Memorable moment: Tan Dinh Market, Saigon

In this post, I tell the story of how a trip to Tan Dinh Market turned into an ‘Amazing Race worthy’ memorable moment.

‘Memorable moments’ are those travel memories of a time, a place or an experience that stick with you and bring a smile to your face years later. Here on the blog, the ‘Memorable Moments’ series is like a set of postcards on the fridge – each one a snapshot and the short story about what made that moment memorable.

This series is open to guest bloggers of any genre. If you have a memorable travel moment you would like to feature, leave a comment below letting me know and I will email you with details and add you to the schedule. You will need to provide one reasonably good quality photograph (can be watermarked), a story of 200-400 words which describes that moment, and a short bio and link your blog.  

Tan Dinh Market, Saigon

Tan Dinh Market:


Dateline: 3 January 2015

Queenie needed to buy a lot of fabrics for some projects she’s making this year as part of her applied fashion design studies, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to see if we could get what she was looking for while we were in Ho Chi Minh City. We met a lovely local designer, who gave her the run-down on the best places to buy fabric, and sent us to the Tan Dinh markets which are known as the material markets.

She told us to to go to a specific stall within the markets, and wrote a note in Vietnamese for us to give to the stall-holder so that we’d get a better deal than the ‘foreigner prices’.  She wrote the name of the stall and its phone number at the top of the note, and off we went.

We arrived at the market, and realised that we had no idea where the stall was within the market. Tan Dinh Market consists of many, many stalls…all piled high with folded fabric, and separated by tiny walkways less than a metre wide.  So, armed with our piece of paper, we walked up and down each walkway, trying to match the words and phone number on the paper with the signage above each stall. It was like an episode of The Amazing Race, where you shake your head at the contestants’ inability to match a single symbol among hundreds of very similar ones in a temple.  It seems easy in the comfort of your living room, not so easy when you are the contestant.

Eventually, on our second pass down a particular aisle, the shout went up: “That’s the phone number!” Queenie had spotted the right stall. She handed over the note, and went on to purchase metres and metres of fabric at a fraction of what it would have cost at home in Melbourne.

And we all felt like Amazing Race winners.

Have you had any ‘Amazing Race’ experiences?

This post is linked to:

Four Around The World
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