The Soai Kinh Lam Market has long been famous for its offer of a large variety of textiles and fabrics in Saigon, so many tailors and designers within the city often visit this market to purchase their customers’ favorite types of fabric. This is located in the busy Chinatown area, where daily business activities are always hustling. This is one of the local markets you should visit to see the livelihood of Saigon.
465 – 473 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
7:30 AM – 5 PM. Because this is a wholesale market, the trading activities are always bustling and lively from the early morning to the end of the day. The rush hour of the shops takes place throughout the day, other than the noon times when locals take breaks from the scorching heat. Since market activities can be overcrowded, we recommend that you be extra cautious when you visit with children.
How to Get to the Soai Kinh Lam Market
From the center of Saigon, the distance to the market is 6 kilometers. This market is accessible by bus, taxi, or motorbike. Buses numbered 01, 56, 45, and 96 run from the Ben Thanh Bus Station, near Ben Thanh Market on Ham Nghi Street, to the Soai Kinh Lam Market every day. On the other hand, traveling by taxi or motorbike allows you to see more interesting local activities on the streets, but it will cost you a little more than public transport at around VND 30,000 – VND 100,000.
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The Chinatown – Where Soai Kinh Lam Market is Located
The Soai Kinh Lam Market is a special area of Chinatown, where the migrants from China chose to settle in from two centuries ago, and most people in this town are of Chinese origin, so you will see unique characteristics and business cultures of the Chinese community in Saigon when you wander around the market.
When in the area, we suggest you spend time visiting Cho Lon, which is another special old local market in Saigon, only a 10-minute walk from Soai Kinh Lam Market.
Chinatown is a special attraction in Ho Chi Minh City with many over-two-decade old local markets
Read more about Chinatown in Saigon.
The History of Soai Kinh Lam Market
Before 1975, this market had been established, but it was not popular and crowded. No one knows exactly when the Soai Kinh Lam Market was founded. After the Independence Day of Vietnam, according to the government’s policy – the centrally planned economy, people were not allowed to do their own business, so the market had to be shut down for many years. Until 1989, starting with the new economic policy, the government then allowed the market to start trading again. And since, Soai Kinh Lam has become a bustling market.
Previously was known as “Thuong Xa Dong Khanh”, which means Dong Khanh Trading Center, and it was not as popular as it is now. Gradually, more people gathered here to establish “the most famous town of fabric and textile” in Saigon. However, most locals just remembered the name of the luxury Chinese Soai Kinh Lam Restaurant near the market. Thereafter, the name of Thuong Xa Dong Khanh was changed to Soai Kinh Lam.
Driving down on the one-way Tran Hung Dao street in District 5, you will see the big board with red letters marking “Thuong Xa Dong Khanh” in front of the market building. Rows of clothing, and apparel stores surrounding the Soai Kinh Lam Market and their vast number of colorful fabric commodities will be hard to miss.
The local business activities in the Soai Kinh Lam Market
Soai Kinh Lam Market – The Paradise of Fabric and Textile
The top floors of the market building are old apartments of the locals who have been living there for a long time. The ground floor is the space for merchandising, so the market is not too large to wander around on foot. It would take you about 30 – 60 minutes to wander around the whole market. Each stall is marked with shop numbers and the owners’ names so it is easier for buyers to spot their favorite shops among the 500 vendors in the Soai Kinh Lam Market.
The old apartments above the Soai Kinh Lam Market
The stall fabric materials vary from luxury to more common types like silk, cotton, wool, and velvet. They are mostly imported from China, but there are also other countries like South Korea, Japan, India, Thailand, and Cambodia. According to a few owners, the average number of fabric sold daily is between 100 to 200 meters.
In the Soai Kinh Lam Market, people can easily find some special kinds of textiles that are only used to make festival costumes and traditional dresses that are hard to find in other markets. Inside and outside of the market is always crowded with retailers, sellers, and workers who are there for shopping, making deals, and transporting commodities to many shops in Saigon as well as other provinces across the country. Many rolls of the textile are transported in and out of the market on scooters and pushcarts.
The Dong Khanh Trading Center is always packed with busy workers and abundant choices of colorful fabrics. Normally, the business is more prosperous at the end of the year as customers have a higher demand for making new clothes in the new year. Only by visiting the market will you understand and feel the special things that make the market impressive, attractive, and so popular in Saigon. Also, you will get to experience the true local culture and their ways of doing business.
Transporters at Soai Kinh Lam are always busy with their work
The competitive prices, the variety and uniqueness of fabric materials, and its long reputation attracts many people, both locals and foreigners alike, to the Soai Kinh Lam Market. Most of the stalls are specialized only a certain kind of fabric, and the prices will depend on the color, exotic, and material of the cloth. For example, a meter of chiffon fabric is about VND 160,000 to VND 180,000, while the same length of buckram could be as low as VND 40,000. Special kind of fabric which is often bought and used to make Ao Dai at the highest prices, costing at least VND 250,000 for one meter.
Fabrics to make Ao Dai
Sellers in the market are generally helpful when you need advice on purchasing the fabric as a souvenir. If you are confident with your knowledge of textile prices in the market, you can always give bargaining a go.
There are many kinds of fabric for customers to choose and make their own clothing
Summing up on the Largest Fabric Market in Saigon – Soai Kinh Lam
As the largest fabric market in Saigon, Soai Kinh Lam Market attracts local and foreign visitors with its various colorful, pretty, and cheap fabrics and textiles. When in Saigon, we recommend you come to visit to see how the Saigonese live and work for their own business in the local market.
If you are interested in exploring and seeing more of Saigon, do write to us for more information through our contact us page or let us know in the comments below.
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