What’s next after exploring Ben Thanh Market? You should walk around Ben Thanh streets as well. Every travel opens our eyes to see more of the world and observe the way of life of the locals. If you are into serious food dining and shopping, there are many cafes, eateries and sport wear shops next to Ben Thanh Market to check out.
BEN THANH STREETS
Similar to streets of Bangkok, you have many choices to shop for cheap products. Popular brands such as The North Face and Deuters bag are going for as low as VND $100,000 (SGD $6.40). One don’t have to guess whether it’s genuine material or not.
However, not all are cheap though. Kids’ sports shoes cost about VND $450,000 (SGD $29). It’s better to pay more to get genuine products.
It is a common sight to see locals sitting along the streets to have their meals.
Within walking distance from Ben Thanh Market is a mini-shopping haven. Saigon Square is on the corner of Nam Kỳ Khởi and Le Loi in District 1. It is a two level shopping centre that is filled with shops selling fashion, accessories and jewellery. If you are looking for bargains here, you should pay a visit to Saigon Square.
Location: Corner of Nam Kỳ Khởi and Le Loi in District 1
Just right in front of Saigon Square is the mega Saigon Centre which was opened by Keppel Land. Located at 65 Le Loi Street (or 92-94 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street), District 1, the seven-story building houses more than 400 domestic and international brands.
Japanese retail giant Takashimaya is the major tenant in Saigon Centre, whose gigantic department store occupies 15,000 square meters of the 55,000-square-meter building.
Saigon Centre makes it a good spot to chill out and escape from the afternoon heat. With restaurants, food stores, and coffee shops in this building, you will be spoil for choices.
We stopped over to try out the crepes at First Love Patisserie.
Oreo chunks in between of every crepes layer topped with cookie crumble. Each layer is spread with chocolate cream rich in cocoa and completed with a caramelized surface.
The matcha ice cream looks tasty and it cost about VND $35,000. They are generous with the portion too!
A visit to Vietnam is a must to try their authentic cuisine. There is this interesting restaurant called Co Thanh that attracted us with its color and store layout.
Remember in the previous blog post we did not have pleasant dining experience in Ben Thanh Market. The food was so-so and they were expensive. So we strongly recommend trying out the food in shopping centres. Same price and better taste!
Bun Bo (Beef soup w/thick rice noodles and vegetables) for VND $80,000.
We loved the soup base. The dish looks down-to-earth and delicious.
Bo Bia (Vietnamese style popiah) for VND $45,000.
Goi Cuon Thit Nuong (Grilled pork spring rolls) for VND $60,000.
We were glad to make it to Chị Thông which was highly recommended by one of the parents of Small M’s classmates who was a local. To understand how popular this place is, just remember Chị Thông is often hailed as the “Top 3” favorite Saigon street food listing. We came during the night and alas, it was raining heavily. So heavy.
The place was packed with customers.
Interesting for adults but not for the little ones. Big and Small M preferred a more comfortable place so we wasted no time and made the orders. This is the famous Bún Thịt Nướng in Ho Chi Minh City and we finally got to try it.
VINCOM CENTRE B
Our feet were wet by the rain and visiting the biggest shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh is a perfect respite for us.
You can find all kinds of kids’ stuff over here.
The shopping centre is pretty quiet. We visited Pho Hung Chinh Hieu to try out their dishes.
A look at their menu.
Nem Nuong Cuon Banh Trang (Grilled pork balls served with rice paper and vegetables) for VND $69,000. Cheaper than that from Ben Thanh Market.
Pho Ga (Pho with chicken fillet) for VND $74,000.
Beef ball soup.
Vincom Centre B houses a big cinema.
Those who just want to chill out can try cafe hopping.
Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t have much places designed for kids. If you are hoping for some Australia’s Dream World or Sea World Resort kind of amusement park, most probably you will leave disappointed. But we guess you can still find some activities for kids. We chanced upon this arcade centre at Vincom Centre.
This arcade centre is really really huge. At the far end corner, kids can play bumper cars. The rest of the arcade centre is filled with countless game machines.
Each credit cost about VND $5,000 (SGD $0.32). We visited this arcade centre for 2 days as this is the ‘best’ we could find to entertain the kids 🙂
BEN THANH NIGHT MARKET
The rain continued and we took a cab back to Ben Thanh to explore the night market before returning to hotel.