Comprehensive guide to Hoi An’s markets

Reading Time: 18 minutes

Last Updated on 2 years by Tam Le Van

Market is a traditional place for Vietnamese daily shopping. Especially it gets most bustling in the morning because people think that the freshest cooking ingredients can be found at the time. Together with, every kinds of household utensils, ready-made clothes, fabrics, electronic accessories, foods&specialties and much more are also dealt in there. It’s no wonder to say that market itself is the great destination to venture into for learning about authentic local culture and slices of life.

Morning fish market, day market or night market brings us ‘same same but different’ experiences. In reality, wonderfully, Hoi An has all. To help you get certain information for your trip ahead, Hoi An Life outlines a comprehensive guide to Hoi An’s markets in this article.

Should see also Hoi An’s local food specialties to know all tasty delicacies in town, best places to try them (including much in traditional markets) and guided tours.

Morning fish markets in Hoi An

Thanh Ha fish market

Thanh Ha fish market’s location, opening hours and how to get there

This market boasts about its name similar to centuries-old Thanh Ha pottery making village, three kilometers away from the Old town. Everyday, it opens around 4 until 6 a.m when all merchants leave and move to other market places in order to sell their previous buyings. Period from July to August is the nicest one to visit this Hoi An’s market due to it corresponds to the best fishing time during the year.

To approach Thanh Ha fish market, taxi and own vehicles are the best ways. If not reserve a taxi in advance, you should tell receptionists at your accommodation for a help. On resquest, he/she will give the call to taxi companies and you have one after. As locals, they know how to do it best. In case you get own motorcycle/bicycle, make sure that you find out the parking with a service to keep its safety.

The largest fish market in Hoi An

Loads of fishermans come to Thanh Ha fish market every morning to hand over their catch to sellers. It becomes the largest fish market of the city basing on its advantuous location. People live in both upstream and downstream parts of Thu Bon river are all convenient for trading activities. Historically, mountain tribes (K’tu people) came here too to exchange forest specialties for salt, fishes and rice. Fresh sea creatures journey are continued in main bazaars like Cho Hoi An before stop at smaller marketplaces.

If stand on new-built Cam Kim bridge, you are able to capture photos from above of lightful Thanh Ha fish market’s stalls.

Duy Hai fish market

Daily occured near the estuary of Thu Bon river, Duy Hai is another bustling-famous fish market in Hoi An. Fishermans with their bumper catch usually arrive this place at around 4:30 a.m. Last boats come less or more six and the amount of sellers also is only some stay back therefore you should start early if possible.

As a sunrise lover, make sure you know Cua Dai bridge (have to cross before get the market). From its top, you are able to get panoramic views in which Cham islands, local fishing nets, Duy Hai fish market and the sea included. Check out other ideal spots for seeing sunrise in Hoi An via http://hoianlife.net/the-best-spots-to-see-sunrise-in-hoi-an/.

Binh Minh fish market: a fish market on the beach

A favoured spot to local photographers, Binh Minh fish market is only of its kind occuring on the beach that close by Hoi An. It opens from 4:30 a.m and ends when everything sold out. However, often before seven because the sellers want to move rapidly for keeping fishes as freshest as possible. Binh Minh in local language means ‘the sunrise’.

It takes around 30 minutes to get Binh Minh fish market from city center. For that reason, you should wake up early if like to go to this awesome place. In addition to, you will pass by Vinpearl Land Nam Hoi An-the largest water park in Central Vietnam on return way. Combine it on your travel plan for convenience in case you are interested. Browse our article here to know more about all themed parks in Hoi An and Da Nang.

Not only good to see in the early morning, unspoiled Binh Minh beach’s also awesome to visit to know authentic local ways of life in late afternoon. As a food explorer, make sure you know Ca nuc hap quan banh trang (steamed mackerels wrapped with rice paper, raw vegetales and eaten with anchovy fish sauce).

Hoi An’s markets during the day

Hoi An central market

Location, zones and opening hours

Hoi An central market situates to the East side of the Old town core and its entrance is in the corner between Tran Phu and Nguyen Hue streets. Every single day this best-known market opens from 6 a.m until 7 p.m. However, many stalls close their operation around five in the afternoon because the sellers are ladies who traditionally have responsibility for taking care of the family (still exist but change a lot today).

From the entrance to the end, there are four different trading zones including food, household utensils&dried cooking ingredients, raw meats, fresh vegatables&fruits and fish&seafoods respectively.

Hoi An central market’s history

Formation and development of Hoi An central market have a close-knit association with its mother town history. From at least 15th century, this well-reserved river urban functioned as the most important trading center of Champa kingdom which formerly dominated almost all Vietnam’s current coastal areas. At that time, My Son sanctuary was the holy land of this state as well. After handed over to Vietnamese in later period, Hoi An still kepts its leading role in commercial activities with different parts around the world. Merchants had ever considered that it standed as one of the best place for getting high-quality silk and spices within South-east Asia.

In 1848, Hoi An central market was moved to the strategic location you see today. Its two heads, one faces to the most arterial street and another is just next to the river that extremely convenient for loading and off-loading of goods. Additionally, a well also was established at the entrance (still in use) supplying fresh water to locals plus merchants. In early 2000s, the market got demolished and rebuilt as similar as present-day look.    

What to eat in Hoi An central market?

Street stalls around its outside

Doing business on the pavement is the action not allowed in Vietnam’s world heritage sites. Notwithstanding, as a ‘living historic settlement, Hoi An gives the permisson (in control) for stalls arround the central market to keep its vitality like past to present. During the day, you are likely to see local snacks and cakes for sale on Nguyen Hue street or fruits along Bach Dang riverside road.

Food courts inside Hoi An central market

Hoi An central market’s food courts line along its middle aisle and sell an abundant collection of Vietnamese as well as western-styled dishes. Notably, they offer many local specialties including Cao lau noodles, Mi quang, Banh mi, Bong hong trang (white rose dumplings), Hoanh thanh chien (fried wonton), Pho rice noodle soup and Banh xeo (cripsy rice pancake). In fact, unlike restaurants or larger eateries, you may not find any drinks in several places among these courts. However, popular sugary beverages, beers and fresh fruit juices are available at somewhere else nearby. If like to order, let the seller know your choices, she/he is happy with giving you a help (possible to pay for everything to her/him when done). Besides ‘main dishes’, there are Vietnamese sweet soups (served with crushed ice) and kinds of dessert for sale inside Hoi An central market as well.

The price of each type of food is shown clearly on the menu that differentiate to numerous markets in the country where it may be changed for non-local persons. This lies in various reasons making Hoi An become friendly-attractive culinary capital within eyes of both Vietnamese tourists and foreigners.

First stall of well-known Banh mi Phuong

The owner of famous Banh mi Phuong, Mrs.Phuong started out with a small court selling Vietnamese sandwiches in Hoi An central market while working as the teacher. At that time, her foods received lots of loves from local people because of their pleasant taste.

Nothing changes until one day, Anthony Bourdain decided to carry out a food adventure around the market to record for his show namely No Reservations (premiered in 2005). Within this, he tried Phuong’s sandwich and praised it as the best in the world. Since then, more and more people have come with a desire to have the same experience like him. Although moved whole business to current location at 2B Phan Chu Trinh, the original one is still kept. Generally, the food quality between two places is as similar as.

Note: Think of this place if you like to taste the most appetizing Vietnamese sandwiches and to avoid long queue at best-known Banh mi Phuong store.

Hoi An central market’s shopping guide for first timers

Things to do in nearby area

Getting on a boat ride on Hoi An river

This top Hoi An thing to do departures from nearby riverside of the Central market, Bach Dang pier. It costs about 50.000 VND (2.2 USD) per person and usually covers one candle larntern what you will light up by yourself prior to drop down to the river. Furthermore, one boat here only possibly carries four people at the same time. Asking for price and life jacket carefully before you agree to any deals with local boatmans. Read Hoi An Life’s article through http://hoianlife.net/boat-trips-in-hoi-an/ for further information.

Keep in mind that the boats near Hoi An central market (end of Bach Dang street) are not allowed moving the most impressive part of the city by night. Walk further towards An Hoi bridge to get the chance to get right thing you see in social medias.

Visit first-rate Hoi An’s art galleries in French Quarter

In the walkable distance from Hoi An central market, French Quarter covers a part of Phan Boi Chau street featuring over seventy old French styled buildings. In addition to, this quarter also stands as a base for leading art galleries like the March Gallery established by Bridget March in 2014 and ideal spot to find qualitied fine art, art jewelleries, books, prints and art supplies to buy or Precious Heritage by Rehahn who traveled around Vietnam to carry out his program in recording images of all ethnic minorities (on display at the gallery). Browse here to see full information about Hoi An’s best galleries.

Hoi An cloth market (Cho vai Hoi An)

Shopping guide to Hoi An cloth market

Hoi An cloth market is a well-liked shopping spot for both tourists and people who living in Hoi An. Not as strangers for shops inside the market, locals know the best ways to pick a good deal. Therefore, following tips of these ‘market master’ help us save time and reach the expections soon. Additionally, Hoi An Life has a separate article about how to choose a nice leather item.

First of all, you are advised to start your shopping experience after 10 a.m. Hoi An cloth market’s shops often open their operations from eight and are willing to buy something easier then to get luck for whole day. By contrast, shoppers want to spend time for observing, checking, trying on and selecting the favourite items that may make sellers feel uncomfortable. Besides, it costs more expensive in early morning, is another reason.

Secondly, the bargaining is necessary if want to get proper price for your items. Shops inside Hoi an cloth market regularly provide a higher rate at first and make it down later. The amount of money you should request depends different pieces. For example, you can start from 20.000 VND (about 1 USD) for a shirt with price of 150.000 VND (6.5 USD).

Keep yourself gentle in any cases when shop around the traditional markets. To make sure about which shop is friendly and well-behaved to the guests, searching on TripAdvisor is a good way.

Tailors inside Hoi An cloth market: Hoi An Life’s top choices

Tailor in Hoi An cloth market suits for who is looking for personalized garments middle-of-the-road in both of the quality and the price. Two high-rated places among dozens of its type are Mrs.An Cloth Shop and 45 Tailor Inside Hoi An Cloth Market. The main reasons belong to their welcoming services, the quality given well-corresponded to the payment (itself also affordable) and 24-hour complete guarantee. On the other hand, general standards of pieces they make are not too outstanding, less than leading Hoi An’s tailors. See our article http://hoianlife.net/tailoring-in-hoi-an-history-prices-tips-and-best-tailors/ for more details about this couple of the most excellent tailoring shops in the Cloth market.

Tan An market  (Tiger market)

In the corner between Dinh Tien Hoang and Nguyen Dinh Chieu streets, Tan An market (Cho Tan An, Cho Mieu Ong Cop) is wider known by the name ‘Tiger market’ because it locates near a temple having tiger image on its front screen building. In Vietnamese, Tan An means ‘new Hoi An’. The busiest times during the day in this market are the morning (before working hours) and late afternoon (after-work hours).

There are some food stalls still opening around its outside at night such as Com ga (shredded chicken rice), boiled fetal duck eggs (balut), Banh mi sandwiches, Thit xien nuong (barbecued skewers), Trung vit lon (Vietnamese balut) and much more. In fact, eating places in Tan An market’s adjacent area are popular to organised culinary tours.

Food stalls around Tiger market are quite many and offer more reasonable prices than Hoi An central market because not usually sell for tourists. That’s great to carry out a culinary experience. In fact, a number of food tours run daily around these spots.

Cam Chau market (Ba Le market)

As same as Tan An market, it originates from a small group of lady sellers dealing in vegetables and necessities. Time after time, more and more people come to buy because these stalls are not far away from their house like pre-existed places. City authority then constructed a market on the same location to met increasing buying and selling needs. Its official name today is Cam Chau market.

Why call Lady Le market? According to locals, Lady Le is a Hoianese woman who donated land to build the market. People named it the same after as a way to memorize her contribution permanently. In the actuality, this is used more widely than official one.

Some ATM points are availale near Ba Le market. Keep in mind if you do not want to reach the city center just for taking cash.

Hoi An’s night markets

Nguyen Hoang night market (commonly called as Hoi An night market)

Hoi An night market’s opening time

This best night market in Hoi An positions on Nguyen Hoang street on an island opposite to the Old town. Its daily opening time is from 6 p.m until around 10:30 p.m (the busiest hours 6:30-8:30 p.m). During the weekend or peak seasons, stalls here will close later. For restaurants, they have the own operational time that occasionally unlike of the market. Check their online sites once make up your mind.

Note: Local people always mean the night market on Nguyen Hoang street as ‘Hoi An night market’ whenever they mention about it.

How to get there and parking

Due to being in the area only for pedestrians and people on bikes, everybody has to walk or cycle if want to get Hoi An night market. Most guided tours and drivers know when it opens and where is the closest point to start going on foot to get it. About own vehicles, you can put your motorcycle/car at parking lots around crossroads on Phan Chu Trinh and Cao Hong Lanh streets. The fee for motorcycle is 5.000 VND (0.2 USD) and for car is in between 40.000 to 100.000 VND (1.7-4.3 USD) hanging on different places.

Note: Local parking service often ends when motorcycles are allowed to move into the town (9:30 p.m in rainy season and 10 p.m in dry season). If keep your own vehicle following this time too long, the valet may not happy with. Getting back and take it is an action you should do.

Shopping in Hoi An night market

There are around 150 street stalls businessing in Hoi An night market at the moment. The bulk of these sell souvenirs, handicrafts, trinkets, accessories and clothes along two central aisles. Although large in number, they look quite similar everywhere. Their general pricing regularly starts from 20.000 VND (0.85 USD) for one item. In our experiences, it will be downed if buy more. Use your bargaining skills if think the quality and the rate given not suitably corresponded.

Buying lanterns in Hoi An night market

It’s no wonder the lantern is a wonderful reminder about charming Hoi An. Therefore everybody gets willing to buy at least one to bring back home (it can be packed to fit in the lugguage) as a gift. Quality of fabric used to make is important. If possible, pay your attention on the silk lantern foremost. Common fabric ones are acceptable, mid-priced and of the largest amount. Additionally, Hoi An night market’s stalls offer an abundant array of designs to choose from. You can find pumpkin, onion, rhombic, ball, papaya shaped items over there. Lastly, check out your favourite is wrapable or not? Small-sized lanterns’re more suitable to be a hand luggage taking in the aircraft.

Note: Beautiful lanterns probably are such impressive background for photos. While somewhere you can feel free to do it, many places request a fee of 1 USD or buy something at their stores.

Live music restaurants in Hoi An night market

Madam Kieu and Belleville live music restaurants are two ideal choices for ‘something different’ if come on the second time. Differ from busy scene outside, they are airy refuges to meet friends, eat out and drink.  

Locating right at entrance of the Night market, Madam Kieu Retaurant easily catches your attention. It has advantages in Vietnamese foods  served with friendly service in a cozy décor. Especially, street foods like pork barbecue or Hoi An specialties are also available. From upper floor balcony, there is an exceptional view down to bustling streets and sparkling river dressed by colorful floating lanterns. That’s great for a fine dinning as well as cocktails. Live music here begins at 7 p.m.

Belleville Hoi An Restaurant&Lounge opens from 11 a.m until mid-night with live music time in the middle of 6-10 p.m. On the ground floor, one stage equipped with microphones, guitars and a cájon to performs diverse music styles. The food menu is diversified from Vietnamese cookings to Western style dishes, whilst the list of beverages matches well to requirements of the majority.

Hoi An night market’s street foods

Lots of travellers resembled that Hoi An Night Market is on top 3 of the nicest one to try street foods in Vietnam. In actuality, you will love this attraction by the diversity and reasonable price of dozens of dishes.  

Stalls with the most attention from tourists sell the ice cream rolls. It’s named as Kem Cuon on the sign. But don’t need to read any, loud sounds derived from them really made you such easy to know where are they. To produce the rolls, local makers blend sweetened condensed milk, cream and additional ingredients picked by diners to increase the flavour. The mixture then is stirred repeatedly on an cold metal surface to incorporate. As a result, a smooth semi-solid combination created accompanying funny sounds. It’s flattened out thinly and rolled once placed carefully into a cup. The rolls are topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and fresh tropical fruits after. You will pay 30.000 VND (1.3 USD) for one cup if would like to find something favourable for dessert.

Besides, Banh Chuoi (banana slices pancake topped with chocolate) plus Kem Ong (long ice cream with fruit flavours) are also other highlights. It costs 30.000 VND (1.3 USD) and 15.000 VND (0.6 USD) respectively. Comparing to the iced rolls and banana pancake, Kem Ong itself absolutely is one local creativity. In the past, hawkers moved around and exchanged it by different things such as unwanted household utensils, men shoes or mentals. When Vietnam economy developed rapidly in recent decades, it ended correspondingly.  

Hoi An specialties

Nobody wants to miss out the specialties when stay in Hoi An but all wonders about the best areas to eat like a local. In actuality, stalls of the Central Market were coverted from tourist serving standards. While in this night market, people still keep local lifestyle. In the evening, they set up couple of low tables and stools to serve Cao Lau (brown noodle) or Com Ga (chicken salad on steamed rice and served with chicken organs soup). Pricing is about 30.000 VND (1.3 USD) per dish. When be there, you may see eaters using recycled paper to clean chopsticks. These characteristics strongly assist you to identify authentic local food stalls.

Without any chairs or tables, stalls of Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), Banh Trang Nuong (grilled rice paper), caramelized seafoods (squid, crab or fish), mango cake (glutinous rice cake with crushed peanut, white sugar, salt and seasame), Xien Thit Nuong (barbecued pork served with rice paper, salad and fresh peanut sauce) or Che (sweet soup cooked by cane sugar, beans and seeds, topped with coconut milk and small coconut crackers)  is favourite of   

Things to do in nearby area

Pubs and bars on Nguyen Phuc Chu Street

Well! After try foods, getting one drink at riverfront bars on Nguyen Phuc Chu Street will be awesome. Especially, several of them are only late bars running after 12:00 a.m in Hoi An. There is no trace of the same type within the ancient town because of city strict regulations.

Once enter Hoi An Night Market, you probably meet their staffs introducing promotions and even take you to the bar if would like to check. As a standard, cost of one beer at these bars starts from 20.000 VND (0.85 USD). Staffs regularly ask for payment right back of each order came.

At the end of the market, it has one local stall close to the riverside, suitable to local experience seekers. Leaning back on the low plastic chair, drinking cold beers and communicating with city residents. Otherwise, given a pleasant  vibe after long shopping-eating time. The way of chilling out here is simplier but meet what people need, in cases.

Around 3:00 a.m, the bars often close. You may be hungry after partying, however, 3-4 Vietnamese sandwich stalls are available in the immidiate vicinity.

Chill in the highest rooftop bars in Hoi An

The Deck of Hotel Royal Hoi An (the highest rooftop bar) is in walking distance from the night market. Follow Nguyen Phuc Chu, cross the bridge and you’ll arrive it. From this Hoi An’s best rooftoobar, the atmosphere is breezy, Bohemia and relaxing. You’re able to go swimming in the spacious pool nearby. Very well-deserved to pay a visit in the sunset and evening. Get in touch for more information though its Facebook page, telephone number (+84) 2353950777 or Email info@hotelroyalhoian.com.

Night market area around Hoi An central market

Eating in Hoi An central market’s outside at night

After the sundown, you are likely to see vendors and street stalls at outside of Hoi An central market. They often open until 10 p.m but occasionally close sooner because the numer of tourists decreases.

You may expect for relatively diverse souvenirs, pretty trinkets and especially tasty foods from Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), grilled skewers, crispy prawn rice pancakes, Banh trang nuong (‘Vietnamese pizza’), doughnuts, caramelized seafoods, Che (sweet soups) to local snacks. Among them, Banh trang nuong appears in the bulk of stalls. It  is rice papper topped by quail eggs, pork saussage, green spring onion plus crispy flakes, grilled on hot barbecue and served with chilli sauce/ketchup. Vegetarian option gets available on request.

What to buy?

As same as padelling bicycle across rice paddies, you find a relaxing vibe when shop around here. It originates from not too large amount of sourvenir and trinket vendors together with their fair price. This is a good pick if you really do not have much time. By the way, it takes only few walks to approach taxis for transfering all over the city including shutlle bus of numerous resorts.  

Position mainly on Tran Quy Cap or Bach Dang streets, vendor stalls display options from embroidery bags, mass-produced trinkets, bamboo cooking tools, key rings, metal works, potteries to postcards printing impressive moments of Hoi An. Importantly, it’s nearly always not crowded during their opening period. The price

On the alleyway of No.12 Bach Dang Street, it has few locally-owned lantern stores. Fact that their location is very calm and not much pedestrian walking into. Hence, we able to find one well-priced lantern as well as its varied models. By the way, the alley has a numer of linkable eateries you may notice for pleasant dinings that give away from hustle and bustle of main streets. 

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Tam Le Van

Tam is a tour leader and passionate traveler who has beautiful memories over 50 provinces of Vietnam. During the time Corona virus spreads out globally, he decides to become a blogger to share his experiences.
Contacts for work: Levantam0906@gmail.com or (+84) 968009827

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