People said that “If one has not visited floating market, he has not visited the south-west of Vietnam”. Literally, floating markets which have been around for a long time make the liveliest part of life in the south-west, the land of rivers, canals and ditches.
For tourists who travel to Can Tho, metropolis of the south-west, it would be regretful if they could not drop by and purchase something in Cai Rang (6km from Can Tho city), one of the most famous and biggest floating markets in the Mekong Delta.
From Cai Rang Bridge, the market stretches half kilometre downstream Can Tho River. Hundreds of boats gathering here from the dawn till before noon makes the area extraordinary animated and the water surface colorful with numerous tropical fruits. The large sized anchored boats create meandering lanes for smaller ones to weave through. All create a bustling and joyful atmosphere that can attract any tourist.
Most of the boats here are packed with a lot of farm products and specialties of Cai Rang Town, Chau Thanh district and the nearby areas like vegetables, coconut, banana, watermelon, grapefruit, dragon fruit and so on. Small boats that sell soft drinks, wine and food for breakfast go among the others to serve market-goers and visitors. Other services and products like mending machine, selling gasoline, mobile card, clothes, cosmetic, spicy, etc all are available here, not different from what are sold in common markets on land.
Trading from boats brings excitement to buyers when catching some sample of products that are thrown by sellers from other boats. While shopping on boat, one can also enjoy fresh fruits and see floating house of the locals along the riverside.
Unique advertising tool:
In this bustling floating market, the cries of the sellers seem to be swallowed in the vastness of the river and lost into the noise of boat engines. The disadvantaged condition turns out to facilitate the birth of an unique advertising tool: pole of sample goods.
Every boat has a long upright pole with samples of the goods for sale hung on, so the sellers do not have to cry out what they are selling and buyers can easily see from the distance the goods sold on that boat. Just look up and ones can know exactly which boat selling the products they are seeking for.
To catch the liveliest scenery and enjoy the most animated atmosphere of Cai Rang market (often 6 am to 8 am), travelers should stay overnight in Can Tho and come here at the dawn, about 5 a.m.
After enjoying local breakfast and watching the sun rising, one can charter either a motorized boat or a non motorized one to begin a morning shopping in floating market. The area where most of boats for charter are located is along Vo Tanh road. The fee is charged differently based on the kind of chartered boat.