Floating markets in the Mekong Delta are a way of life and trade for over a 100 years, because of the complex and extensive river system of the Mekong region. These markets are centrally located in the delta, where people sell and buy fruits and vegetables grown locally. The traders sell their goods directly from the boats and hang their products on long poles, so that people can see directly from far what is for sale. Smaller boats are uses as mobile cafes, where you can buy soda, coffee or noodle soup for breakfast.
The floating markets are among the highlights of the Mekong Delta, but since there are quite a few floating markets in the Mekong Delta, it is useful to know which ones are the best. So quickly view this list!
Cai Rang Floating Market
Cai Rang Floating Market is the largest and most popular floating market in the Mekong Delta. The market starts at 5 AM and lasts until noon, but it is best to be here before 8 AM. The most important goods here are fruit, agricultural products and specialties from the region. Hundreds of large and small boats park close to each other every morning and goods are hung on board that are available for trading.
Because more and more domestic and foreign tourists come, there are also several smaller boats on the market that offer a Vietnamese breakfast, because you often go here early in the morning.
Since you have to visit the floating market in the early morning, you have to stay already close to the market the night before. Tours going to this market are always minimum 2 day tours, were you visit the market on the next day early morning. If you want to go by yourself, the easiest way to get here is by taking a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho. From the port in Can Tho you can rent a boat that shows you the floating markets and small waterways in the area.
Cai Be Floating Market
Cai Be Floating Market is another popular floating market because it is closest to Ho Chi Minh City. Unlike other floating markets that only open in the morning, Cai Be Floating Market starts later in the day until late at night. So you can visit the market late in the day and still experience a buzzing atmosphere.
The best way to get here is to take a private or group tour or rent a car with driver from Ho Chi Minh City. You can also take a bus from My Tho in the Mekong Delta to Cai Be.
Long Xuyen Floating Market
The Long Xuyen Floating Marker is located on the Hau River, in the less touristy province of An Giang. For this reason it is also a less popular market, but therefore a lot more authentic. The locals are very curious here and will try to communicate with you because tourists are not familiar faces here. You will find many boats moored close to the river, where the locals live and trade all year round. Goods are mainly crops such as vegetables, melon, beans, cabbage, pumpkin, potato and famous An Giang snacks such as fish noodles and pig house biscuits.
You can take a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Long Xuyen, or first go to Can Tho, spend the night and from there a taxi, bus or tour early in the morning.
Phong Dien Floating Market
Phong Dien Floating Market is a traditional trading place of local people where usually everyday products are resold at local markets or to wholesalers directly on board. Unlike Cai Rang Floating Market, Phong Dien Floating Market not only sells agricultural products, but also others, such as household and utensils, canoes, boats, roof plates, knives, hoes, machete and fishing equipment such as fishing nets, baskets, and all kinds of general domestic and foreign stuff.
After viewing the floating market, you can see various other sights in the area, such as local villages and orchards.
Tra On Floating Market
The market can start very early, sometimes even at 2:00 AM. But you can arrive between 5 AM and 6 AM, because this is the busiest moment. Like other floating markets, the main goods sold here are fruit and seasonal agricultural products. The bustle of the market can depend on the tide. The higher the tide, the busier the market.
Nga Nam Floating Market
Because it is the most central market in the region, you can find most of the Mekong specialties here. You see boats full of rice, vegetables, fresh fruit from orchards, shrimp, fish, crabs, frogs and much more. You can even come across boats with household items and electronics. The market starts around 3:00 AM and reaches its peak around 5:00 AM. If you want to visit the market, you have to spend the night in the neighborhood.
To reach the market, you must take a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to the city of Cau Mau. From here you take another shuttle bus to the city of Nga Nam, where you can rent a boat to go to the market.