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CHOLON
(Chinatown in HCMC/ Saigon)

"To me this is the "real" Vietnam. The district has not changed dramatically in the past 50+ years. Many of the buildings still show awnings from the 1950's. The street markets are wonderful and the people are warm and friendly. Be aware that the majority of residents speak Chinese not Vietnamese."


Chinatown - narrow houses

          Cho Lon - ie Chinatown is the largest district of No Chi Ming City. This is the largest Chinatown, which you can find in Vietnam. "Cho" means "market" and "Lon" means "great." In the center of the district is also the great Ben Thanh Market. Chinatown is located on the west bank of the river.

In 1778, the Hoa (Chinese minority of Vietnam) living in Bien Hoa had to take refuge in what is now Cholon because they were retaliated against by the Tay Son forces for their support of the Nguyen lords. In 1782, they were again massacred by the Tay Son and had to rebuild. They built high embankments against the flows of the river, and called their new settlement Tai-Ngon (meaning "embankment" in Cantonese).


Chinatown by night

 

Chinese are entrepreneurial people and so we started here with a lot of different activities, such as opening eatery serving traditional dishes, selling clothes and household items. Not only tourists can enjoy delicious dishes such as noodle, rice and wontons, they can also enjoy the colourful decorations, different kinds of houses and the vibrant life in this district.

A striking feature of this district are the shophouses, which were built in the early 18th century. A typical retail is only 3-4m in width, but 4-5 times more in length, with an open space. Trading activities often take place in the front part of the house, while the daily activities take place in the back.

There are streets which concentrate on selling unicornhead and royal costumes like Luong Nhu Hoc Street, gems like Ham Tu – An Binh Street, rice in Tran Chanh Chieu Street, etc. Especially on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, there are many stores selling Chinese medicines, where people get the chance to see how traditional medicine is made and used.

 


A little cleanup???

During the Vietnam War, soldiers and deserters from the United States Army maintained a thriving black market at Cholon, trading in various American and especially U.S Army-issue items..
Today the area is a popular place for those who follow the tourist trail. It also attracts many Taiwanese and Chinese visitors. Cholon is an interesting place to see classical Chinese architecture, reminiscent of years gone by with numerous Chinese restaurants. In the Binh Tay Market in the city center is crowded and cluttered with small rows, where they sell all kinds of goods.
This market gives tourists sometimes disappoints compared to other markets in Ho Chi Minh. The products are not as varied, but the main reason to visit Cholon, not shopping, but to enjoy the authentic Chinese atmosphere, which has been here for hundreds of years.
Cholon is a wonderful place to spend the evening.

"Cho Lon is a very busy area but very accessible with Bus #1 from Ben Thanh. This golden dragon is a few streets away from the main bus stop. There is construction works going on the major streets at the moment so it's a bit dusty & chaotic. Lots of shops in this area specializing in different things. Good place to pick up toys, kitchenware, plastic woven baskets & other knick knacks. Prices are reasonable & you can bargain. The lovely Cha Tam Church is also nearby."

 

 

 

 

 


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