September is still considered as wet season here in Ho Chi Minh City, but that doesn’t mean travellers should avoid Vietnam altogether. Downpours don’t usually last more than an hour or so, and the rain cools down the temperature. Travellers willing to explore the city with a poncho at the ready may find better deals on lodging in September and an interesting perspective on how locals live in Ho Chi Minh City, which deserves its reputation as Vietnam’s most dynamic city.
And where else to feel its dynamism than the local markets? The most famous place to start a browsing odyssey is Ben Thanh Market, one of the city’s most iconic sights. Items span from intricate lacquer ware, handmade bags to nodding golden cats and flimsy toys. It’s a fascinating experience nonetheless, but don’t forget to haggle hard — start at 50 per cent below asking then work up. If you’re there during mealtime, stop by the food stalls, and look for places that are crammed with locals.
For Vietnamese crafts, head to An Dong Market. The ground-floor stalls focus on food and the stalls on the top-level showcase the skills of the artisans who continue Vietnam’s proud heritage of lacquer and woodwork. Other charismatic retail hubs include Soai Kinh Lam Fabric Market, where you can find fabric for bespoke clothing, and Le Cong Kieu, better known as Antiques Street.