnight every day
In Hanoi Old Quarter, the bustling Hanoi Weekend Night Market brings together locals, tourists, and vendors to a buzzing environment. Open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 8 pm, the market reaches three kilometres in length, starting at Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square and ending at Dong Xuan Market. Like many enticing night markets across Southeast Asia, stalls sell products from handmade crafts to quirky souvenirs. Find the cheapest deals on clothes, ceramics, and food here—as long as your bargaining skills remain intact.
For entertainment, there’s even the occasional live performance and Vietnamese opera.
Hanoi Weekend Night Market, Hang Dao Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 pm to 11 pm, Friday to Sunday