If in the northern mountainous region there are many colorful weekly markets as the love market, in the southern region tourists are attracted by floating market, the most impressive of them which we have to mention: Cai Rang floating market. With the unique culture, Cai Rang floating market has become a destination which tourist should not miss when they have the opportunity to travel to Can Tho.
Cai Rang Floating Market is a floating market specialized for exchanging, buying and selling agricultural products, fruits, goods, food and being a unique attraction of Cai Rang District, Can Tho City.
On Cai Rang River, near Cai Rang bridge, it is about 6 km from the center of Can Tho city if you go by bus and about 30 minutes if you go by boat from Ninh Kieu pier.
Cai Rang is the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta. This market is the most attractive tourist destination of Can Tho city. It is about 4 hours from Ho Chi Minh City by car, it’s too far for a day trip, so reserving a hotel and staying overnight when traveling here is essential.
History of Cai Rang floating market
The unique feature and key characteristic of Cai Rang floating market is specialized in trading of fruits and specialties of the Mekong Delta. In the past, floating markets were established because roads and vehicles of road traffic which have not developed. At that time, demand of purchase and barter, people gathered on the river and by means of transport such as: canoes and boats…. Today, although road traffic network has developed widely but floating market still exist and grow increasingly more crowded.
Cai Rang floating market is located on a tributary of the Hau River flowing through Cai Rang District, Can Tho City. According to legend, the name Cai Rang comes from story in the earlier period of claiming the huge crocodiles have washed the river bank here, its teeth plugged into this land.
Cai Rang floating market is also the center market specialized for wholesale of fruits and agricultural products of the region. Goods are gathered here in large numbers. Each item was classified for uniformity in quality and size. If the local people and people in surrounding areas often use medium boats and canoes to carry agricultural products to consume here, so big boats belong to traders who buy the fruit here and sell to everywhere, even to Cambodia and China.
Soak up the atmosphere of the bustling marketplace, visitors can observe and learn about the life of many trader families with several generations living on the boat. There are boats as “mobile apartment” on the river with flower pots, pets, and full amenities such as: color TV, disc player, a sound system … having motorcycle parking on the boat also.
Besides goods, there are support services on the floating market, supplying demands of transportation, movement, living and short-term residence of traders as: transferring boat, floating petrol stations, floating machine workshops and especially the boats selling food and drinks.
The time of operation
Cai Rang floating market often works quite early, from the early morning until about 8:00 or 9:00 am (the time of stop working).
Visitors should go to the market at 7:00 am – 8:00 am. This is the good time to visit the market because it is most crowded activities of floating market.
Market closes or works very little on the day of Lunar New Year (1st and 2nd January of lunar calendar), Doan Ngo Tet holiday (May, 5th lunar year).
Due to the needs of the market, there are not only the boats of fruits and agricultural products, but also with many other types of services: pho, rice noodles, coffee shop, floating pubs … The service boat (usually small boat) serve both local people and visitors.
Cai Rang floating market is one of the most impressive tourist sites in Can Tho. This is a very unique culture of countryside in Mekong Delta, attracting a lot of tourists, especially foreign tourists.
You just pay 10,000 VND for a cup of iced coffee; it is very exciting when you’ll be enjoying it in the air of immense river.
Sometimes, it is possible to glimpse the small tourist boats catering visitors with many foreigner tourists sailing in the crowd of business boats which are full of fruits and goods. All tourists like being mixed in vibrant rhythm happening on the river.