If you have found your way to Mekong Delta, you cannot afford to miss floating markets or “Cho Noi”. This type of market can be found in most provinces of Mekong and some big and famous floating markets are Cai Rang, Phong Dien (CanTho City), Nga Nam (Soc Trang) , Nga Bay (Hau Giang). Floating markets have existed for a long time in the region. It basically is a market where people sell and buy things above water.
Since rivers are the main way of transportation, ferries and boats are very popular for traveling and transporting. Gradually, people gathered together at one or some certain places on the river to sell fruits mostly picked from their own gardens. Then they made business by selling foods, goods which had been brought from other places.
What to see and do
A floating market usually starts at 4 or 5 in the morning before dawn and ends when the sun rises high at 9 or 10am. Fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, dragon fruit, water melon, yam, and cabbage are the dominant goods at these floating market. Besides, you can also find garden tools, crafts and Vietnamese breakfast like rice noodle “Bun” or “Hu Tieu”. It is very interesting to try to manage the chopstick and soup bowl while paddling along the river.
Another noticeable feature of the floating market is “Cay Beo”. This is a small pillar which is put in front of every boat. What can be bought from the boat will be hung on the small pillar as a notice sign. Of course they cannot hang on a bowl of noodle; therefore, if you want to eat, you should look for the smoke and the delicious smell.
Nowadays, in Can Tho City, you can visit floating market by a boat tour from Ninh Kieu dock. Usually it takes 5 hours to finish visiting 2 nearest floating markets and for most foreigners; these 5 hours are really worthwhile!