When planning a trip to Vietnam, especially Western Vietnam, taking time to visit the various bustling floating markets is a must. Floating markets have existed since the old days, and now they have become a critical part of most of the locals in the Mekong Delta.
Floating markets (almost) never sleep with hundreds of boats swinging back and forth every day. However, the most lively time to visit them is at the sunrise, as soon as possible. It’s time for dwellers to start unloading goods and, therefore, everything is vigorous.
Before diving into some famous floating markets in Mekong Delta, let’s have a look at their origins and what makes them attractive destinations for travelers first.
Mekong Delta gives everyone an image of fertile land with rice paddies and fruitful seasons. Long been known for the complex river system, the Mekong Delta is full of floating markets, which is the highlight of local life in this watery area for more than 100 years.
Floating markets have become a unique way of trading for dwellers and a gathering place where travelers can spread their eyes over the local customs. The vendors hanging their goods, usually fruits and vegetables, on top of a long pole made from bamboo to help buyers see what are sold, is easily one of those “unique” characteristics which make them visiting-worthy destinations.
Thinking that the traders only sell those agricultural products is not wrong, but it’s not enough. Sometimes, you will meet small boats where there is no hanging goods, and the reason is that it is where they provide cafe or breakfast. If you have time, stop by and enjoy a cup of coffee or a bowl of noodles right on the water flow, it would be a great experience.
Besides, you are recommended to visit floating markets with a local guide. Since a local knows more about their customs and ways of trading, having them as a guide is much better to discover the vibrant atmosphere of the floating market.
And now, take a look at those famous floating markets in the Mekong Delta that you should not miss when travelling to Vietnam.
What are waiting for you?
CAI RANG FLOATING MARKET (CAN THO)
Located in Can Tho, Cai Rang floating market is one of, if not the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta. It is a wholesale market with more than 300 boats containing numerous types of fruits, vegetables and other specialties coming from Can Tho and the neighboring areas.
Thanks to its variability and accessibility (about 200 km from Ho Chi Minh City), Cai Rang floating market is the most popular one in the region.
Starting at around 5 am and becoming crowded afterward until midday, it is a maze of boats filled with durians, mangos, pineapples, etc. On top of that, as mentioned above, the vendors also provide traditional dishes like Pho or Hu tieu as breakfast to meet the various demands of both locals and foreigner visitors.
NGA BAY FLOATING MARKET (HAU GIANG)
Also known as Phung Hiep market, Nga Bay floating market is a key trading market in Nga Bay Town. Other than the agricultural products and handicrafts, you will be surprised when seeing a wide range of animals being sold here. Birds, lizards, turtles, snakes, they are available all year round.
A little note is that Nga Bay floating market starts a bit later than other markets. 7 am is the perfect time for you to feel the hustle and bustle of people getting ready and enjoy the taste of distinguishing Southern cuisines.
LONG XUYEN FLOATING MARKET (AN GIANG)
Being the less popular floating market has its advantages. Give it a try if you want to surround yourself with authentic and genuine atmosphere. Long Xuyen floating market is not a commercialized one, so the vendors here mostly serve local people. They will try their best to communicate with foreigners and introduce to you their customs. The easy-going and hospitable characteristic is what attracts visitors.
Take your time to have a meal with the vendors and you will make their day as having foreigners is not a common sight here.
On your Vietnam travel itinerary, remember not to miss out the unique floating markets located on Mekong Delta.
With our useful information on the characteristics together with some tips, we hope that visiting floating markets will be an eye-opening experience for you. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere with bright colors of fruits, veggies and discover the interesting local lifestyle when in here, Mekong Delta. Also, don’t forget to leave a comment on your experience with floating markets and tell us your recommendation if you happen to have one.
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