We went to the Cho Binh Tay at 11:30am and left at the Main Bus Stop about 300metres away from Cho Binh Tay at 2pm.
It was big…there were 2 floors but we visited only the ground floor as I was having trouble climbing and descending staircase after my trip to CuChi Tunnel 2 days earlier(another tip, for those who are not fit or not used to exercise, like me, try to schedule your trip to CuChi Tunnel on the last day of your trip to HCMC in case of any injury or just simple thigh muscle pain).
It took us one hour(without shopping) to walk through approximately half…..errrr…error, it should be 20%(updated) of the ground floor at leisurely speed. (a.k.a. window shopping)
It was not as hot or humid as I expected. I didn’t even use the mini electric fan that I brought along. Perhaps, it was cloudy on that day. It was quite a leisurely walk although we have to stop often to give way to workers carrying goods.
We bought 4 bamboo lamps at 70,000VND each (about SGD5) with approximately 25cm diameter (screw type) (without plug, just a wire hanging out which I have to fix a new one with my country’s 3-pin plug).
Bought some Lotus Seed snacks at 180,000VND per kilogram for the sweetened type and 240,000VND per kilogram for the unsweetened type. (Co-op supermarket and Tax Centre supermarket are selling at 60,000VND for 200grams). Taste differs slightly for all 3 types(sweetened, unsweetened, supermarket) and to first-timer like me, I like all 3 tastes. You may try them before you buy. We sampled many stalls before we settled for one stall who gave us a small discount. Tastes & Prices differ slighly among the stalls so, if you’re particular about them, try all before you decide.
There were one long row of hot food stalls where a lot of locals are buying food from.
We did not eat there as the row behind the food stalls were selling fresh meats and seafood.
And, we were reluctant to try the hot food in the front row even though it looked acceptably clean.
If you are lucky to get a taxi driver that speaks your language or English and are talkative,
he can tell you about where the Chinese mostly lives in Ho Chi Minh City and show you along the taxi ride the various landmarks/town and the story behind it. Our driver were a Chinese who can speak Cantonese just like us.
Taxi from Cho Ben Thanh(Le Loi Street side) in District 1 to Cho Binh Tay in District 6(bordering 5) was about 125,000VND in a Vinasun Taxi.
Taxi back to Cho Ben Thanh(Le Loi Street side) in District 1 was between 95,000VND to 100,000VND(i’ve forgotten the exact amount) in a Vinasun Taxi.
Exchange rate during my visit was approximately USD 1 = 19,000 VND.
Below is the official website that I saw written on the market main signage inside the building above the escalator. You can get an idea of the size and market shape from here http://www.chobinhtay.gov.vn/View.aspx?id=17
There are some photos of the market front and garden and also how it looks like many years ago in a black and white photo.
They even show the prices of some of the main goods in that website.
Hope these info help some of the future visitors.