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Friday, May 10, 2013

Exploring the largest floating market in Mekong Delta, Vietnam


Apart from Cai Be and Phung Hiep, Cai Rang in Can Tho City is one of the three most popular and biggest floating markets in the Mekong River Delta. It is a great place for tourists in Vietnam  to enjoy exciting atmosphere during the early morning market hours.

Cai Rang Floating Market

The Cai Rang Floating Market, the largest wholesale floating market in the Mekong Delta, starts around 05:00 and runs until around midday, meaning that you’ll have to get an early start to the day if you want to visit. Most tour boats along the riverfront leave between 05:00 and 07:00, so if don’t make it to the water by then you’ll have a hard time finding a tour.

The market is about six kilometres from Can Tho, or about a 30-minute boat ride. While floating down the river, you will glimpse life along its shores. You’ll pass vibrantly painted boats anchored along the shore, merchant vessels carrying loads down the river and houses built on stilts over the water.


Cai Rang float market, Vietnam
Once you finally reach the market, it’s an impressive site. A stretch of boats selling all variety of goods lines the river. Not really a place for souvenirs, people come here instead to buy large quantities of goods, mostly foodstuffs, and you will get an idea of what water commerce in the Delta looks like. Your guide on the boat will usually give you tidbits of information about Cai Rang as you weave through the hordes. You’ll learn that boats identify what they are selling by hanging a sample off the top of a long pole; if you want pineapple, simply scan the horizon for a hanging pineapple. You’ll also get the opportunity to interact with some of these floating merchants; most commonly this happens when a small boat selling drinks latches onto the tour boat’s side.

Many kind fruits are sold
 During the early morning market hours, larger sized boats anchor and create lanes that smaller boats weave in and out of. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even smuggled goods like cigarettes. 


Sellers do not have to cry out about their goods because their goods can be seen in a distance and their cries would not be heard in the vastness of the river and the noise of boat engines. Small boats that sell beer, wine and soft drinks go among the other boats to serve market-goers and visitors in Vietnam travel. Sellers tie their goods to a tall pole so that buyers can see from a distance what they are selling. 

Each boat is loaded with plenty of seasonal goods. Activities at the market are also an occasion for tourists to study the cultural aspects of southerners. You can see the market in the distance; it does not look like much, just a mass of boats. The boats all display their wares on a mast so you can see what they have available.

Exploring Mekong Delta
Coming to Cai Rang Floating Market, you can join a tour of the Mekong Delta. Several tour operations can arrange tours combine adventure activities like biking to explore Mekong Delta. I’d recommend you an adventure travel  company I knew, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA).   In this special trip, ATA ride through beautiful areas of lush fruit orchards, endless paddy fields, lively floating market and busy canals.


If you are planning travel in Vietnam and to vist Can Tho City, let’s take a 30 minute boat ride to the market. You will be actually awake and enjoying it! You will find it very peaceful floating down the river in the early morning and you will feel how great the floating market is!

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