Floating Markets in Mekong Delta – What do You Know?
04 Jul 2018
Once stopping by the Mekong Delta, how can you persuade your friends to stay there without getting a close view into by its enormous rice paddies, multi-fruit orchards, gentle melodies of Southern folk music, as well as tasty regional cuisines? As a matter of fact, what makes this “Nine-dragon Delta” unique is the striking combination of the river-based culture’s charms and eco-tourism, which especially outstands with hectic floating markets
Actually, plain floating boats, which the residents from generation to generation get acquainted with, are not only their houses but also the feasible places of trading to earn the living. Nonetheless, under no circumstances can countless difficulties in the life of depending on the river prevent people there from keeping optimism, friendliness and smiley faces.
If floating markets in Mekong Delta is your kind of favor, getting an overview about them is a necessity that you ought not to skip at all cost!
5 Best Floating Markets in Mekong Delta
1. Cai Rang floating market
Of all 11 floating markets in Mekong Delta, Cai Rang seems to take domination over the others thanks to its advantages not only natural factors like geographical location and large dimension but also man-made elements typically impressive infrastructures, nice tourist services as well as suitable correlations with surrounding attractions.
On a daily basic from 5:00am to 10am, hundreds of boats and canoes gradually gather here, which makes Cai Rang floating market extremely vibrant with trading atmosphere. Getting a bird’s-eye view of this shopping site, the waterway does resemble a maze of the crowds purchasing fresh fruits like papaya, mango, bananas, or pineapples; garden tools, crafts, and many other like-inland products. With the aim of meeting the needs of both the natives and foreign travellers, numerous services here let you delight in Vietnamese breakfast dishes such as Pho, Hu Tieu or coffee without any difficulty. Let’s imagine that how wonderful it will be if you have chances (even once in a lifetime) to taste a mouthwatering bowl of Pho while setting sail along the Mekong river. Certainly, each kind of local cuisine leaves a strong impression on the river - based culture as well as culinary art of the Southeast Asia in general and the Southern Vietnam in particular.
2. Cai Be Floating Market
Another outstanding floating market that you need add to your bucket list is Cai Be. Situated at the Tien River which shares the border between 3 provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long as well as Ben Tre, this market is full of bustle from the sunrise (around 3:00 am) to the late sunset.
Being similar to Cai Rang floating market, hundreds of rafts and boats dropped anchor along the 2 sides of the river exhibit multiple forms of products ranging from fruits like sweet mandarin oranges, coconuts, or pineapples; vegetables, seafood, livestock to household commodities. In order to immerse in the essence and uniqueness of this trading site, why don’t you hire a motorboat to slowly go sailing and contemplate eye-catching scenery such as lush coconut trees along combining with stilt houses along 2 riverbanks? Next, let’s your mind bathed in the lively rhythm of brandishing water flow while your soul gets a sensation of losing in the vastness of the Mekong River space. To be honest, it is really worthy of a visit!
3. Tra On Floating Market
As time passes, no one knows exactly when the junction of Hau and Mang Thit River created an ideal place for purchasing goods that the locals get used to calling it as Tra On floating market. In deed, not until you stop at this marketplace do you fancy the natural sense of rhythm referring how tranquil the daily life there is.
Opened at dawn around from 2:00am to 3:00am, followed by the busiest moments luring numerous customers around 5:00am to 6:00 am, and this bustling market often lasts a full day until late afternoon. For the purpose of seeing various boats gathering and being ‘colored’ with countless goods, let’s get out of bed early no later than 5:00am. It is sure that your eyes and tastes will be feasted with not only multiple kinds of fresh fruits like bananas, guavas, mangoes, etc. but also agricultural merchandises such as radishes, gourds, okra, cabbage, melon, potatoes, etc. Furthermore, what sets up the whole scene of Tra On more exhilarating and sprightly are tiny boats served as cafes and food stalls. The sounds releasing from funny greetings, non-stop bargains as well as strong engines do create a remarkable ambiance.
5. Nga Bay Floating Market
Nga Bay, also well known as Phung Hiep floating market existing for more than a century from 1915, has become a remarkable trading port right in the juncture of seven branches from the Mekong River and canals. Here, you can find both forms of a regular trading interchange including wholesale and retail. Without a doubt, you will also be overwhelmed with inspiring hues of fruits, vegetables, seafood, poultry products, handicraft items, household utensils as well as the local watercourse’s aquatic products. Along with common items for consumption, what makes you amazed is the inexhaustible supply of domestic animals, for example, snakes, birds, tortoises, iguanas all year around.
There is no difference between Ngo Bay floating market anf the others when its tiny sampans and junks also serve tasty foods like Pho, Banh Xeo, or Banh Cuon and varying beverage kinds that create a strong impression on distinctive culinary art of the Southern region. Coming to Hau Giang province, let's look no further this bustling market due to its greatness from rural features satisfying you a lot.
4. Nga Nam Floating Market
When making mention of Soc Trang province, everybody tends to think about Bat Pagoda or Tan Long bird garden. However, travelling lovers also find out a particularly awesome in this water-based region that no one can ignore, it’s nothing but the Nga Nam floating market.
Totally differing from the other floating markets in the region of “Nine-dragon Delta”, Nga Nam Floating Market soon became salient thanks to being located on the convergent point of 5 canals flowing into 5 directions: My Long (Hau Giang), Phung Hiep (Hau Giang), Vinh Quoi (Soc Trang), Phuoc Long (Bac Lieu) and Phu Loc (Soc Trang). That’s why it is also called Nga Nam Market.
From 3am to 8am, this five-way intersection floating market welcomes a large number of multiple-size boats as well as friendly consumers to reunite and take place trading activities. Endowed with the monsoon tropical climate, plus the annual fertile sediment accretion from the Mekong River, Soc Trang is given rise to the fruitfulness of farming crops. As a result, seasonal goods from fruits to vegetables and even electrical equipment typically televisions, fans, or lamps, are rich in both quantity and quality that are easily meet the need of exchanging and purchasing among everyone. To make your trip sailing around this shopping site unforgettable, mingling with the natives’ daily lives by chatting with them is a really superb idea. Give yourself a try!
Exceptions of floating markets in Mekong Delta
Hopefully, you usually stick in mind several of following key exceptions before discovering this waterway region. They are sure to be useful for your nice trip at any shopping sites based on the rivers.
“Hang but not for sale”?
To the majority of the market merchants, floating boats with the space of only a few square meters are not only used for stalls but also houses where all daily activities occur inside. Thus, it is understandable that residents also hang their clothing items up, which sometimes can be misunderstood for sale. However, the fact is on the contrary.
“For sale but not hang”?
After getting a glimpse of floating markets, you can simply find out that boats convey many kinds of food and beverage which are difficult to hang up and display as models. Of course, all of them are still available to purchase.
“Hang one but sell another”?
It sounds weird, right? Actually, this phenomenon happens when the dealers hang coconut leaves on the lateral bar to with the aim of selling their boats. If you get the proficiency in this signal, this rule is understandable.
Useful tips and notes
- Generally, go on your excursion to any floating markets as early as possible after sunrise (before 7:00am) which is considered as the most appropriate time to experience and buy all colorful and vigorous products there. Get ready to get there quickly because all of marketplaces are speedily out of stock.
- On the boats, the majority of products are hung on the top of long poles (called cay beo) for advertising; thus, buyers can easily see and realize which products are being sold. To illustrate, if you tend to pick up a watermelon, you only need to set eyes on which boat owning watermelon on the front pole.
- What will happen if you are arranged to stay on a sampan with the driver who has no ability of speaking English, even basic daily dialogues? That is why with the aim of making your journey smoother, let’s be sure to hire a professional guide who is good at English that can provide explanations of the intricacies of market life.
- To naturally get a deep insight into floating markets with memorable experiences, let’s take local fishing boats instead of floating ones majoring in serving tourists. It is undoubtedly more flexible for your tour guided by the indigenous people.
- Do not forget putting the large hat and sunblock into your bag to preventing the amount of UV rays from harming to your skin because the heat releasing from the sun will rise quickly.
- Taking any journey including trips to floating markets in Southern regions in Vietnam, without shooting impressive photos of wherever you went through will leave you a feeling of regret. For that reason, you ought to select a regional pineapple boat which proudly possesses a rooftop for you to climb up, contemplate surrounding scenes as well as take panorama pictures of the whole shopping site.
In short, more and more tourists recently have selected floating markets as impressive attractions appealing with the harmonic combination of distinctive culture’s charms and trading elements each time they set foot in the Mekong Delta. Hence, you won’t be an exception, will you?