In Hanoi, for those who love flowers or participate in flower-related work, probably no one is unaware of a place that whenever being mentioned, its name reminds people of a truly beautiful and fragrant destination: Quang Ba night flower market (chợ Hoa đêm Quảng Bá). Located five kilometers away from the center of Hanoi, Quang Ba (Quang An) Flower Market is an ideal place for purchasing flowers and an appropriate place for discovering Hanoi at night.
When roughly everyone in Hanoi falls asleep, Quang Ba flower market “wakes up”. Visiting this special flower market, visitors can not only enjoy the colorful and fresh beauty of numerous flowers but also learn something about the working life of flower sellers in this night market. Besides, sometimes, trying to do something as weird as shopping flowers at night would not be a bad idea, right?
- Location: 236 Au Co Street, Quang An Ward, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Normal days: 11 p.m - 6 a.m daily, except for Tet holidays
On the holidays: 9 p.m - 6 a.m (because flowers’ consumption need is much higher)
Peak hours: 01 to 2 a.m on normal days, and 9 pm to 10 pm on holidays
History of Quang Ba Flower Market
In the past, thanks to the self-sufficient needs of people living in flower-growing villages in Tay Ho and Tu Liem areas, the Quang Ba (or Quang An) flower market was spontaneously founded, located at the junction of Xuan Dieu and Au Co Streets. However, after the establishment of Tay Ho District in 1996, it was then moved to the current location. Since this movement, the market has witnessed considerable development, soon becomes one of the largest night flower markets in the Northern part of Vietnam.
Quang Ba market nowadays not merely sells locals’ flowers but also sells imported ones. The exotic flowers are gotten from various sources, from national provinces (Vinh Phuc, Da Lat,…) to international areas (China, Thailand, Netherlands, South Africa,..). Each season, each area has its own flowers; therefore, flowers sold at Quang Ba Flower Market are seasonal and numerous.
Highlights of Quang Ba Flower Market
1. Chances For Strange Experiences
Even before reaching Quang Ba night flower market, tourists have a high tendency of discovering new things on their way to the market. This is because Quang Ba market is only open at night and will complete before the sunrise. Therefore, on tourists’ way to this market at night, they will surprisingly discover a new aspect of Hanoi, an abnormally quiet Hanoi, a Hanoi with distinguished cultural beauty.
People often say that visiting Quang Ba night flower market is such a “weird” experience. Absolutely, but in the most positive way! Visiting Quang Ba market, people would have priceless chance to try two “seem unbelievable” things in Vietnam, maybe even in the world! First, while the whole city is falling asleep after a long and hard-working day, when everyone assumes that, apart from some entertaining night activities, nearly all working activities are stopped, a bustling market is still open. Secondly, when the majority of consumers choose shopping for flowers in the early morning so that they can totally observe their beauty, this market sells tons of flowers each night.
2. Friendly Atmosphere
Quang Ba night market, which is located on Nghi Tam dike (Tay Ho district), takes place every night and is always full of sellers and buyers. Flower market usually lasts from 23:00 to dawn, selling an enormous range of flowers, from various sources, both nationally and internationally. This market is a paradise for retailers as its vendors offer wholesale flowers at such a reasonable price.
For the first time being at a flower market in the large scale and at Quang Ba market in the small scale, visitors will be highly likely to be fascinated by the numerous flower stalls of all species and colors. Not only the most common, traditional flowers such as roses, lilies, chrysanthemums and so on but also the imported ones like willow, tulip,… are sold at the market, of course, with such a low cost.
When spending time visiting other markets, it is common to see the bustling atmosphere, which is typical for any market. However, in this market, though the hectic atmosphere is still an unavoidable thing, the way sellers treat their products is more gently. Unlike food or household trading, flowers are in need of being treated carefully. Thus, each time you visit this market, you will see the florists “cherish” and gently select the freshest, most beautiful branches, then gently wraps them in a paper, put them at suitable places where they will wait to be sold.
3. Better View Into The Marginalised’s Lives
In addition to the beauty of the flowers, going to this market provides travelers priceless opportunity to understand the lives of Hanoi manual laborers at night better. Regrettably, opposed to the prosperous bustling life which is often seen in the morning, there are a plethora of marginalized people who are waiting for the night to make their living. These people spend their lives making living on flowers, working even when others are falling asleep or even on the holidays. In spite of their hard lives, sellers at this market still bring Hanoi a fantastic scene at night, a scene that is covered with colorful flowers and fragrance.
4. Enjoy Another Aspect of Hanoi’s Night
In Quang Ba flower market, there are a large number of buses carrying flowers going in and out. The laughter, the offers of the sellers, the bargain of the buyers create an energetic scene, which makes it hard for people to believe that this is the living night scene of a capital, of a city that has one-thousand-year history and culture.
5. Familiar Customers and Visitors
Even though this market is specialized for selling wholesales, it is still possible for consumers to buy a small number of flowers for daily activities. Therefore, familiar customers of this flower market are not only the small vendors but also normal buyers, who come to search for flowers at such an appropriate price. Usually, people will see some women coming to get several yellow daisies’ bouquets to put on the altar for religious purposes or even to decorate their houses colorfully.
Sometimes, small groups of high schools or universities’ students are seen to wander around Quang Ba market, looking for some pristine white daisies or yellow sunflowers branches, in order to make their yearbooks’ photo more impressive.
At times, people meet foreign tourists wandering to explore Hanoi at night with a camera in hand. Opposed to the customers, who often try to finish their purchasing as fast as possible so that they can start their working day on time, visitors should walk slowly, so that they can leisurely enjoy the fragrant beauty of Quang Ba flower night market.
Opposed to the customers, who often try to finish their purchasing as fast as possible so that they can start their working day on time, visitors should walk slowly, so that they can leisurely enjoy the fragrant beauty of Quang Ba flower night market.
6. Beautiful Shimmering Scenes
Lastly, for first-time visitors, who worry that the dark of the night will prevent them from totally enjoying the flower market, there is no point in worrying about that. Each stall will have a small light so that the sellers, as well as the customers, can conveniently purchase the flowers. In fact, the shimmering light of a tremendous variety of flower stalls offers viewers a surprisingly awesome scene, the scene in which Quang Ba night flower market is immersed in splendid, colorful colors and light.
Choosing Flowers and Bargaining at Quang Ba Night Flower Market
1. How To Get The Freshest Blooms
Going shopping in Hanoi, especially shopping for flowers in the wee hours is undeniably a relaxing and interesting experience; however, it is not easy to choose the freshest as well as the most beautiful flowers. In fact, for first-time buyers or foreigners, it can even turn out to be a hard challenge. Flowers, similar to any other goods, are expensive at times and sluggish at times. Thus, it is evident that there will be a number of flowers not being sold at their freshest condition.
Embarrassingly, some sellers are not really honest. They will sometimes mix the old bouquets (that may remain from the previous day) into the new ones. In the dark of the night, under the deem light from the stalls’ overhead light bulbs, inexperienced customers would have a high possibility of purchasing old flowers.
To solve this problem, each time going to this night flower market, visitors should remember to carry a flashlight so that they can illuminate to observe the flowers more thoroughly. To figure out whether the flowers are fresh or not, look at the calyx as well as the leaves. If the calyx still sticks to the flowers’ head, you can know that these flowers are just collected. Moreover, buyers can discreetly pick a flower branch’s random leaf, if it still attaches to the branch, then this flowering branch is fresh.
In addition, for small flowers such as heath bell flowers or so on, buyers can hold the bouquets upside down to see if there are any flowers or leaves falling apart. If the answer is “No”, then congratulate, you have chosen a fresh bouquet! However, if the answer is “Yes,” then you had better choose another bouquet, or, a better choice: choose another stall.
2. How to Bargain at Quang Ba Flower Market (Tips)
Do not forget to bargain. Please do not be shy as it is one part of the purchasing process here. If you are lucky, you may get a little off for the flowers. However, if you want to get the lowest price possible (which, surprisingly, is really cheap), you had better purchase flowers in large numbers. For wholesale, the price can be merely VND 50,000 for a bunch of 50 blooms.
Lastly, another tip to get the best price for you: The flowers’ costs of stalls located at the end of the market are usually lower than those of stalls situated near the market gate.
What to Eat After Visiting the Market
Flower Market does not sell food, of course. But if you want a wealthy breakfast to get your energy back after a busy night wandering around Quang Ba market, then you can find a plethora of restaurants near there.
If you are willing to try traditional Vietnamese food, you are suggested to go along the outer surrounding areas of the market. On the left-hand side, tourists would find several food stalls, which offer you a quick and simple breakfast for an energetic day.
However, you want to have a wider range of choice (and, ideally, if you end up your small journey through Quang Ba market in Dong Xuan Market), have another small walk toward the Old Quarter, you will find numerous amazing food spots here, both local and international. Absolutely, the food, as well as cuisine at Hanoi Old Quarter, will make your mouth ever watering.
How to Get to The Market
As the market will take place at night when there is (of course) no bus running, tourists may only have two ways to get to the market at that time:
- Motorbike: Hire a motorbike in advance and use google map to find the way leading to the market.
- Car or taxi: For a safer choice, book a Grab taxi or Grab car in advance and simply use them to get to the market.
Travelers are highly recommended to choose the later option as finding ways yourselves a night to a strange place would definitely a daunting challenge!
Tips and Tricks Before Wandering Quang Ba Night Flower Market
- Arrive at The Market Early if You Want to Purchase Flowers
To get the freshest as well as to have a much larger range of choices, buyers are advised to go to the market as early as possible, the ideal time should be during the peak hours.
Usually, after 4 a.m, the freshest flowers are sold out. At that time, in order to get the lush flowers, customers have to buy flowers from the “secondary agencies”, who firstly buy fresh flowers from the original sellers in peak hours, then sell them to customers in a later time. Consuming flowers from these “secondary agencies”, of course, would limit customers from choosing the most vibrant blooms, also, this means customers would also have to purchase flowers at a much higher price.
Even for visitors who come to enjoy Hanoi’s hectic market life only, the peak hours should also be the most appropriate time to come. The reason for that is easy to understand: As time goes on, the most beautiful flowers are sold, the smaller number of people is at the market, and, of course, no one wants to wander around a market with less lush flowers as well as fewer customers. Quang Ba market in “not the peak” hours is regrettably not as vibrant and awesome as it is in the peak ones.
- Be Polite When Taking Photographs
Apparently, the majority of people coming to this market are to earn their living; therefore, it can be disturbing to get in their way while you are too engaged in taking photos. Thus, please try to carefully notice the surrounding areas even when you are taking photos. You, surely, do not want to be in a quarrel or in danger as there are plenty of vehicles here.
Additionally, some vendors will not want to appear in your photos. So, to avoid potential trouble, and also to show your courteous, tourists are advised to ask people who you are aiming to take picture of whether it is fine for them. It is always good to be a polite traveler, right?
- Keep An Eye On Your Belonging
Embarrassingly, in each crowded market, there are several bad people (pickpockets, for example). Therefore, for your own safety, carefully keep your eyes on your belongings. In fact, you had better leave all of your passports as well as important papers at your hotel, only carry a small amount of money and low-valuable things. This, evidently, will bring you safe feeling and help you conveniently enjoy the night flower market.
- Quang Ba Market in Tet Holidays
As mentioned above, the market will be open earlier in these holidays, so tourists should plan to go at their most appropriate time as the peak hours these days will be from 9 to 10 pm. In these national holidays, there will be some kinds of special flowers being on the sell, for example, Nhat Tan blossoms, wild blossoms, kumquat, apricot, narcissus and so on. Unlike normal days, the market these days will be expanded to several square kilometers on the Nghi Tam Dike, leading to a lot more hustle atmosphere. As a result, if possible, travelers should truly plan to visit this market on Tet holidays as they will see another aspect of Vietnamese holidays, a very traditional one. The unique atmosphere here at that time will cheer tourists up, undeniably.
Quang Ba Flower Night Market is considered a paradise for flower-lovers, where roughly every kind of flower can be found. Visiting this place, tourists would have a priceless chance of learning and discovering new things. So, why not give this spot a try?