Browse hundreds of stalls in Hanoi’s biggest marketplace in the heart of the Old Quarter.
Dong Xuan Market, Hanoi’s biggest marketplace, is a cavernous building full of tiny aisles. Built by the French at the end of the 19th century, the covered market today has stalls selling anything from household items and food, to clothes and shoes. Tourists visit the market mainly for the experience rather than the shopping.
The building features five arched roofs and covers more than 6,500 square metres (1.6 acres) of space. Squeeze down the narrow walkways as you make your way through the building. In the aisles you’ll find a huge range of clothing, plastic children’s toys, household appliances and traditional Vietnamese fabrics.
Hear store holders promote their cheap goods and see them chat with the locals. If you intend to buy something, be aware that not all clothing and jewellery brands are authentic. If there are no fixed price signs, don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal when purchasing your goods. Offer a lower price with a smile and you’ll often be rewarded with a good deal.
Dong Xuan Market is aimed at the residents of Hanoi more than it is to tourists. While a visit to the market is a fun experience for foreigners, many of the goods sold here are of more practical use to those who live locally. However, there are a few stalls that sell souvenirs and traditional Vietnamese cultural items.
Dong Xuan also runs a night market that spills out onto the streets around it on Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings. On those nights you’ll find more tourist-oriented wares and souvenirs. While browsing, try some traditional North Vietnamese dishes from street stalls.
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; however, during lunchtime many stallholders will be away for lunch or asleep in the back of their stores. During weekend nights, it is best reached by foot.