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A vendor sells pineapple at the Floating Market on the Mekong River

Cai Rang Floating Market

The Cai Rang Floating Market is the biggest wholesale floating market in the Vietnam. Everyday, until Noon, hundreds of boats sell and trade goods in the middle of the river. There are no stalls, just boats.

Water World

The mighty Mekong River is the waterway that runs through the heart of the southern Vietnam’s delta. For centuries, The Mekong has been used as a highway to ship rice, fruit and vegetables up to Ho Chi Minh City. The largest city in the delta is Can Tho, famous for it’s floating market. The Cai Rang Floating Market is the biggest wholesale floating market in the country. Everyday, until Noon, hundreds of boats sell and trade goods in the middle of the river. There are no stalls, just boats.

The morning market
The morning market

Early Bird Special

Tourists come from all over to witness this daily event. Of course, that requires getting up really early. Our captain collected us at 4:30 am. We climbed aboard his boat just before 5 am and headed out. Fortunately, there are not just fruit and vegetable vendors, we were pleased to quickly find boats selling coffee and Bahn Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches).

A woman paddles her floating sandwich shop
A woman paddles her floating sandwich shop

Specialty Shops

Most of the bigger vessels sold only one item — by the thousands. You would see a boat stuffed with papayas, or pineapples, or mangoes. You could identify what was being sold from each boat because these aquatic hawkers would have a long bamboo pole on deck with the item for sale attached to the end of it. Think of it as a flagpole for produce. The shoppers would be in smaller personal boats called sampans, paddling from one floating shop to another.

A woman paddles up to buy potatoes and onions
A woman paddles up to buy potatoes and onions

The Rhythm Of The River

The sun and heat are so intense, the market starts thinning out by 10 am. By noon, all the vendors are gone, leaving only ferries and fishing and transportation boats on the river.

A couple shopping on the Mekong

Float On!

After visiting the market, many of the boat tours offer to take you onto some adjoining tributaries to see the neighborhoods and farms. It provides a wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse at life in the Delta. Most tours will, as ours did, stop and let you walk a few neighborhoods, as well as tour a farm and have a fresh lunch.

An older couple out shopping on the Mekong
An older couple shopping on the Mekong

Author: Britt

Britt is a photographer/music producer & proud member of #teamtraynham

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