What does a traditional Vietnamese market look like?

The Interior of Dong Xuan Market

By:  Tran Chau, KF13, Viet Nam

Modern shopping centers and supermarkets are new to Vietnam.  They are frequented mostly by the small and powerful middle class, have western products, and carry western price tags.   For the rest of the nation and for those who favor the established ways of the east, traditional open air and partially enclosed markets are full of activity from morning until night.

A third party logistics service infrastructure is recognizable in the mornings.  At the Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi, small trucks packed full of bulging polypropylene bags pull into a receiving area.  Motorbikes and people on foot swarm the truck and the bags are extracted and delivered to their rightful owners in what can be described as an orderly frenzy.

Inside the market are items which will be ruined if they get wet when rain falls from above.   Vendors selling shoes, socks, ties, hats, coats, wallets, bags, luggage, toys, accessories, etc. are packed in tightly.  There are no monopolies in this layout.   Tens to hundreds of competitors are seated next to one another in areas organized by the products that they sell; it is a delicate recipe which can produce best friends or mortal enemies.

On the outer edges of the market, vendors sell knick-knacks, preserved seafood, and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables.   Food vendors reside across the streets and also are scattered throughout the surrounding area.  They make lunchtime deliveries to their customers and return later to retrieve their dishes and utensils.

The photos below depict what I describe above.  Your loans have the potential to help Kiva entrepreneurs through liquidity constraints, allow for larger and cheaper purchases of inventory, and pave the way for greater overall flexibility and improved standards of living.

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Tran Chau is a Kiva Fellow (KF13) currently based in Ha Noi, Viet Nam.

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