Hue is renowned for its legendary Trang Tien Bridge, its poetic Perfume River (Huong River), its sacred Thien Mu Pagoda, and also for the bustling and lively Dong Ba Market. The market is not only a place for trade and commerce but also a convergence of cultural essence and the identity of the ancient capital’s people, making it an attractive destination for tourists. If you have come to Hue and haven’t visited this market to buy some souvenirs and enjoy some local delicacies, then you have missed out on a lot. Today, let’s discover this unique market and see what it has to offer!
Introduction to Dong Ba Market in Hue.
Where is Dong Ba Market located, and is it easy to find?
Hue city has quite a few different large and small markets, but the name that comes to mind first is none other than Dong Ba Market. This bustling market is situated on Tran Hung Dao Street, along the banks of the Perfume River in Hue, about 1km from Trang Tien Bridge. With its central location, you will easily spot it while traveling towards the Imperial City of Hue and Thien Mu Pagoda.
What is the history of Dong Ba Market in Hue?
This market dates back to the time of King Gia Long and was originally located outside of Chanh Dong Gate. After the upheaval in Hue’s Imperial City in 1885, the market unfortunately fell under French colonial control. Two years later (1887), under the reign of King Dong Khanh, the market was reconstructed and named Dong Ba Market. In 1899, under the decision of King Thanh Thai, the market was relocated to its current position.
Apart from its role as a commercial center, Dong Ba Market has also been closely linked to many historical events and the ups and downs of the Kinh Ky region for over 100 years of its formation and development. Since its early days, the market’s merchants actively supported patriotic activities and participated in movements against conscription and tax collection, and more.
Discovering Dong Ba Market using what means of transportation? When is the appropriate time?
The best time to visit Dong Ba Market.
At first glance, Dong Ba Market in Hue may not seem different from other markets in Vietnam, but upon exploration, you will realize that it truly deserves the name “the essence of Hue’s markets.” To fully experience the market, start your journey in the afternoon, around 3:00 PM.
Some traders are very careful with their business, and they often avoid adjusting prices or buying and selling goods early in the morning. Instead, they wait until the afternoon when other vendors start “opening their shops,” and that’s when you can freely negotiate prices. Moreover, although the market stalls open from early morning until evening, the famous food stalls mostly operate in the late afternoon. If you want to enjoy Hue’s specialties, this is probably the best time to do so.
Means of transportation to get to Dong Ba Market in Hue.
Due to its central location, traveling to Dong Ba Market is not difficult at all. There are various transportation options for you to choose from, such as bicycles, cyclos (rickshaws), motorcycles, and taxis. In particular, cyclos are very convenient with their spacious seating, high canopy, and safety, allowing you to comfortably stroll and admire the streets.
You can also rent a private car with a driver In Hue from #VnCarRentals to go to Dong Ba Market. Exploring the market takes about 1-2 hours, so with the remaining time, you can visit other places as well. Choosing a private car is a suitable option as it offers flexible pick-up times, avoids additional waiting costs at tourist spots compared to taxis or public transport, and ensures a safe trip with experienced professional drivers who have been serving international tourists for many years.
The distinctive structure of Dong Ba Market in Hue.
Dong Ba Market consists of a total of 3 floors and is located right in the center of the city, referred to as the “bell tower.” It is surrounded by rows of houses forming a U-shaped structure embracing the bell. To make it easier for you to navigate the market, let’s explore the structure of Dong Ba Market in more detail:
Area on the 1st floor
In this area, you will find a wide variety of fresh and dried specialty foods from Hue that many people stop to see. Here, you can admire numerous stalls selling various types of fish sauce and dried goods. The vendors are very helpful in providing advice to tourists and even offer samples to try. That’s why many tourists buy a variety of fish sauce as gifts for their relatives and friends.
Area on the 2nd floor
Moving up to the 2nd floor, you’ll find a section selling handicrafts and handmade gifts displayed abundantly. From conical hats to delicate scissors and exquisite pottery items like clay pots, vases, bowls, all exquisitely sculpted with the essence of the ancient capital. Additionally, you can also admire unique items made from bamboo, such as baskets, mats, beds, and hammocks.
Area on the 3rd floor
Ascending to the top floor, the most distinctive feature of Hue comes to life – shops selling fabrics and traditional clothing. It is likely that anyone who visits here, even just once, will choose some fabrics to tailor traditional “ao dai” dresses, each adorned with unique designs inspired by the highlights of Hue. Interwoven with fabric stores are excellent tailors who create exceptionally unique “ao dai” dresses.
Surroundings of the market
The attractions are not limited to the 3 floors; the area surrounding the market also features many shops selling luggage, electronics, fruits, and flowers. Moreover, you can indulge in various delicious street food offerings from the vendors around the market, ensuring both quality and affordability.
What makes Dong Ba Market in Hue attractive to explore?
It’s not without reason that many people say experiencing the culture by visiting Dong Ba Market in Hue will bring you many fascinating things. Is it true?
Unleash your creativity with photo ops at Dong Ba Market.
The unique charm of Dong Ba Market in Hue lies in its well-preserved ancient design at its entrance and throughout. This has made it a hot spot for photo enthusiasts who love to capture images with a touch of nostalgia and contemplation. You can stand in front of the gate or venture deep into one of the stalls, donning a conical hat or a graceful “ao dai” dress. Rest assured, you will capture extraordinary and distinctive photos in the style of Hue.
A “culinary paradise” within Dong Ba Market.
Stepping into Dong Ba Market means stepping into a culinary paradise with a strong Central Vietnam essence. Here, you will find a wide variety of dishes such as “bun gio heo” (pork knuckle vermicelli), “com hen” (baby clams rice), “bun thit nuong” (grilled pork vermicelli), “nem cha tre” (fermented pork roll), various types of cakes (beo, loc, nam), and desserts (che truoi cooked with fresh ginger, che hat sen), sugarcane juice, and more. All are skillfully prepared and temptingly delicious, leaving an unforgettable taste for even the most discerning visitors.
Dong Ba Market in Hue – a place with countless goods.
Dong Ba Market in Hue is one of those places with a wide range of products for you to choose from, offering essential items for daily life and living. It’s not just a shopping destination for tourists; it’s also a place where locals get their daily necessities. Tourists can visit the fabric and clothing stalls to choose their favorite fabric for tailor-made Hue-style “ao dai” dresses for themselves or as gifts for loved ones.
You will be amazed by the exquisite handicraft souvenirs. From poem-conical hats to intricate jewelry items from Ke Mon’s goldsmithing village. Even more remarkable are the ceramic products from Phuoc Tich village, such as clay pots, vases, jars, and colorful cups of various styles. Not to forget the bamboo items from Bau La and Phu Thu villages, including baskets, trays, boxes, and mats.
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What should you definitely eat at Dong Ba Market in Hue?
It can be said that Dong Ba Market is an extremely unique and captivating culinary paradise. Here, you will find a wide variety of dishes, each with its own distinctive and delicious flavors. Some of the must-try dishes when you visit here include “bun mam tai heo” (vermicelli with pork ear), “banh canh nam pho” (thick noodle soup with crab), “banh bot loc Hue” (Hue-style clear shrimp and pork dumplings), “che bot loc heo” (pork tapioca dumplings in sweet soup), and more.
The dishes here are truly mouthwatering, and the prices are quite reasonable, ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 VND depending on the dish. Enjoying Hue’s specialties at Dong Ba Market is undoubtedly one of the most exciting experiences.
Among them, there are some typical dishes you can try:
Nem lui Hue.
“Nem lui” is a specialty of the Central region, consisting of flavorful grilled meat served with rice paper and fresh vegetables. You can enjoy Nem lui at Dong Ba Market in Hue, particularly at the stalls opposite the roadside, with a price of around 50,000 VND per portion for two people.
Bun bo Hue (Hue beef noodle soup).
Being in Hue without trying “Hue beef noodle soup” would be a miss, as it is a signature dish of the former capital’s residents. You can find this dish in any nook and cranny within Dong Ba Market at prices ranging from 15,000 to 20,000 VND per bowl.
Bun tom chua.
This dish used to be considered a royal delicacy, but now it is sold at an affordable price of only 20,000 VND per bowl. A serving of “bun tom chua” includes thinly sliced pork, fresh vegetables, and the distinctive sour taste of shrimp paste and a clear, sweet broth.
Banh bot loc.
Savoring “banh bot loc Hue” at Dong Ba Market is an authentic experience, as it is both delicious and affordable, priced at 15,000 to 20,000 VND per generous portion, satisfying your hunger for the afternoon.
Che Hue(Hue Tea).
When you visit Dong Ba Market, you must try “che Hue” – a delightful dessert and refreshing drink, especially enjoyable during the hot summer months.
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What local specialties from Hue can you buy as gifts at Dong Ba Market?
On the first floor, you will find an area dedicated to dried seafood and various types of Hue’s specialty fish sauce, pickled shrimp, and “me xung” (sesame candy). Prices range from 10,000 to 50,000 VND. Additionally, you can purchase “Tra Cung Dinh Hue” (Hue Royal Tea) priced from 50,000 to 60,000 VND, and lotus seeds priced from 120,000 to 170,000 VND per kilogram. These items can make great gifts for your friends and family.
Useful tips for visiting Dong Ba Market in Hue.
- When planning to buy items at Dong Ba Market in Hue, don’t hesitate to bargain. Bargaining is a common practice, not only for tourists but also for most local people. Start by offering half of the initial price given by the seller and gradually increase your offer. If you are lucky and skilled in negotiation, you may end up purchasing your favorite items at a very cheap price.
- The market starts gathering around 3:00 AM, and the buying and selling activities are already bustling under the dim, serene, and cool city lights. If you visit during this time, you may find fresh and delicious food. However, if you plan to buy household items, clothes, or specialties, it’s better to visit the market in the afternoon.
- On regular days, Dong Ba Market is already quite crowded, and during holidays and festivals, it gets even busier. This is a chance for you to experience the vibrant atmosphere of the market, but be cautious with your attire and belongings to avoid theft.
- During the Lunar New Year, the market usually gathers on the 3rd day, but based on the experience of those who have been there, it’s not advisable to visit Dong Ba Market on those days as there are very few shops open.
To fully explore Dong Ba Market in Hue, you should dedicate at least an afternoon or even a whole day to wander through every corner and try all the delicious specialties here. Hopefully, this article has provided you with the most useful information about this traditional market. Additionally, don’t forget to search for and stay at hotels located right in the city center or near tourist attractions for convenient exploration.