April 2018. Wherever I am in Asia, it doesn’t take me long to sniff out the local markets, especially when I’m in desperate need of some major T-shirt replenishment. This amazing indoor complex on the northern edge of Hanoi’s old quarter was built in 1899 by the French. It’s Hanoi’s biggest and boldest market and whatever you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find it here.
April 2018. I spent a good ninety minutes or so exploring Dong Xuan’s stalls, spread out across three floors. I’d been expecting at least some level of in-your-face hassling; after all it wouldn’t be an authentic Asian experience without someone shoving a tacky fridge magnet in your face and yelling inanities like “best price” and “for you cheap-a-cheap-a”. But much to my delight that didn’t happen once.
April 2018. In fact, most of the vendors at Dong Xuan can barely be assed to lift their eyes to look at you as you sift through their wares. Instead they sleep, play with their phones and watch movies on their tablets. And quite frankly, that’s the way I like it.
April 2018. I felt a bit sorry for some of the women in Dong Xuan’s unloved seafood section. They weren’t getting much tourist action; I guess when you’re dragging yourself across Vietnam with nothing but a rucksack, you just don’t have room for a kilo of shrimp.
April 2018. I’ll always remember the market’s central square and it’s fountain that served as the backdrop for my short “Gooooood Morning Vietnaaaaaaaam” video. I remember the locals laughing and clapping, though a few western tourists around me looked a bit scared. I got my T-shirts in a stall near the fountain, a blue Hanoi piece and a Good Morning Vietnam number in black and red. I paid a trifling 1000.00VND (£3.10/€3.60/$4.40) for the pair. Dong Xuan Market is open daily from 06:00-19:00.
For more on Vietnam’s amazing capital, have a look at my other pieces from around Hanoi.
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