If you have a chance to travel to Southern Vietnam, do not forget the floating market – the highlight of South Vietnam. Besides fruits orchards, yellow rice paddies, Southern folk songs and special regional cuisine, the vibrant floating market is what comes on tourists’ mind when talking about Mekong Delta.
It attracts visitors by dense rivers, canals system, house stilts and lifestyle of the locals. The floating market is gathering place where the locals can buy their own products and fresh fruits or vegetables hanging on the poles while visitors can travel around to enjoy their life and buy something. Even you can find some floating bars, floating restaurants and the same kinds of shops as on the land.
Mekong Delta is covered with rivers and canals, so traveling by boat is the easiest and fastest way of transportation. Now let’s have a look at top must-visit floating markets in Mekong Delta among Vietnam tours.
Cai Rang Floating Market, Can Tho Province
This is one of the most popular floating markets in Mekong Delta. Floating markets have long been an integral part of the lives of the locals in the Southwest from generation to generation. Spending their most lifetimes on rivers, people are used to living on floating boats. For them, floating boats can be not only their houses and but their place of trading fruits, food, agricultural products and many others as well.
Cai Rang starts at 5 a.m and lasts until the afternoon. However, visitors should arrive in it before 9 a.m to admire its liveliest moments. As the largest floating market in Mekong Delta, wholesale fruits, agricultural products and specialties from Chau Thanh District and other neighboring provinces are available here.
Cai Rang Floating Market
Sitting on a boat and traveling around the market, tourists will admire hundreds of different boats packed with fresh and brilliantly-colored fruits and vegetables such as bananas, pineapple, watermelon, grapefruit, papaya or mango. Therefore, it is always crowded with many retailers from small markets in nearby cities, they come here to get fresh goods at reasonable prices. Also to reach the visitors’ satisfaction at the highest notch, other useful services and products are available as well from the mobile card, cosmetic, clothes to drinks. This helps tourists feel like that they are now surrounded by the markets on land, not on a boat or river anymore.
Being deep into the vibrant atmosphere, you will see the bustling vibe of the market and more importantly take a deeper understanding of and get closer to a new land – a new culture – the lives of residents on floating boats from generations to generations.
Cai Be Floating Market, Tien Giang Province
Another highlight to enjoy the floating market atmosphere is Cai Be on Tien River at the intersection of Vinh Long, Tien Giang, and Ben Tre Provinces. Like other floating markets, when coming to Cai Be, visitors will be surrounded by the hectic atmosphere of the market and the animated live of the locals on boats.
This market is busy from the early morning (at about 3 a.m) to late afternoon. Hundreds of boats and sampans will be anchored along the two sides of the river like groceries on land. The products are diversified and abundant, from fruits, vegetables, foods to commodities, drinks, clothes, and candies hung on a pole to attract customers.
Cai Be also impresses tourists by the magnetic sights along the river with lines of coconut trees and stilt houses on two banks. You can sit on the boat and sip your coconut juice to relax and experience different emotions from the peace of the locals’ life to the vibrant sound of the market from the dawn.
Stunning scenery, hospitable locals, and hustling daily life will definitely ease your mind from all everyday troubles and give you memorable moments with the peace here.
Tra On Floating Market
If you wish to explore Mekong Delta culture, you should not miss Tra On Floating Market, which will give visitors a feeling for the rhythm of the locals’ life. Located at the intersection of the Hau River and Mang Thit River, Tra On is the final floating market on the Hau River. The market often starts at the very early morning, about 2 a.m to 3 a.m, but tourists should visit the market around 5 a.m and 6 a.m to join the busiest and most livable moment with various boats full of products.
Like other large floating markets in Mekong Delta, boats in Tra On are packed with a wide range of fresh fruits like mangoes, longan or rambutan and seasonal agricultural products like okra, gourds, watermelon, potatoes, radishes and more others. Also, coffee shops and food stores with different noodles and soups are available.
Nga Bay Floating Market (Phung Hiep Floating Market)
The final spot in Mekong Delta is Nga Bay Floating Market, one of the top must-see destinations to explore the cultural uniqueness and essence of the locals living on boats. Like three floating markets above, Nga Bay is where people may purchase wholesale and retail so many retailers from small markets reach here to get fresh and cheap goods. Visitors will be overwhelmed by vivid colors of abundant fruits, poultry products, vegetables, seafood, handicraft goods, regional goods or aquatic products. Especially, tourists will be amazed by the supply different animals such as snakes, birds, tortoises or iguanas and all year around.
There is a wide range of stores, sampans and restaurants selling Pho, Banh Xeo, Banh Cuon and drinks like coffee or tea, which bring the distinguishing taste of the South’s cuisine. I bet that the greenness, rural characteristics, as well as the vibrant moment of the floating market, will satisfy all visitors and give memorable moments as well.
These above are top four floating markets that you should not ignore when you coming to Southern Vietnam. Let’s backpack and enjoy the unique and diversity of Vietnam culture.