Photo: Old and new.

Binh Tay Market

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Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinese settlement was named Cho Lon—literally “big market”—due to its importance as an economic, mercantile powerhouse. And the big market’s big market is Binh Tay (Cho Binh Tay), a photographer’s and curious traveller’s dream.

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Binh Tay market was first established in the 1870s. It was then rebuilt, expanded and reopened in September 1928, garnering it the nickname “new market”, a moniker that has stubbornly stuck to this day. Whatever you call it, it’s now one of the biggest wholesale markets in Ho Chi Minh City.

Easy to spot from a distance. Photo taken in or around Binh Tay Market, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Easy to spot from a distance. Photo: Cindy Fan

The pale yellow building with clocktower and striking Chinese features is an architectural treasure. Unfortunately, the building is in desperate need of repairs. When we saw it in June 2017, it had been closed for renovations/fenced off for a stretch through there were no signs of any work being done. Vendors now sprawl outside in all directions, radiating from the old building. It makes the experience of squeezing through stalls, navigating the labyrinthian alleys, checking what’s slimy underfoot all the more atmospheric and ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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