Markets - Binh Tay Market
THE BIGGEST MARKET IN SAIGON
Located on Hau Giang Street in District 5, Binh Tay Market is situated in a beautiful and elegant building of Chinese design.
Binh Tay Market's beautiful facade has made it popular with tourists, as the distinctive reddish-brown roof tiles, and the yellowy colored central clock tower make Binh Tay Market one of the more attractive and photographic markets in Saigon.
Binh Tay Market is also informally known as Cho Lon Market, while District 5 is also informaly known as Cho Lon.
The Cho Lon area is essentially Saigon's Chinatown, and the Chinese facade of Binh Tay Market reflects the long historical Chinese infleunce that Chinese culture has had in the area.
The Cho Lon area was originally a separate city from Saigon, about elevin kilometers south-west of Saigon.
Over time as the two cities grew larger and crept together, the decision was made to offically merge them together, and the Frech colonial government officially merged Cho Lon and Saigon on the 27th April 1931... not that you would be able to guess that they had been two separate cities today.
Original Cho Lon Market - Saigon
Cho Lon itself was settled in the 18th century by the Hoa, a chinese minority livng in Vietnam.
They had fled there village of Thanh Ha in the Cu Lao Pho region, they were escaping the violence in the Cu Lao Pho region that had erupted as a result of the Tay Son uprising.
Tay Son forces had marched south, and in 1777 they fought against the forces of the Nguyen Court in Cu Lao Pho.
The local Hoa chinese were in turn perescuted for their support of th Nguyen Court.
As a result many Hoa Chinese fled and settled in Minh Huong Village, the site of today's Cho Lon Market.
Cho Lon Post Office Today, sight of the original Cho Lon Market - Saigon
Settling in their new area they built a market on the site of today's current postoffice in Cho Lon.
The new market was bigger than the preexisting market, and hence was given the name Cho Lon which literally means "Big Market," Big(Lon) Market (Cho).
The Cho Lon Market became a center of commerce for the area, with merchants and traders coming from far affield to sell all types of goods from chinaware, paper, jewellery to books, medicines and tea, a victim of its own success, though, this lead to a problem of over crowding in the area.
This lead to an enterpresing chinese entreprenuer by the name of Quach Dam (1863-1927) to step in.
Quach Dam bought 25,000 square meters of marshland in Binh Tay Hamlet, which he had filled in with earth.
He then proposed to the local autorities that on this newly bought land he would build a new market for the province made of reinforced concrete, if the authorities agreed that he could build streets with rental houses near the market.
The authorities agreed, the merchants would get a new larger and cleaner market, and Quach Dam would regain his investment through the surrounding rental properties.
The market built by Quach Dam is the market you see today, and was finished in about 1928.
Binh Tay Market Entrance - Saigon
The reason that I like Binh Tay Market so much though, is that, even though the streets outside the market are hectic and filled with motorbikes, once you are inside Binh Tay Market, all that noise can seem a world away.
This is because right in the middle of Binh Tay Market there is a rather peaceful little courtyard.
The courtyard is centered on a memorial stone surrounded by four large fierce bronze lions and four large bronze dragons.
Initially when the monument was first built there was a statue instead of the memorial stone. The statue was of Quah Dam, the Chinese business man who had heavily financed the building of Binh Tay Market.
Binh Tay Market Entrance Today - Saigon
The original statue of the Quach Dam can still be seen today at the Fine Art Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, but the original bronze lions and dragons that surrounded the statue are still in place at Binh Tay Market.
The enclosed nature of the courtyard, combined with the bronze statues and the surrounding trees and shrubs, make the courtyard quite a peaceful, interesting and at times delightful place to have a break from a hectic day's shopping.
You can sit back in the shade and relax away from the street noise and the haggling while others finish the shopping for you.
In terms of what Binh Tay Market has to offer, Binh Tay Market is particularly good for body care products like shampoos, body lotions and creams.
Courtyard - Binh Tay Market
These can be found inside the market on the far side of the courtyard on the second floor, where you will be able to find all your favorite brands such as Nivea, Dove and so on.
Binh Tay Market is also particularly good for household items.
So if you are looking to kit out a new house or a restaurant, Binh Tay Market is a great place to look for items such as bowls, pots and pans, plates, washing tubs and so on.
The reason that Binh Tay Market is so heavily stocked with goods, is that a lot of the trade that goes on at Binh Tay Market is wholesale. Many Vietnamese who own stalls at other markets will buy their goods in bulk at Binh Tay Market, and then transport them to their own market to resell.
Therefore whether you are interested in shopping, or old-world Chinese architecture and design, Binh Tay Market has something for everyone!
Binh Tay Market
Copyright ©2007-2012 By Saigon Scene.com