On our first day while exploring the Old Quarter on foot, we came by Cho Dong Xuan or Dong Xuan Market which was Hanoi’s largest indoor market.
It was a Thursday afternoon and it didn’t look that crowded on the outside so we thought it would be a good time to walk around and have a look.
We were so wrong because the market was bustling with many people (mainly the locals) that some of the more narrow lanes between rows of shops became almost impossible to walk through.
Don’t expect shop vendors here to smile at you or welcome you into the shop to have a look at their wares. This is more of a wholesale market and local retailers would come here to buy goods for reselling though I don’t think they will reject your business if you’re really keen to buy something.
All kinds of goods were sold here. There were adult and children wear, fabric related products and accessories, towels, bedding and so on.
Shoes for women and men were aplenty as well.
Bags including replica branded ones that looked very fake. Seriously, nothing caught my fancy because the designs were quite old-fashioned which I didn’t even think my mum would like.
Hair accessories for women and kids.
Dried goods took up quite a huge section in the market. Worth walking through these shops to have a look because I did spot many unusual stuffs that I had never seen before.
The most friendly vendors in the market were those selling souvenirs or food products that were catered more for the tourists.
The lady at this food gift stall was very amiable. I was merely squatting down to have a look at the cashew nuts because D wanted me to help him buy garlic cashews and the lady boss started offering us dried mangoes and also cracking open macadamia nuts for us, lol. How hospitable.
Of course when we asked how much the stuffs were, we were quoted pretty high prices and we weren’t confident that we would be able to slash the high prices to an acceptable level. Hadn’t seen enough stuffs yet to have an idea on base prices anyway. Since we weren’t in the mood to bargain, we smiled and walked away. She wasn’t even angry or anything like that. Still smiled back at us, lol. But I must say, the snacks that we sampled tasted pretty fresh and good. The dried mangoes were not loaded with sugar so for those of you who don’t like super sweet stuffs, you might want to check them out here.
I don’t really find Dong Xuan Market an ideal place for shopping as it’s not meant for tourists anyway. But I guess it’s still worth coming here to have a look because it’s an iconic market (and attraction) that was built by the French administration in the 19th century. But be warned, there may be some people lugging heavy bags or transporting goods on trolleys so if you happen to be walking in front of them, they may either push you or shout at you abruptly so you can get out of their way. Don’t be offended, that’s just the way it is.
Cho Dong Xuan
Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem
Opening hours: 12.00am to 11.30pm daily