Chinatown, Ho Chi Minh City
Another name for china town in saigon is cholon. cho means market, lon means new. Although it is called chinatown, different from china town from other places, most chinese here dont know how to speak mandarin. Basically most of the chinese in Vietnam lost their mother tongue slowly when time passes, which is actually very unfortunate.
Binh Tay market in ChoLon. Cho means BIG and Lo means MARKET. Old French style houses are still surrounding the market. In the center, there is and open space, decorated in a chineese style.
If you end your trip in Vietnam in Saigon, this is the place to buy all the things you want to take home.
This sector of Saigon, populated by some 400,000 ethnic Chinese, boasts numerous beautiful pagodas and one of the most exciting markets in the city. A short stroll through the market offers a kaleidoscope of colours and a hive of activities.
Caution: Be aware of pickpockets known to loiter in the market area.
Cho Lon means "big market" and the Binh Tay Market is the largest market in Saigon's Chinatown. Much like Ben Thanh Market, the aisles are full of just about anything that you would need for the modern Vietnamese life. However, the prices are generally cheaper than Ben Thanh.
At the center of the market is a courtyard garden for you to escape the craziness of the shopping.
Although many Chinese fled after the fall of Saigon and the anti-capitalist, anti-Chinese campaigns of the late 1970s, the place still has a distinctly Chinese flavour. You can hear Chinese dialects being spoken and can easily find shark fin soup in the area.
District 5 is known as Cho Lon - literally "Big Market" - but is often referred to as Chinatown because of its large ethnic Chinese population. While it is a major commercial center of HCMC, it is also the site of many richly decorated Chinese temples and pagodas. Many of the other buildings, particularly on Hung Vuong Street, are a distinctive mix of Chinese and French architectural styles.
There are a number of pagodas in Cholon. [The Vietnamese use the term "pagoda for any temple] The Thien Hau Pagoda was the one we visited. It reveres both Buddha and the goddess of the sea.
The spiral incense cones burn for a month -- inside is a tag that lists the prayer request.
Saigon's Chinatown is in District 5. The heart of this bustling area is the Binh Tay Market. Although it is primarily wholesale, it is well worth a visit for the activity and the shrine in the middle -- where the vendors pay their respects before the work begins.
Please visit my Cholon travelogue for more on Cholon.
This area is basically the same thing as Ben Thanh but to a much larger scale. I actually got a little disoriented wandering among the merchandise! Many of the people who work in this place speak both Vietnamese and Chinese (some Mandarin, some Cantonese) so it was a relief for me to be able to communicate a little easier with them.
There are many, many restaurants and shops in the area, you could probably spend quite a bit of time here if you so desired.
Going to the markets were a great treat. Not only did you get to meet the people, but you were able to see some very different items. Eggs are not that different, until you look at how many types there are and the different way to prepare them.
Cho Lon, Saigon’s Chinatown, is one of the oldest, mysterious and most interesting parts of Saigon. Cho Lon literally means ‘big market’ and the vast Binh Tay Market lives up to that reputation. Though not as centrally located as the famous Ben Thanh Market, it was the first market I visited in Saigon.
Unlike other markets, Cholon Market hasn't changed since the days of the Viet Nam War. Here you will find derelict shells of old French style houses that are still surrounding the market building. When I arrived it was probably in the mid-80s Fahrenheit but because of overcast skies and a little breeze it was humid but not stifling. The market, however, was crowded and under its roof it did get pretty warm. I took my time shopping and I would suggest that you do also. The aisles are narrow, the din is loud, and the people are scurrying about or squatting in the narrow passages to talk or eat. The variety of goods here is positively astounding and will give you uncanny glimpses into modern Vietnamese life. I took a lot of pictures and my guide and I stopped often to inquire about some eye-appealing trinket or to haggle over the price of some pistachios.
At the center of the Binh Tay market is a very nice, eye-appealing courtyard of trees, beautiful shrubbery and stonework. Get your camera out as you will be taking photographs of the courtyard and the delightful market.
Saigon seems a paradise for shoppers. You will find tacky tourist junk right next to beautiful local handicrafts that are situated next to glittering fake-brand watches. And basketry and cloth seems to be in endless supply. If you love to shop and have at least some rudimentary bargaining skills and a good eye for value, your money will go a long way and you can enjoy virtually endless retail entertainment. Your bargaining skills will come in handy almost everywhere in Saigon as long as you avoid the major tourist-bus stop shops. Generally speaking, anything not marked with a price sticker can be had for about two-thirds the price first quoted.
There is a strong chinese presence in all the city, in spite of the efforts of the Government to keep them out. But where this presence is harder is in the western district of Cholon.
There you will find traditional chinese shops (tea, medicines, clothes...), restaurants and the main market, which really deserves a visit to get lost among the hundreds of stalls selling evrything that could get out of your mind... name it, it's there!
Cholon means 'big market' and the Binh Tay Market is certainly that. There is also the Quang Pagoda (District 5) and the Thien Hau Temple.
A very busy place and extremely interesting to watch the daily sights.
Cholon is the Chinese district of Saigon, and probably the largest Chinatown in the world. Cholon is a fascinating maze of temples, restaurants, jade ornaments, and medicine shops. Start at the Binh Tay Market, on Phan Van Khoe Street, which is even more crowded than Ben Thanh Market. From Binh Tay, head up to Nguyen Trai, the district's main artery, to see some of the major temples on or around it. Be sure to see Quan Am, on Lao Tu Street off Luong Nhu Hoc, for its ornate exterior. Back on Nguyen Trai, Thien Hau pagoda is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, and was popular with seafarers making thanks for their safe trip from China to Vietnam. Finally, as you follow Nguyen Trai Street past Ly Thuong Kiet, you'll see the Cholon Mosque, the one indication of Cholon's small Muslim community.
Cholon (Saigon Chinatown) is one of those neighborhoods you must visit on the East bank of Saigon River. The markets are cool and while you may think twice about purchasing from me, the goods are fresh and hormone free.
Binh Tay, with a wonderful array of noises, smells and colors, is one of the most colorful and exciting markets in Saigon.