The floating markets belong to the highlights of the Mekong delta. These markets are central markets in the delta, where people can buy fruit and vegetables from local production. The goods are sold directly from the boats – the owners hang the available products on long poles, so that people can see what’s on offer from far away. Small sampans serve as mobile cafés, where you can buy soft drinks, an iced coffee or a strong noodle soup for breakfast.
The floating markets of Cai Rang and Cai Be
Cai Rang is the most popular floating market and only a few kilometers from the city center of Can Tho. The Phong Dien market is located not too far from here, south-west of Can Tho. It is slightly smaller than Cai Rang, but worth a visit – especially since it is less popular tourists.
Cai Be Floating Market is one of the tourist magnets of the delta – unfortunately, this market is getting smaller every year, since trade is shifting more and more to modern wholesale markets in the country.
The floating markets of Long Xuyen and Tra On
The Long Xuyen floating market is one of the most important in the Mekong delta – it is right in front of the impressive market hall of the provincial capital on the mighty Bassac arm of the Mekong River.
In Tra On, there is a relaxed, small floating market. Although it is not that busy, this market is still well worth seeing. It is located outside the idyllic town at the mouth of a channel.
The floating markets of Chau Doc
Close to the Cambodian border in Chau Doc is also a colourful floating market. Many boats are strung together and offer goods from the region.
A good time to visit any of the floating markets is early in the morning, when they are very lively and colourful. They are best explored on a small sampan with a local guide. You can also visit the merchant ships and taste the fresh fruits.