Floating Markets

Floating Markets

Southern Vietnam is the home of the Mekong Delta, which is a system of interlacing rivers, canals and tributaries. Living on the water is the way of life for most residents in the Mekong and floating markets are the typical form of exchanging goods and services.

A watermelon vendor at Cai Rung floating market

These floating markets have made cultural exchange possible and created economic development for the region. Boats are used as shops and bartering takes place on the water.  The typical features of a floating market are centered around agricultural products and local fruits. Goods delivery and receipt are the most interesting activities and people throwing and catching goods are considered an art form.  You can even grab breakfast or lunch from one of the floating food vendors while you watch.

The largest floating market in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region is Cai Rang, which is known to be 100 year old.  We also visited Phung Hiep floating market six kilometers from Can Tho.  These markets open very early in the morning when most of the Mekong is still sleeping and end in the late afternoon. Hundreds of small and large boats join the markets during the busiest time between 6-8 am.

I loved the excitement of the Cai Rung market and the ease at which we floated through the hundreds of vendors.  It was no problem to find what you were looking for as the products each boat sold were displayed on huge poles that you could see from either end of the market.

A boat with their products displayed on a pole for people to see throughout the market.

Another six kilometers down the river was the Phung Hiep floating market, although a little smaller still worth a visit to get a better sense of how these markets operate and what different products are sold.  Had we continued down the river we could stop at the Phong Dien market that specializes in snakes and snake products.  Due to thinkCHUA’s fear of snakes we opted to tour the smaller canals of the Delta instead.  I would definitely recommend a visit to the floating markets of the Mekong Delta if you are planning a trip to the region- you won’t regret it.

A sale in progress at the Phung Hiep floating market 6 km. from Can Tho

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Comments

» dad :
Jan 13, 2011

great stuff….assume you rented a “tour boat” to take you out into the water…..how do you do that?……i mean could less adventureous people figure out where to paay 2,000 dong for a 3 hour trip or whatever…..don’t desire to enter into a chat room per se, but you make it all seem so easy……take time to rest…..good stuff and your photo’s capture/accentuate your words…….as always be safe……love you dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, we did rent a private boat and it was really easy. I would assume anyone would be able to do the same tour with little trouble. There are literally people advertising their boats, drivers and guides in the streets that will approach you if you look like a tourist. Being white and blonde makes it pretty obvious we’re not from here and so I/we get approached a lot to purchase things- some we want and some we don’t.

» Donna :
Jan 13, 2011

Hey Matt!! I’m with you … none of that snaky stuff for me either!! But wondering if you’re not going to run into some anyway, somewhere along your travels! Do as I do … jump high and fly fast! Donna

» Nick :
Jan 14, 2011

Would love to see that someday. Food markets are great and this one has a lot of character. I’ll have to check out all your photos down the road.

LOCAVORista Reply:

Nick, good to hear from you. I am in market heaven here, each one has a lot of character, but it’s hard to explain the nuances in each market. Hope all is well back home.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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