It would be a huge miss to skip exploring Hue markets if you come to this wonderful city. Indeed, if you have never visited these places, you have never grasped the essence of this thousand-year imperial land. They bring a whole different insight into the nostalgic place that once was the Nguyen Dynasty's capital.
1. Dong Ba Market - The most famous Hue market
Dong Ba Market, located on the northern shore of the Huong (Perfume) River, is just next to Tran Hung Dao Road. Dong Ba Market is not only the hub of commerce in Hue Old City but also the city's cultural heart and beauty. It has successfully preserved Hue's soul throughout Vietnam's turbulent history.
Coming to Dong Ba Market, visitors will instantly notice the magnificent antique bell tower within the building structure. The site covers up to 16,000 square meters with 9 new facilities and 4 major sections selling everything from seafood to clothing.
The surroundings and bustle of the market's everyday life, rather than the building's design, are the market's true draws. Typical of Vietnamese markets, this one is segmented into areas based on the goods sold there. Upstairs is dedicated entirely to clothing, fabrics, and apparel.
Furthermore, Dong Ba Market is where you can find all of the best cultural artifacts and mementos from Thua Thien Hue. The iconic "non la bai tho" (cone-shaped hats with poems knitted on, handmade from latanier leaves), imperial tea, and Hue ao dai are just a few notable examples on the site.
Most visitors agree that Dong Ba Market houses the best food stalls in Hue, with most of the city's delightful delicacies like tamarind candies, Truoi fruits, Hue sour shrimps, clam rice, beef rice noodles, leaf cakes, and other regional specialties available under one roof. Don't pass up a chance to shop at these ground-level local vendors under the stairs. Definitely give them a shot.
2. Ben Ngu Market - Among the most popular Hue markets
Ben Ngu Market is another must-see while in Hue for shopping. It's at the intersection of Phan Dinh Phung and Phan Boi Chau streets, right next to the An Cuu river.
Tourists love this area since it always exudes a classic, vintage vibe. Ben Ngu Market is also renowned for its low prices, even when compared to the neighboring Dong Ba Market. Typically, vendors here offer essential items that are utilized every day.
In other words, you can get everything you need to start a life here: fresh ingredients, food, clothing and fabrics, veggies, flowers, and even living animals (fish, ducks, birds, etc.).
Thus, if you plan on preparing a meal at your homestay, it's a perfect idea to stop by Ben Ngu Market to stock up on the finest ingredients.
3. Tay Loc Market - A heaven for cheap secondhand goods
One of Hue's most fascinating highlights is the one-of-a-kind Tay Loc Market. Instead of selling new products, this site specializes in pre-owned and vintage stuff.
Being the most famous flea market in Hue, it draws a record amount of traffic around year's end. Indeed, even though this Hue's market isn't as huge as others, surprisingly, it sees lots of visitors every day since "thrifting" has become not only a popular way to save money but also a way of life.
On a blessed day, you could even score a brand-new item for the cost of a gently used one. The combination of a low price and satisfactory quality usually encourages visitors to make bulk purchases.
Indeed, on average, customers reportedly take home three to four new purchases per visit. Thus, if you are keen on thrifting, don't walk; rush to Tay Loc Market.
4. An Cuu Market - An ideal destination to explore Hue cuisine
During the Minh Mang era, An Cuu Market was established, which became a central hub for Chinese imports and exports. It was the busiest market in southern Hue City, by appearances.
Among the many remarkable gourmet meccas in Hue City, An Cuu Market is the most well-known Hue food market among tourists. All of Hue's "must-eat" specialties, such as the mouth-watering Grilled Pork Rice Noodles, tasty Banh Beo, and delectable Banh Ram It, are available for pennies on the dollar. As a culinary visitor, you will quickly fall in love with this fascinating site due to its cuisine diversity.
Besides cultural signature foods, you can easily spot comforting and refreshing sweet treats like different kinds of "chè", milk tea, etc.
This is a favorite of Hue's students due to the low prices for food and drinks. The vendors at An Cuu Market are also famous for being extremely pleasant and helpful.
5. Phu Hau Market - The largest wholesale market in Hue
Phu Hau is a wholesale market from which vendors transport their products to retail locations. That’s why it is incredibly affordable here. Everything from fresh produce, seafood, and more to everyday staples is available here.
Initially situated near Trang Tien Bridge, this market was relocated to the Phu Hau area. The site opens at the crack of dawn every day to supply most markets in Hue and the region of Quang Tri with commodities.
As a result, most market sellers arrive quite early to begin loading up items and making deliveries. Be mindful and schedule your visit ahead of time, though; the market opens early, and the goods could sell out quickly.
6. Best places to enjoy Hue nightlife? Hue Night Market
Heading to the Hue night market is among the best things to do in Hue. Yes, you might have shopped at other Hue markets or groceries, but you will notice some major differences here.
The Hue night market features an array of local delicacies, souvenirs, and unique, high-quality local handicrafts. Thus, this is not only a popular hangout for tourists but also for teens who like to take long, late-night strolls on the pavement.
The later it gets in Hue, the more vibrant and shiny the nightlife becomes. Whether it's a clothing stand, a souvenir kiosk, or a seafood stall, they're all visually appealing. Moreover, it offers a wide selection of fashionable, new-to-market clothing labels for people of all ages, especially women.
7. TOP flea markets in Hue? Xep Thuan Loc Market
Xep Market, Hue's renowned secondhand marketplace, is located between Truong Tien Bridge and Dong Ba Market, across Mai Thuc Loan Road, and toward the right on Ngo Duc Ke Road.
The stores in this Hue market opened earlier than other markets, with all sorts of fabrics and accessories, garments, footwear, hats, adult underwear, kid's clothes, etc.— just about anything.
At 8 am, many people start to gather at the market for their weekly shopping. The market begins to bustle around 10 am until well after 11 am. If you shop carefully and are willing to spend more money, you can get a gorgeous bag full of one-of-a-kind accessories for under 500,000 VND.
Stop by a fruit stand, a tea house, or a stall selling snails to taste authentic Hue cuisine. Whether it's the 5,000 VND for a bowl of rich and flavorful coconut green bean soup, the 15,000 VND for a sack of mangoes doused in pepper flakes, or the 12,000 VND for a dish of spicy stir-fried snails, you should definitely give them a shot.
8. Nguyen Dinh Chieu Night Market, Hue - A paradise for foodies
The Nguyen Dinh Chieu night market on Hue's newly opened pedestrian street has given the city a welcome jolt of energy and excitement. It would be a fantastic opportunity for travelers, especially international visitors, to stop by and pick up a few mementos.
Various paintings will be on display, but the majority will focus on Hue and depict women in ao dai, a national attire and distinctive emblem of Vietnam. Visitors can observe the artist as they add finishing touches to artwork by inking or signing on it. Explain to them what you need, and they will put your text artistically on the painting.
Aside from paintings, food is an excellent present for your loved ones when touring Vietnam, especially Hue. "Sesame sweets" or "Sesame sweets with peanuts" are popular and unique here. Furthermore, travelers can enjoy Hue's local cuisine while relaxing on a chair and appreciating the magnificent and picturesque sight of the Perfume River.
Besides the above Hue markets, you can also explore other aspects of Hue's culture and history by visiting other famous attractions in Hue, such as the Mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh, Vong Canh Hill, and the Tomb of King Thieu Tri.
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Hue markets, without a doubt, provide a deep cultural insight into the everyday lives of the locals. It not only allows tourists to experience Vietnam in the most authentic way possible, but it also encourages Vietnamese to preserve the country's ancient beauty and local traditions.
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