Chợ Hoà Bình – Peace market
Chợ Hoà Bình–also known as Chợ Giời, or Chợ Trời (Heaven market)–specialises in new and secondhand car parts, motorbike parts, sound systems, electronics and just about every tool under the sun. If you need to fix or customize something this is the place to go. The size of the market and the range of wares are absolutely astounding – its neigh on impossible for any handyman or handywoman to walk out empty handed, clutching anything from a cellphone cover to a drill bit.
The market covers a vast area, with shops and stalls sprawled over several streets. Some of its alleyways are unbelieveably narrow, but that doesn’t stop the motorbike shoppers–they maneuver through with ease nonetheless.
Location and times
Chợ Hoà Bình opens early, at around 7am, and stall vendors don’t start packing up until 5pm with some remaining open even longer. Bear in mind, though, the customary Vietnamese lunchtime siesta from 1 to 2pm: quite a few traders won’t be open at that time. Early afternoon, though, is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the traffic chaos.
The best way to visit the market is to take a tour with Viet Tracks. We can help you find what you need and negotiate respectable prices. For those who’d like to discover it on their own, it’s located near the start of Phố Huế Street. Take the first right and you will mostly see sound system shops, several streets and alleys to the left are where the maze begins. You’ll soon find yourself surrounded by rusty old sprockets, power tools and colourful buckets of grease that look like flavoured ice cream.
The Peace market is said to have originated in 1954. It has grown substantially since last century and this has seen it expand over several more streets where residents now procure all manner of contraptions and gadgetry.
The market has a questionable reputation amongst locals: it’s said that stolen and fake goods are traded but in reality it’s pretty good. The biggest danger is overpaying: be prepared to bargain and, if you don’t like the price of an item, simply move on!
At the edge of the market at 33 Thịnh Yên Street is Chùa Vua Quán Đế Thích (King Temple, also commonly known as Hung Khanh pagoda). It was established by a prince during the Lê dynasty (1428-1527). By all accounts, this prince was a skilled traditional chess player and there gardens were an ideal location for playing. Chess competitions were held regularly there, and to this day it is famed for tournaments, attracting players not just from Vietnam, but from all over the world. These tournaments are held between the 6th and 9th lunar months of the year. Those able to win for 3 consecutive years are deemed worthy to have their name etched on a stone stele in the temple.
Being this old, the temple has been rebuilt several times, though it still contains a wide variety of ancient statues and artifacts. Its most recent rebuild followed an attack by the French in 1947, when it was being used as a base for Vietnamese revolutionaries.