Floating markets in Southern Vietnam

The floating markets of Mekong River in Vietnam are considered essential during your trip in Vietnam.

Floating market is an interesting destination not to be missed for both locals and tourists. We need to get there early in the morning to admire the particular beauty of the landscapes on a boat.

Markets last all day, but generally the biggest traffic is very early in the morning when it’s still pretty cool. This is where the actual sales of Vietnamese local products are held, and real exchanges among people for agricultural and food products. There is an abundance of local fruits and vegetables: papayas, pineapples, tomatoes, salads, dragon fruit or sweet potatoes.

In addition, travelers can taste special dishes, like chicken legs, hatched eggs, snails, skewers of meat and a kind of pancake with shrimp and bean sprouts wrapped in a lettuce leaf. To really know the Mekong Delta, it’s obvious not to miss the atmosphere of a market with its flavors and vendors.

  1. Cai Rang Floating Market – Can Tho

 Cai Rang Market is an essential destination which is famous as one of the largest floating markets throughout the Delta. It is about 4km from Ninh Kieu pier to Cai Rang floating market, 30 minutes by boat. The floating market of Cai Rang is open all day but it is the most active around 9a.m. To watch the sunrise and animation market, visitors should leave at 5a.m. This market is a commercial center of the region selling all kinds of local products. Each boat is dedicated to a type of product and the vendors are friendly, always with a smile on their lip.

Travelers can enjoy the food on swaying junks. On these junks, goods are piled up; especially fruits hanging on a bamboo pole of the junk. The agricultural products from the South-West of Vietnam at the moment are the most varied. The place gets noisy with engine sounds or oars in the water, waves hitting on the boats and the voices of people at the market.

These market activities are also an opportunity for tourists to explore the cultural aspects of the South. To visit the floating market of Cai Rang, visitors can join a tour of the Mekong Delta. On the way to Can Tho, they can stop to visit My Tho and take a boat trip to visit orchards, bee farms and coconut candy workshops in Ben Tre.

  1. Tra On Floating Market – Vinh Long

Located in the intersection of Hau River and next to the town of Tra District in Vinh Long province, Tra On floating market is at the end of Hau River. Among the floating markets of Mekong Delta, Tra On is small but very authentic where life is organized around the water. We discover stilt houses, boat shops and hundreds of boats that cross in all directions.

You can also perform a mystical cruise on the Mekong to discover the vastness of the rowers like choreography, daily life and atmosphere of the float of the largest market in Mekong Delta with a myriad of small boats full of local products from all over the Delta (flowers, cabbage, oranges, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, apples, coconut, durian, dragon fruits etc.). This is a truly amazing spectacle of colors.

Tourists attending authentic scenes of daily life of the inhabitants of the banks of the Mekong with incredible boats starting to ship goods.

  1. Long Xuyen Floating Market – An Giang

Located on the Hau River in An Giang province, Long Xuyen floating market is still genuine, little visited and less busy than other floating markets of the Mekong Delta such as Cai Rang or Phong Dien.

This market takes place during the morning hours only, between 6a.m and 9a.m on a distance about 2km of Hau River. From the O Moi pier in Long Xuyen, it only takes us 5-10 minutes to get there. A wide panorama opens quickly in front of your eyes with hundreds of boats loaded with agricultural products such as potatoes, sugar cane, many aquatic products and especially many kinds of tropical fruits (bananas, pineapples, dragon fruit etc.). Some sell gasoline, dishes for breakfast or offer repair services. The boats that sell the same merchandise are grouped by areas.

On the other side, there are beautiful houses on stilts or rice fields. The picturesque landscape is added with the sound of people singing, talking and laughing. It is a lively painting of the floating market of Long Xuyen.

Travellers can see rowing boats that are attached to each other by a long rope and all are pulled by a motorboat. An unusual moment that one cannot find at Long Xuyen floating market

  1. Cai Be Floating Market – Tien Giang

Located 150km from Ho Chi Minh City, this market has become one of the favorite destinations for tourists visiting the region. More and more people are coming to discover this market in the heart of the region rich in breathtaking landscapes.

Open from 5a.m to 5p.m, the market welcomes hundreds of tourists every day. You are advised to visit from the early morning to feel the vibrant pace of life here. One of the interesting features of this destination is the great cathedral beside the river, famous for its architecture that will offer you the opportunity to make beautiful pictures. At dawn, hundreds of boats full of goods of all kinds succeed over water. They contain shrimp and wriggling fish, bright red rambutans, durians at exhilarating scent etc. The main originality of the Cai Be market lies in how the vendors hang their wares to long poles, to the front of their boats to help customers identify what they sell. If hungry or thirsty, there are many small boats to offer rice, pho, rice noodles boiled with marinated beef and stir-fry or refreshing drinks. At dusk, the “floating city” is shining brightly. Hundreds of lamps are lit at the bow of the boat and we find ourselves immersed in a magical world.

As we approach the end of the year, Cai Be floating market is even more animated than usual, resulting in a sharp increase in the number of tourists, especially foreigners.

The original point of Cai Be market discovery course is that tourists can spend a night at homestay – consisting of several huts made of leaves and bamboo scattered in a vast orchard. There’s limited comfort but travelers are gained in warmth and smile. There are also some hotels or even the chance to sleep on junks.

  1. Phong Dien Floating Market – Can Tho

Located about 20km south-west of Can Tho, Phong Dien floating market is one of the most beautiful floating markets of Mekong Delta. Once there, you will notice that there are more traditional boats (rowing boats) than modern boats (motor boats)

Moreover, it is less crowded and lest touristic than Cai Rang floating market. You are advised to visit from 6:00 to 8:00 in the morning.

Located near the orchards, the market sells all types of fruit and products used in daily life such as vegetables, meat and fish.

  1. Phung Hiep Floating Market – Hau Giang

It is open from 5a.m to about 5:00 in the afternoon but it is much nicer in the morning.

In Phung Hiep market, visitors can see thousands of small boats filled with western agricultural products to form a floating market of 1km long. This is one of Vietnam’s fruit markets and carries the cultural feature of Mekong Delta.

This market is at the crossroads of the same name. Alongside the boats filled with fruits and vegetables, also found there a market for snakes where visitors can taste the reptile alcohol and attend snake shows. The snake is a particular product in this market; you can buy a kilo of this reptile.

Phung Hiep market is the busiest in the morning. In the evening, boats and junks are filled with products preparing to come. The specialties of this market are fruits; they sell lots of fruits like mango, durian, banana, orange, coconut, etc. Another important point of this market is the fact that we cannot haggle because the price is fixed and that does not differentiate the price for locals and tourists.

The atmosphere in Phung Hiep market is exciting; travellers can see snakes carried by traders in the cages and the buyers with jute bags.

Another commodity known in Phung Hiep is wild birds. All species favored by urban gourmets are sold at the market.

  1. Nga Nam Floating Market – Soc Trang

Located on the Quan Lo – Phung Hiep canal, the town of Nga Nam has the typical characteristics of daily life in the Mekong Delta. In the morning, hundreds of boats glide over the river. They sell everything from fruits, vegetables, meat and fish etc. We can taste good food like noodle soup, steamed sticky rice etc. while floating quietly on a little boat.

From there, tourists can head to Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Phung Hiep, or go to Phu Loc and downstream to visit My Thanh Tran De Port and mangrove forests in Soc Trang.

During the holidays and especially during the Tet holiday, this floating market is bright with vivid colors of apricot flowers, daisies, peach flowers and other typical flowers of Mekong Delta as well as dark green watermelon. Everything is sold from wooden boats.

Like other floating markets, products hung on the front of the ship’s bow so that buyers can easily see what is on offer and buy what they want more easily.

Upon arrival Soc Trang, tourists can explore the ancient architecture of well-known pagodas and walk through orchid gardens. They can also experience nature in the mangrove forest and plunge into the hectic atmosphere of life in this floating market.

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