After six weeks in Ho Chi Minh City, I joined my brother, sister-in-law, and baby niece for a weekend getaway in Da Lat, a town less than an hour plane ride to the north, nestled in Vietnam’s highland region. Located in between winding roads on hillsides and serene lakes, the scenic views in Da Lat are endless, and the average temperature remains cooler than that of Ho Chi Minh City.

One day we opted for time in the city rather than the surrounding natural sights. My brother and I ventured into town to walk around the market. What I imagined to be a small street market turned out to be a buzzing event, spanning multiple blocks. All kinds of fruits and vegetables imaginable, and some unimaginable, were displayed for shoppers, along with flowers, desserts, fresh milk, fish, and other assortments of fermented vegetables. In the center of the block was an open-air building with rows upon rows of dried fruits and candies sold by the kilo.

We decided to return to the market at night to try the local street food for dinner. Upon returning after dark, we were amazed to find the market had multiplied with many more vendors, from street food to toys and t-shirts, and a vibrant energy radiated from the market as people poured from every entrance to take part in the night market.