Top 7 Must-visit Mekong Delta Floating Markets

December 22, 2023 - 1270 views

Market is certainly the place where you can find the truest life of the community in a certain destination. The way people communicate, the things they sell, and how they sell tells a lot about the local culture of the people there. In this article, let’s talk about Mekong Delta markets and discover Top 7 Must-visit Mekong Delta Floating Markets.

1. Cai Rang Floating Market

Known as the most famous floating market in Mekong Delta, Cai Rang is the market located in Can Tho province, about 6km from Can Tho city and 170km from Ho Chi Minh city. The market sells everything people are supposed to need, and it’s exactly the same with a regular market. Only that it’s on a river, and all transactions are on the water. This is the place where Gordon Ramsay tried Hu Tieu, a sort of noodle soup of South Vietnam for the first time, and adored the dish immediately.

The sellers will hang everything they sell on a long pole above, and buyers just look at that and ride their boat according to that pole. The market gets most crowded at 6-7am, and you are recommended to get here early to beat the boatloads of tourists and the heat of the Southwest Vietnam area.

There’s a bridge that you can stand up there to overlook the market, but boating on the water is much more exciting. You will have to hire a boat to visit Cai Rang floating market, and the price for boats starting from 15 USD for a 7 passengers capacity boat, or you just simply need to buy a tour package, that’s cheap and includes pick up buses already.

Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market


2. Cai Be Floating Market

Located closer to Ho Chi Minh city, Cai Be market was said to originate from the early trading activities by residents from the Central of the country. Basically, all floating markets are similar in operation, but the special thing about this market is it’s location. Cai Be Floating Market is situated in the area where the Tien River meets the 3 provinces, Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Ben Tre. 

From Ho Chi Minh City, it will take you roughly 2 hours to travel by car to the wharf, followed by a one-hour boat ride. You will either buy a boat ticket (sharing a boat with other passengers) or rent a whole boat for your group. A two-hour trip ticket will cost from 40,000 VND to 80,000 VND, but if you rent a whole boat it can be much more expensive (above 600,000 VND). It’s obviously a trade-off between privacy and cost. 

The busiest time here lasts from 4am to 6am, you can find boats gathering from 3am. At sunrise, the market will be at its best, boasting its vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables, and the clattering sound of water, chatter and engines. If you seek an authentic experience in the south of Vietnam, getting up early is the only choice. There will be absolutely nothing left after 8am.

Cai Be Floating Village

Cai Be Floating Village


3. Phong Dien Floating Market

Phong Dien lies 17 km from Can Tho's center to the southeast. One of two floating markets in the Mekong Delta city, Phong Dien is more rustic while better-known Cai Rang is more bustling. From the early morning, traders gather to buy fresh vegetables and fruit to resell elsewhere. The most crowded time is from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. when many boats clog the waterway. I hope you have an amazing sunrise on the Mekong Delta river.

In Phong Dien, you can find almost every product of the Mekong Delta. Whether you are a local or a tourist, the price remains the same. Phong Dien Floating Market not just sells agricultural products, but also other various ones. So you can find on this river market, people are trading household and working tools such as canoes, boats, roofing sheets, knives, hoes, machete, and fishing tools like fishing nets, or weaving products as baskets, and all kinds of general domestic and foreign. Besides, sometimes you can even find coffee and breakfast dishes like banh mi or all kinds of noodle soup.

Phong Dien Floating Village

Phong Dien Floating Village


4. Nga Bay Floating Market

Nga Bay, also referred to as Phung Hiep floating market, has been open since 1915 – for over a hundred years, it has been a key trading port for the locals in Nga Bay town. Boats stacked with all sorts of vegetables and fruits paint the market in various bright colors. Usually each boat here will only sell one type of good, as displayed on the lateral bar erected out front. Other than fruit, you will also find animals being sold, such as lizards, turtles, iguanas, snakes and birds. If that scares you, don’t worry, they are contained well and won’t go crawling/swimming from one boat to the other.

Nga Bay also starts a little later than most markets and is most vibrant around 07.00 a.m. To get here, you will need to get to Can Tho first from Ho Chi Minh City, which is around a five-hour bus ride. Once you are in Can Tho, it is best to hire a private car through a travel agency or take a taxi to Nga Bay, which is about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Can Tho city center. Once you reach the bay, you can easily hire a boat to take you around the market and any other interesting sites nearby.

Nga Bay Floating Village

Nga Bay Floating Village


5. Long Xuyen Floating Market

Long Xuyen Floating Market is one of the non-touristy destinations in An Giang Province, so it will be amazing for those who prefer peace and avoid overcrowded places. Although the Long Xuyen floating market is not as big as the Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho City, the serenity of this place makes you feel more comfortable and closer to the local life. Not only that, the market is also for discovering the quintessence in the culture and people of the Mekong Delta.

Like other floating markets, Long Xuyen should be visited early in the morning since it’s time to see the most bustling vista of the market. It’s fascinating to observe the way the locals exchange their products on the river, which you have never seen before. The floating market lasts from the 7th to 10th lunar months, so if you want to make a visit to this market, you may have to schedule your whole Vietnam trip.


6. Tra On Floating Market

Tra On Floating Market has been existing for a long time with many special cultural features of the people in the river area. Dropping by Tra On Floating Market, visitors will find a bustling atmosphere of trading activities. Tra On Floating Market is about 250m from Tra On rivulet mouth. It has been enlarged over the time; currently it is 300m in length and 150m in width. The market consists of two main parts: one situated along riversides, another floating on the river. All activities on the dock or on boats are exciting and bustling.

When people are in their deep sleep, the Tra On Floating Market begins a new day, from 2-3 a.m, the busiest time is from 5-6 a.m onwards. In the dim foggy space on surface water, boats of purchasing are wafting gathered here. Many types of products are categorized, weighed for traders. 

The market is open all day. The special characteristics of the Tra On Floating Market is that all activities in this market depend on the water level of Hau River. Normally, the market is crowded in the morning, at the same time with the high peak of tide. Thus, tourists can still see the beauty of the market at any time of the day, with different scenes.

Tra On Floating market

Tra On Floating market


7. Nga Nam Floating Market

Located about 60km from the center of Soc Trang city, Nga Nam floating market belongs to the town of the same name: Nga Nam. The name: “Nga Nam” in Vietnamese means “five directions” and this floating market is located at the intersection of five river branches flowing to five different directions: Ca Mau, Vinh Quoi, Long My, Thanh Tri, and Phung Hiep. From the early morning of 3 - 4 a.m., the whole river was full of boats and motorboats. The busiest time is usually from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., especially on some big festivals, the market will take place throughout the day.

Thanks to its critical location, the market becomes a central point to hundreds of boats and canoes, selling all types of goods. The market scene becomes even more lively toward the end of the Lunar New Year.

The best time to visit Nga Nam floating market is early in the morning, when the sun is crawling up east and many locals are already there, ready for trading – boats after boats. You can find just almost anything – from rice, meat, fresh fruits and other staples to TV and electronic goods. Nga Nam is undoubtedly one of the busiest floating markets in the South of Vietnam.

Nga Nam Floating Market

Nga Nam Floating Market

It’s not everywhere in the world you can find such an interesting and special thing like a floating market, so if you have a chance to come to Vietnam, just go for it. This on the water shopping activity will surprise you with fun, and a lot of strange experiments. Plan your trip to Mekong Delta, and let’s explore floating markets with BestPrice Travel.

Hue Pham

Image source: Internet

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