There’s something fascinating about markets as a way of gaining insight into a local culture. Across Vietnam, markets play a vital part in people’s daily lives, and by immersing yourself in the chaos and observing the bustle and exchange of goods, there’s a great deal to learn and appreciate. Here in Quy Nhon, despite the addition of a couple of supermarkets and a shopping mall in the last few years, traditional markets remain more popular amongst locals. Read on for our complete guide to Quy Nhon’s markets.
As a visitor, markets are a great way to support the local community, buy local produce and sample local food. With international tourism being relatively low key in this region, majority of the markets here are targeted solely at residents and local tourists. This means that, unlike a lot of the big cities, you’ll less likely be charged a ‘tourist price’.
From fruit and vegetables, seafood and fowls through to clothing and general home goods, there’s a handful of busy, colorful markets around Quy Nhon that’s worth adding to your itinerary. Here are four that we recommend you take a stroll around.
Khu 2 Market (Chợ Khu 2)
If you’re looking for a bustling market full of color and life, Khu 2 Market is the one to visit amongst Quy Nhon’s markets. Better known as a seafood market, these days you’ll also find plenty of fruit and vegetable vendors about. Open daily from 3pm, this is when fishing boats will bring their catch straight from the Quy Nhon Harbor.
Located on the corner of Pham Ngoc Thach and Nguyen Hue, the best entry is down an alley coming off Pham Ngoc Thach. Motorbike parking is available across the road from the market for 4000 vnd ($0.15 USD).
Khu 2 Market is easy to spot once you’re close as vendors are sprawled out on the street selling fruit and snacks. Entering the alley, you’ll have to work your way around vendors and customers picking out their choice fruits and vegetables. With a few small alleys splitting off, you will eventually come to the main area which is divided into clear sections: one for fruit and vegetables, another for spices and other dry goods, and the largest section dedicated to fresh seafood.
Come early and you’ll see the daily catch piled high, with women selling every different sea creature imaginable. From giant squids, clams and crabs to all different species of fish, it’s all very fresh and very affordable.
For any visitors looking to buy seafood at the market, it’s worth noting a few tips to picking out fresh seafood. When buying fish, ensure its eyes are clear not dull and grey, the skin should be vibrant and glossy not discoloured and patchy, and it should have a fresh briney smell not a strong fishy odor.
Where to find it: 110 Nguyen Hue, Tran Phu, Quy Nhon City
When to go: 3pm onwards
What do buy: Seafood is very well-priced here if you plan on doing some cooking during your stay.
Dam Market (Chợ Đầm)
By far the largest of Quy Nhon’s markets, Dam Market offers a wide range of goods from fabrics, accessories and shoes to seafood, live animals and general household items. Originally a seafood market, you can now buy just about anything here.
Housed in a large square building, Dam Market can be entered from Pham Hong Thai Street and Nguyen Huu Tho Street. There is covered motorbike parking conveniently located at each corner of the market.
The market opens from 7am and these early hours are ideal for stocking up on fresh seafood and meats. While the focus here is wholesale, you may still be able to buy smaller quantities at a higher price. Come later in the day and you’ll find the complex a lot calmer and quieter. It’s easy to get lost in a maze of tight passages between towers of stacked fabrics, handbags and shoes.
Moving to the east side, the market opens to a covered outdoor area with vendors selling a wide range of meats and local produce. Here, you can also find locals conversing around tables and even the odd group singing ballads on a portable karaoke machine. There are some food stalls that line the pavement, mostly serving small snacks and desserts.
At the Pham Hong Thai entrance, you’ll find a stall fixing watches as well as a handful of older men mending shoes and clothes with vintage sewing machines. If you’re a keen photographer, a stroll around Dam Market sheds an unique insight into the local culture of Quy Nhon and there are plenty of interesting scenes worth capturing.
Where to find it: 112 Hoang Hoa Tham street, Quy Nhon city
When to go: Early morning
What do buy: Fabrics, shoes, or simply enjoy the atmosphere and spectacle
Quy Nhon Night Market
Situated around the corner from the giant copper statue of President Ho Chi Minh and his father, Quy Nhon Night Market is well known for its cheap clothing and accessories. With prices starting as low as 35,000 vnd ($1.50 USD) for clothing items, it’s no wonder this market is particularly popular with local students.
Similar to what you would find in a shopping mall, Quy Nhon Night Market sells shoes, clothes and accessories like sunglasses, watches and jewellery. For those who are after brand imitations at affordable prices, this is the market to dig through. Again, keep in mind that everything here is targeted at locals and not foreigners.
If you’re feeling peckish, there’s a row of food stalls near the entrance. Take a seat and enjoy some local delicacies like snails and shellfish simmered in lemongrass broth. There is also an impressive range of meat on sticks – a convenient snack for stall-browsing.
The night market is open from 6pm, but we recommend getting there around 7pm to catch everything in full swing. As it’s not far from the beach promenade, it makes the perfect spot to begin or end your evening stroll. Of all of Quy Nhon’s markets, this may be our favorite one.
Where to find it: Le Duan, Ly Thuong Kiet, Quy Nhon city
When to go: 7pm onwards
What to buy: Clothes, accessories, street food
Nguyen Nga Center
Unlike the others in this list of Quy Nhon’s markets, Nguyen Nga Center is a different kind of market. A social enterprise for children with disabilities and special needs, all items sold here are handmade by the students of the center.
Established more than 25 years ago by Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga, its plan was to provide support and opportunities for the disabled youth of Quy Nhon. Today, it has grown into a multi-faceted centre with a cafe, teaching facility and craft store. The students here are trained in a variety of skills including sewing, embroidery, painting and playing musical instruments, through to coffee-making and customer service. Currently, Nguyen Nga Center supports 50 students in total; some live in the center and some live in the dormitory.
Conveniently located right next to Thap Doi Towers makes this cafe and shop a worthwhile stop on any itinerary. Pop in, enjoy a coffee and check out the well-stocked craft shop. The wide range of goods include clothing, silk scarves, handbags, satchels, bookmarks, hand-painted cards and more. Majority of the items have been made in traditional Binh Dinh style, making them perfect souvenirs to take home.
If you’re around for long, you may also have the pleasure of listening to an impromptu musical performance by blind students using traditional Vietnamese instruments.
Where to find it: 882 Tran Hung Dao, Quy Nhon city
When to go: Between 7:30am – 5pm
What to buy: Locally-made craft products, perfect as gifts and souvenirs