A Look Into Hanoi’s Local Markets

A Look Into Hanoi’s Bizarre Local Markets

Of fresh vegetables, dissected animals, and a whole lot of market balagan.

There are typical markets where you get your weekly groceries from, and then there are Hanoi’s markets – overwhelming spaces where you can possibly spot locals butchering boars alive right beside a stall selling fresh flowers. Talk about chaos.

Crazy as they are, these iconic areas in Hanoi are definitely worth a visit – they are sure to leave you with interesting memories and stories to tell… if you make it out alive and don’t get run over by motorcycles zipping through the market aisles, that is.

The setting

hanoi marketsImage credit: Laura Knight

A closer look…

Image credit: Kham Tran

Image credit: Alamy 

No place does ‘organised chaos’ better than the markets in Hanoi. Despite the cluttered stall spaces, locals’ hollers from all over, and the fact that patrons actually shop on their motorcycles, everything seems to fall into place in some way or another.

The usual market sightings

Image credit: Thomas Schoch

Image credit: USA Vietnam Travel

Image credit: Kiek Fabels

Like any other market, the ones in Hanoi sell run-off-the-mill produces, among other things. Whether you’re stocking up on coffee powder or getting some seasonal mangoes, a trip to the market can get it done.

And the not-so-usual ones…

Image credit: John Louis

Stalls in Hanoi’s markets aren’t just on the roads, some are mobile too. It isn’t uncommon to see locals loading their entire stall onto their motorcycles or shoulder pannier baskets. Yes, even the food stalls! Lack of business where you are? Fret not, just pack up and head to the next street.

The locals

Image credit: Malingering

Screen shot 2015-09-12 at PM 08.46.42Image credit: Rose Ferrer, Toyo Raha

Most markets in Hanoi operate from dawn till dusk, on every day of the week. And since the stall holders spend a bulk of their time at the stalls, they make themselves at home with recreational activities aside from selling their goods. From a simple game of chess to catching up on the latest gossips with neighbouring vendors, these locals sure know how to kill their time.

The contented market goers

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Market goers, travellers and locals alike, most definitely will not leave the markets empty-handed. With anything and everything available within these congested aisles, don’t be surprised if you end up buying more than planned during your market visit.

The meat (in any form you can imagine)


Image credit: Thomas Schooch

in your wine,

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Image credit: VietGrant

or brutally dissected…

Image credit: Uta Beya 

Perhaps it isn’t the wisest to visit a Hanoi market right after breakfast…  And even more bewildering is the locals’ nonchalance as they slaughter these animals alive. 

The contagious atmosphere

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Image credit: Steve Evans

Overwhelming and mind-boggling as it is, a visit to a Hanoi market will be a colourful feast for your eyes. Chances are, you haven’t seen any market quite like this. Some notable markets in Hanoi include Long Bien Market, Dong Xuan Market and Ngoc Ha Market.

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Jerlyn Ng
Jerlyn Ng

Jerlyn has an unhealthy obsession with BattleBots and hopes to catch a live match at the arena someday.