Saigon’s Chinatown market back in business

By Quynh Tran   November 13, 2018 | 11:10 am GMT+7

Saigon’s iconic Binh Tay Market will reopen on Thursday after a two-year hiatus when it closed for repairs.

Traders move back as Saigons Chinatown market to resume operations

Erstwhile traders at the wholesale market in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 6 are moving their goods from a temporary market on Thap Muoi Street back to the new one in preparation for the reopening day.

The 90-year-old market had dramatically deteriorated after nearly a century in use, prompting authorities to shut it down in November 2016 for a major restoration project.

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Some vendors had to hire porters to transport their goods to the new stalls inside the market.

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There are around 1,500 stalls inside the market, selling various items from retail textile, clothing, cosmetics, souvenirs and packaged goods to Chinese-influenced delicacies.  

Some fabric sellers arrange their goods in their stalls.

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The interior of the market has been painted with new colors. Over 1,000 stalls have been rebuilt, fire safety equipment and sound systems installed, as also safer electrical wiring and a wireless internet network.

Several traders are busy cleaning up and decorating their stall before the market officially resumes operation on Thursday, November 15.

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A worker installs a new sign for a stall selling footwear.

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A vendor prays at the statue of Quach Dam, a Chinese rice trader who donated money to build the Binh Tay Market, now seven kilometers (4.3 miles) southwest of the city's center.

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Constructed in 1928, the 25,000-square-meter market is appreciated for its bagua-shaped design. Bagua is a Chinese religious motif that incorporates eight trigrams including the sky, fire and wind that are arranged in a circle symbolizing yin and yang.

The market, famous for its clock tower and a central courtyard, used to receive more than 120,000 foreign visitors every year before it was closed for repairs.

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Nguyen Thi Hanh, 65, who has been a vendor at the Binh Tay Market for nearly 30 years, rearranges cosmetics products in her stall.  

"My business has gone down since I have moved to the temporary market. Some of my regular customers couldn’t find me there. The cramped and hot space there also deterred many customers from coming," Hanh said.

"I hope everything will be better in the coming time."

 
 
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