Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh is a bustling market where you can buy virtually anything. It’s taken days to persuade Mr M that I need to go there, but bless him, he was very patient when we got there! Even he says it’s a far better market than the old market in Siem Reap. Mr M bought coffee beans and after he’d made a purchase he followed me around for a bit!
I would have loved to have taken photos of some of the many fabric stalls that we found, all crammed together down a narrow alley, but I felt I couldn’t as there were no photo signs. Each stall was only a 2m by 2m cubicle and whilst some of the stalls had more than one cubicle it was amazing how much they crammed in! They had piles of fabric from floor to ceiling, covering virtually every edge, so all you could see was the edge of a folded bit of fabric. It was breathtaking. Mr M asked why can’t I keep my bits that tidy!
Unfortunately some of the sellers are a bit too helpful and you can feel obliged to buy something from them, so I didn’t look at every stall, probably only browsing quickly in around one in ten stalls. The Vietnamese dong is obviously a weak currency when you find out that £1 = 33,000VND and $1 = 20,000VND (approximately). This can make mental arithmetic fun when trying to convert prices. Generally we found that 1m of cotton cost 100,000VND and 1m of silk 120,000VND, with some more expensive materials and a few cheaper ones too.
I was very restrained. I think having Mr M with me made a big difference. He was actually looking at fabric on the first stall, but then he got bored. If I was alone I would have got a lot more. I bought some blue silk with flower patterns. It’s a bit creased in my photos but here it is:
I have 2m, at 70,000VND pm. Mr M doesn’t understand that I don’t have a use for it, but I’ll find one eventually. For now, it will make me smile when I look at it and it will bring back memories of today.