Rough Guides: Cai Rang Floating Market Voted Among World's Destinations

Cai Rang Floating Market, located in the Mekong Delta's Can Tho City, has been voted among the world's must-visit destinations by British travel publication Rough Guides.
August 26, 2021 | 16:00
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Photo: Saigonriders
Photo: Saigonriders

British travel publication Rough Guides listed Cai Rang floating market in Mekong Delta's Can Tho City among the world's 19 must-visit food hubs.

The market, the biggest of its kind in the Mekong Delta where trading on waterways has been a way of life for generations, was the only Southeast Asian representative to break into the list.

“Visiting the floating market in Cai Rang is a must when in Mekong Delta. A huge spread of produce is on sale from a fleet of brightly colored boats. Most traders advertise their wares from the top of a long pole attached to their vessel,” Rough Guides stated.

For tourists who travel to Can Tho, metropolis of the south-west, it would be regretful if they could not drop by and purchase something in Cai Rang (6 km from Can Tho city), one of the most famous and biggest floating markets in the Mekong Delta.

Photo: Time Out
Photo: Time Out

Where is Cai Rang Floating Market located?

Situated in Cai Rang District, Can Tho City, Cai Rang Floating Market is perhaps the most famous floating market of the Mekong Delta region. The market sits on Can Tho River, near Cai Rang Bridge. It is about 6 km from the center of Can Tho City, and it takes 30 minutes to get there by boat from Ninh Kieu Wharf.

How to Get to Cai Rang Floating Market?

Photo: Vietnamtravel
Photo: Vietnamtravel

To Get to Can Tho

By Bus: Traveling by bus is an excellent economical option to get to Can Tho. It takes about 3 – 4 hours from Ho Chi Minh City by bus, and the price ranges from VND 90,000 — VND 130,000/ticket. There are many brands of buses to choose from, and the tickets can be bought at local bus agencies or the Western Bus Terminal (Ben Xe Mien Tay).

By Motorbike: If you are an experienced traveler who is looking for an adventure, traveling to Can Tho by motorbike is a good option. However, it can be dangerous to those unfamiliar with the traffic, so always be careful.

By Airplane: Traveling by airplane is a good option if you are coming from other destinations beside Ho Chi Minh City. You can find many cheap domestic flights from airlines such as Vietjet Air, Jetstar, and Vietnam Airlines.

By Private Transfer: Undoubtedly this is the best option as it entails the most ease and comfort as well as time flexibility. A Mekong Delta Tour will not only provide you with private vehicles that can accommodate all your needs but also insurance that will guarantee a stress-free travel experience.

When Should You Visit Cai Rang Floating Market?

While Cai Rang Floating Market opens all day, the best time to visit is in the early morning around 6 – 7 AM. During this time, the atmosphere is still fresh, and you also get the chance to witness the trading scene here at its liveliest. It is also a fantastic opportunity to watch the sunrise over Can Tho River.

Colorful market

Photo: Vemekong
Photo: Vemekong

From Cai Rang Bridge, the market stretches half kilometer downstream Can Tho River. Hundreds of boats gathering here from the dawn till before noon makes the area extraordinary animated and the water surface colorful with numerous tropical fruits. The large sized anchored boats create meandering lanes for smaller ones to weave through. All create a bustling and joyful atmosphere that can attract any tourist.

Most of the boats here are packed with a lot of farm products and specialties of Cai Rang Town, Chau Thanh district and the nearby areas like vegetables, coconut, banana, watermelon, grapefruit, dragon fruit and so on. Small boats that sell soft drinks, wine and food for breakfast go among the others to serve market-goers and visitors. Other services and products like mending machine, selling gasoline, mobile card, clothes, cosmetic, spicy, etc all are available here, not different from what are sold in common markets on land.

Trading from boats brings excitement to buyers when catching some sample of products that are thrown by sellers from other boats. While shopping on boat, one can also enjoy fresh fruits and see floating house of the locals along the riverside.

The special taste of the region

Photo: Saigon Riders
Photo: Saigon Riders

Having local food is the meaning to get yourself in Vietnamese local culture. While you are there, please make you that you have a few of these delicious treats. Firstly, you have to be ready in mind with a bunch of local fresh tropical fruits — green mangos, pineapples, dragon fruits, oranges, coconuts, durians and more on offer at the floating market. For something different, It is recommended for you to have breakfast while on the sampans at the market. You can decide to treat yourself with a bowl of tradition Crap Noodle, BBQ pork noodle or even Banh Mi and get the very special taste of the Mekong River.

Shop for Local Products

Photo: Saigon Riders
Photo: Saigon Riders

Cai Rang Floating Market specializes in the trading of agricultural products, tropical fruits, personal goods as well as food and drink. At the market, you can surely find unusual fresh tropical fruits such as rambutans, longans, or even local specialties, namely coconut candy, fish sauce, or rice paper at very reasonable prices.

Tips

To catch the liveliest scenery and enjoy the most animated atmosphere of Cai Rang market (often 6 am to 8 am), travelers should stay overnight in Can Tho and come here at the dawn, about 5 a.m.

After enjoying local breakfast and watching the sun rising, one can charter either a motorized boat or a non motorized one to begin a morning shopping in floating market. The area where most of the boats for charter are located is along Vo Tanh road. The fee is charged differently based on the kind of chartered boat.

Can Tho, the largest economic hub in Mekong Delta, Vietnam's most productive agriculture and aquaculture region, lies at an intersection of canal and river networks that measure a total 1,157 kilometers. The Hau River, one of two tributaries of the Mekong River in Vietnam, flows along the city’s north.

Other famous food markets in Asia included by the British magazine were Tsukiji fish market in Japan, Kashgar market in China, Kreta Ayer wet market in Singapore, and Kowloon City wet market in Hong Kong.

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