An exploration of a local market gives you a tiny glimpse into life in Vietnam, and the markets of Hanoi are no exception.

Discover the tourist centric Hanoi Night Market, where you will find your typical souvenirs and trinkets. And don’t miss the intimate neighborhood markets where you will experience the vibrant Vietnamese community.

Most people living in Hanoi (and Vietnam) still use local markets as their main source of shopping. And why not? Vietnamese markets have everything you need: meat, produce, fabric, daily living essentials, house goods, and much more.

Even better than the sights, sounds and smells you will experience are the people you will encounter. Excited kids attempting to practice their English, hard working women enticing you with their best products, and motorbike drivers who adeptly moved in and out of the chaos.

These 7 Vietnamese Markets are ones you shouldn’t miss when you are in Hanoi.

Quang Ba Flower Market

Vietnamese Markets: Quang Ba Flower MarketVietnamese Markets: Quang Ba Flower Market

When walking through the streets of Hanoi, you won’t miss the women cycling around town with baskets full of flowers. Buy some beautiful flowers from them, OR go straight to the source at the Quang Ba Flower Market. If you have the stamina to stay up extra late (or the vigor to wake up in the middle of the night) your efforts will be rewarded. The busy market is one of the largest flower markets in Vietnam, it’s specialty being flowers from all across the country.

Stroll the market (beware of all the motorbikes filled with flowers!) and soak in the atmosphere: mountains of flowers, a riot of colors, a buzz in the air. You will likely be the only tourist, but don’t let that intimidate you. The vendors are honest, and flowers are so cheap, you won’t even want to bargain (Chris was buying me bouquets of flowers for 50,000dong- $2).

When to Go: For the liveliest of times, get there at between 12am and 6am, though if you come later in the morning or earlier in the night, there will still be plenty to see.

How to Get There: Hail a taxi or summon an Uber

What to Buy: Well, flowers!

Location (for the GPS): Quang An, Tay Ho (Au Co Street)

Cho Hom Market

Vietnamese Markets: Cho Hom MarketVietnamese Markets: Cho Hom Market

This two story market, south of Hoan Kiem Lake, may seem like an ordinary wet market, but it’s much more than that! It is home to the best selection of fabrics in Hanoi. Whatever fabric you have in mind (silk, suede, linen, cotton, etc.) you will find here.

Weave yourself through the labyrinth of fabrics on the second floor: hundreds of tightly packed stalls piled high with fabrics in a rainbow of colors and textures. Buy your fabric by the meter, then take it to a tailor around town for some custom made clothing.  Even if you are not interested in sewing or getting anything made, it’s worth a visit to check out the amazing colors and energy.

When to Go: Early in the morning, by noon, most of the fabric stalls have shut down.

How to Get There: Walk south from Hoan Kiem Lake for about 15 minutes. The market is on the corner of Tran Xuan and Pho Hue.

What to Buy: Fabric

Location (for the GPS): 149 Pho Hue

Hanoi Weekend Night Market

Vietnamese Markets: Hanoi Weekend Night Market

photo by Greg Willis via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

If your time in Hanoi happens to fall on a weekend, get ready to brave hoards of people at the Weekend Night Market. You will find all of the usual stuff at the local markets + touristy things like shirts and knick knacks as you battle motorbikes, persistent vendors and loads of people.

If the only opportunity you have to see a Vietnamese market is this one, then you should definitely check it out. BUT (in total transparency) out of all the markets in Hanoi, this one is my least favorite.

The best part about this market is centralized spot in the Old Quarter. Once you’ve had enough, escape to Bia Hoi street where you can sit back and watch the chaos unfold from the comfort of a tiny plastic stool.

When to Go: Friday-Sunday from 6-11:30 It’s only open on the weekend (hence the name)

How to Get There: Walk. Get a map from your hotel and wander the streets until you find it. It runs up Hang Dao Street all the way to Dong Xuan Market.

What to Buy: Any knock off item you are in the mood for!

Location (for the GPS): Hang Dao Street, Old Quarter

Dong Xuan Market

Head just north of the Old Quarter for a taste of Hanoi’s largest indoor market. This is not a tourist market, so if you’re looking for Saigon t-shirts, you’ll have to look elsewhere!

This is where locals come to do their shopping. You’ve got your wet market on the ground floor with a huge food section. Then the upper two levels have bags and clothes and house ware essentials. It’s a fun experience squeezing through the narrow passageways from stall to stall and seeing what people in Vietnam are purchasing.

While you might not be interested in purchasing anything from this market, it’s a great spot for some photos and a glimpse at the biggest market in the city.

When to go: Anytime during the day, just not during lunch time

How to Get There: Walk north up Hang Ngang Street – it will change to Dong Xuan Street and you can’t miss it!

Location (for the GPS): Dong Xuan Street

Long Bien Market

Vietnamese Market: Long Bien

photo by Mark EMorgan via Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Just under the Long Bien Bridge, and at the southern end of Yen Phu Street, is the Long Bien Market – the largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables in Hanoi. It is the distribution spot for most of the produce in Hanoi. You know those ladies you see walking around town with baskets of fruit on their shoulders? They stock up here super early in the morning.

The truckloads of produce arrive after midnight, which is when the market really gets rolling. It’s cool to see vendors and buyers doing their exchanges by the light of fluorescent lights. Chances are you won’t be buying anything, so just try and stay out of the way and take it all in!

When to go: Between 1am and 6am

How to Get There: Walk from the Old Quarter. Just head toward the Red River and look for the bridge.

Location (for the GPS): Under Long Bien Bridge

Chau Long Market

A Vietnamese market in Hanoi, Vietnam

This is your typical wet market; medium size and full of fruit, veggies and meat. It’s a dark and wet environment with something new and interesting to look at around every turn. You probably won’t be the only tourist, as the Hanoi Cooking Centre is right next door. They bring their classes here for a market tour (that’s how I learned about this market the first time I visited Hanoi).

It is also here that I discovered my favorite Vietnamese snack: bo kho

Dried beef that is sweet and tangy at the first bite, soft and chewy in the middle, and spicy at the end. One hundred grams should set you back about 20,000VND (~$1) Every year I’ve visited, the lady selling this is in the same spot at the back of the market near the tables for eating!

When to go: Early morning

What to Buy: Produce, meat, snacks

How to Get there: It’s an easy walk from the Old Quarter. Just head north toward the lake. It should take about 20 minutes.

Location (for the GPS): 112 Tran Vu

Yen Phu Market

I’ve saved the best for last (in my opinion) as this is the most lively, local market experience you will have in Hanoi. The Yen Phu market is a maze of vendors through the small streets of Tay Ho. It’s here that I saw my first fully roasted dog (shock and sadness, of course, but that’s normal here!), and had a lovely Vietnamese woman walk me arm in arm through the market.

This is definitely not a tourist market (but that’s what makes it so great!), and there is almost no information about it online. I only discovered it on my many wanderings around the neighborhood. Best to check it out for yourself!

When to go: Early morning

What to Buy: Produce, meat, snacks

How to Get there: It is walkable from the Old Quarter, it will just take you awhile. You should grab a taxi or get an Uber.  If you happen to be staying Tay Ho – it’s across the highway on the other side of the dyke road.

Location (for the GPS): Ngõ 108 Nghi Tàm, Yên Phụ, Tây Hồ

When visiting a Vietnamese market in Hanoi (or elsewhere in the country) here are few things to remember:

  • Bargaining is not only advised but expected. Start at 50% of what they ask
  • Markets may look disorganized, but there is a place for everything!
  • Wear closed-toe shoes. You never know what may be flying around. Also after it rains, the floors get pretty messy.
  • Be on high alert for motorbikes – they will come whizzing by!
  • Be prepared to see some things you might not want to see (roasted dog, frogs getting chopped up, mice scurrying in and out of all the produce)

Mostly, remember that markets are a life source for the people in Vietnam. Experiencing these Vietnamese markets with all of your senses is incredible…so just enjoy it!
Have you been to any of these markets in Hanoi? What did you like or dislike about them? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Don't Miss These 7 Markets in Hanoi - from fabric markets to flower markets, you will experience the real Vietnam at these 7 Vietnamese markets