The Dong Ba Market can be found in Hue Vietnam and it is the oldest market in the entire city. You will find this fabulous market over on Tran Hung Dao Street, right on the banks of the Perfume River. There is a massive red sign out front that states Cho Dong Ba, which translates to Dong Ba Market.
Dong Ba Market was not the original market in Hue. Years ago, Qui Gia Thi was the name of the market, but it unfortunately burned to the ground when Hue was attacked during the summer of 1885. It was two years before the current Emperor at the time, Emperor Dong Khanh, had the market rebuilt and he is the one who gave it a new name.
This market is approximately sixteen thousand square meters, which is excellent for all the vendors that are inside selling their goods. As you are wandering around, you will find everything from clothing and handicrafts to meat, seafood, and produce.
The Dong Ba Market has served as the main food source for the locals of Hue and while it changed locations in 1899, that change only made it easier for people to do their shopping there.
The Dong Ba Market opens at three o’clock in the morning and stays open until eight o’clock in the evening. If you are looking for the freshest food options, you may want to arrive at three o’clock and do your shopping with locals who own restaurants and cafés in Hue.
The vendor stalls are not truly in any order, although a few will seem to have been strategically placed. Therefore, you should plan on needing to walk around for a while until you find exactly what you are looking for. The only thing that shouldn’t be too difficult to find is the food court, which is where all the prepared foods are sold.
The food court is located down on the ground floor and there are plenty of options for you to choose from. While you can dine there at any point in the day, the locals say that they prefer to eat there in the morning, between the hours of eight and eleven. It is at that time, you can enjoy many traditional Vietnamese breakfast dishes that include fresh spring rolls, banh khoai, and pho.
Popular Items Inside the Dong Ba Market
If you have never been to the Dong Ba Market before, you probably do not know what you should be looking for. Since there are so many products inside, we thought that it would be helpful to share a few of the popular items with you.
The locals of the nearby villages are all known for making some type of one-of-a-kind handicraft item and you can find them all within the Dong Ba Market. The craftsmen in Phu Cam Village have been making conical hats from woven bamboo leaves for generations. Women will love the silhouettes inside the hats, while men will love how the hats keep the sun off their heads. Over in Phuoc Tich Village, the locals spend their days making pottery, as well as shrimp paste, which is the best in the country.
If you have the time, you must stop at a local tailor to have an outfit designed and made especially for you when you are visiting Hue. There are plenty of fabrics for you to choose from at the Dong Ba Market, so wander around until you find the piece that speaks to you the most. And if you do not have time to have something handcrafted, you can pick up a ready-made piece while you are at this market as well.
Hue, and the entire country of Vietnam, is best known for its tropical fruits. While you can grab some fruit that you would eat back home, we recommend having a taste of the rambutans, durians, dragon fruits, and jackfruits. The custard fruit is also wonderful, and you will have many different options to choose from.
There are not many shopping opportunities in Hue, which is why this one is so popular. It may be a little bit of a walk to this market for you, but there is a bus stop there, so you can easily hop onto a bus and arrive there quickly. You can also choose to ride a motorcycle or cyclo over to the Dong Ba Market.
We recommend that you plan on spending a few hours at the Dong Ba Market, especially if it is your first time there. The reason for this is that you will need to walk quite a distance to see everything that interests you and you will need time to sit and look around as you eat a traditional Vietnamese dish and watch the locals go about their daily lives.