Not only does Hoi An have plenty of lovely things to look at and plenty of stuff to keep you occupied, there are also 3 markets in town. The two main markets each have separate buildings, just a few minutes from each other, both are easily accessible from the street or the riverside road. One of the market buildings is the cloth market for non-food items and the other is a food market
THE CLOTH MARKET
The cloth market has a large number of small stall holder selling fabrics, more to the point offering tailoring services at a cheaper rate than the shops, with no examples however it can be harder to make a decision. If ready made clothing is preferable the upstairs section has arrange of this from infant to infirm. If the idea of custom made shoes appeals the cloth market has a range of cobblers too, but do make sure you know exactly what you are getting, agreeing on every detail, the soles, lining, laces etc.
This non-food market does seem to stock less consumables for locals and much more tat geared toward the tourist. There are also a wide range of tourist related purchases to be made from quite a few small stalls, the welcoming comments often dissuade me from looking as they come across as pushy, rather than welcoming.
Blessedly the food market has retained it’s local flair and is unmistakeably geared towards local consumers. With a wide range of fruit and vegetable stalls outside many people selling their wares directly from large baskets, the fresh fish is here too.
Inside the main food market building appears to be divided into 3 sections the first the butchery arena, with large chopping blocks, bits of meat and some live poultry. The second section has more packaged items, teas, coffee along with dried spices, herbs, rices, grains and the obligatory dried fish selection along with some basic kitchen equipment. It is a fairly limited selection. The third section is a cooked food section, and to be honest I didn’t look in here. I’m not sure it would benefit my gastro health to eat here.
I really do love visiting the local markets, yet I feel voyeuristic when taking photos in markets, I’m not contributing to their lives, just taking a quick intrusive glimpse.Yet I cannot express in words the atmosphere I can collect with a single captured image.
Across the bridge from the old town this night market is quite nice. The stalls are cleaner, the hassle less and the chatter generally better than the towns main markets. The stall are filled with all the classic tourist items and some slightly classier Hoi An specialities.
The night market offer really is similar to the tourist items available at the cloth market, just a bit more approachable.
An added benefit also is the pure photogenic nature of it, all lit up with dozens of oriental lanterns in stunning in their colour range and shape.