Binh Tay Market

Out front at Binh Tay Market in Ho Chi Minh City’s historic Chinatown.

This week I am visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on another side trip from Taiwan 台灣. Six months ago I visited Hanoi and enjoyed my time there—check out this photo gallery for a comprehensive overview—so I’m hoping to repeat the experience in the emerging megacity further south.

My first walkabout brought me to District 5 in search of Cholon, HCMC’s historic Chinatown, which was originally a settlement separate from colonial Saigon. Cholon literally means “Big Market” so I made a point of visiting Binh Tay Market (Vietnamese: Chợ Bình Tây), which is just over the border in District 6. Along the way I noticed many temporary structures along the roadway so it was no great surprise to discover the famous market closed for what I would assume is renovation.

A glimpse inside the closed Binh Tay Market. I tried climbing the stairs but was called back by security. Oh well, it was worth a try!

Since the gateway to the market wasn’t sealed I decided to try waltzing in—and was immediately stopped and waved away by a big group of workers all crowded around a table, presumably breaking for lunch. After pointing at my camera they allowed me to snap a few photos from the entrance. Of course, it’s just like me to stumble upon abandoned and disused places wherever I go, but in this case I would imagine there’s a larger plan at work.

Shuttered stalls to the left.
Rainwater reflections to the right.
A path of destruction outside the famous old market. Hopefully they aren’t knocking the whole building down, it’s rather distinctive in its design!

Anyhow, there wasn’t too much to see inside the old market but I want to share at least something from this trip before time slips away. I have a tendency to go on these short side trips and never really get around to sharing much from them—but in this case I later published a series of photos from the trip as well as an extensive report on the area’s many Chinese temples.

For more insight into Cholon and Binh Tay Market have a look at these posts here and here.