The Mekong Delta region possesses a dense and characteristic system of rivers and canals where all activities of living, production or shopping are associated with the river. That is an important factor promoting the formation of the floating markets in Vietnam.
Not only a busy trading place, the floating market is also an attractive tourist destination. Coming here, you have the opportunity to immerse yourselves in the bustling shopping atmosphere, enjoy fresh fruit and feel the joy of buyers and sellers wobbly on the brilliant boats.
Buying and selling fruit on the floating market in Vietnam (Source: Shutterstock)
There are very few billboards on the boats. Instead, the boat owner hangs one or more items on a pole or on the bow implying that he is selling those items. However, there are some exceptions:
- The items are hung but not for sale: They are clothes. The boat owners often live on the boat, so their clothes are also dried on the boat
- The items are sold without being hung: These are the types of dishes and drinks, because of their nature, these cannot be hung
You can buy a ticket at the entrance of the market. A ticket ranges from 30,000 - 50,000 VND (~ 1.3 - 2.2$). The boat often departs when there are enough people. If you do not want to wait for enough people, you can rent that boat and the price, of course, is much higher (about 300,000 VND/boat ~ 13$ or more).
1 - Cai Rang Floating Market - top 7 best floating markets in Vietnam
Location: On Can Tho River, Tan An ward, Ninh Kieu district, Can Tho province
Departure station: Ninh Kieu Wharf - 46 Hai Ba Trung street, Tan An ward, Ninh Kieu district, Can Tho province, about 169 km from Ho Chi Minh City
Opening time: 4:30am - 9am
Established in the early twentieth century, Cai Rang floating market is the busiest and most representative market among floating markets in the Mekong Delta region and recognized as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016.
The market impresses with boats full of goods: fruits, food, home appliances,...The most attractive thing when coming to Cai Rang floating market is the smoky boats where the famous chef, Gordon Ramsay, visited, discovered and enjoyed the famous noodle dish of the Southern region.
2 - Cai Be Floating Market - the closest floating market to Ho Chi Minh City
Location: Tan Phong isle, Cai Be district, Tien Giang province, about 105km from Ho Chi Minh
Opening time: 3am - 10pm (except for Lunar New Year and Doan Ngo New Year)
Cai Be Floating Market is a transfer station for fruits and products in Tien Giang province and is also a place for buying, selling and exchanging goods of local people. This is a place with many typical cultural features of the bustling river, so it is very attractive to visitors. At dawn and dusk, the brilliant reddish-orange color stretches across the river surface with a rare romantic, poetic and lyrical beauty.
3 - Phong Dien floating market
Location: Nhon Loc Hamlet, Nhon Ai commune, Phong Dien district, Can Tho province - 181 km from Ho Chi Minh City
Opening time: 3am - 4pm
This Vietnam floating market has a quite large area and still retains the rustic features of the river countryside. When the sun had just dawned, the Phong Dien floating market began to bustle with laughter from buyers and sellers, stirring up a whole section of the river. Although the market takes place all day, to be immersed in the bustling atmosphere and enjoy typical food of Can Tho province, you should come here from 5am to 8am.
5 - Nga Bay floating market
Location: Le Hong Phong Street, Nga Bay ward, Nga Bay town, Hau Giang province - 193 km from Ho Chi Minh City
Opening time: 5am - 8pm
Located at the intersection of seven rivers, this floating market is called with an idyllic name, simply Nga Bay floating market. There are almost no floating markets as large and prosperous as Nga Bay floating market. This Vietnam floating market attracts tourists by bustling boats full of fruit, folk dishes such as porridge, noodles, vermicelli and delicious coffee cups,...
On each boat, there is also a tree like a special sign so that you can easily identify which items are sold. In the middle of the river, there is a bustling scene of boats, all kinds of items for sale, while on the two sides are a series of craft villages such as making boats, weaving nets, .. bringing a full of lively labor beauty.
4 - Nga Nam floating market - the oldest floating market in Vietnam
Location: Ward 1, Nga Nam district, Soc Trang province, 225 km from Ho Chi Minh City
Opening time: 3am - 8pm
The reason for the name of Nga Nam floating market is because this market is located at the intersection of four rivers with five crossroads: Ca Mau, Vinh Quoi, Thanh Tri, Long My, Phung Hiep. Tourists like to come here to learn about the living lifestyle of the local people, the bustling shopping scene on boats and enjoy the special fruit here. The highlight of Nga Nam market lies in the twisted trees at the top of the boat used to hang things that the seller wants to introduce to help buyers easily identify when shopping.
6 - Long Xuyen Floating Market
Location: Ngo Thoi Nham street, My Phuoc ward, Long Xuyen city, An Giang province - 191 km from Ho Chi Minh city
Opening time: 05:00 - 08:00
Long Xuyen Floating Market is one of the best floating markets in Vietnam. It is a rare tourist destination that retains the pristine and idyllic features of the river region. Mainly agricultural products such as pineapple, coconut, watermelon...are sold here.
7 - Tra On Floating Market
Location: near 44 Trung Trac street, Luc Si Thanh commune, Tra On district, Vinh Long province - 167km from Ho Chi Minh City
Opening time: 5am - 6pm
Tra On Floating Market is located at the end of the Hau River and is an old market, associated with many cultural features of the Mekong Delta. The items sold here are mainly fruits such as durian, mango, orange, banana, guava...which are very fresh. This is a place to distribute fruit to all over the region.
Floating market, one the most unique Vietnam's markets, is a kind of Vietnam's special intangible cultural heritage. These floating markets in Vietnam are not only places to trade, meet and chat, but also an interesting tourist spot. If you have the opportunity to go to the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, you should try on a boat to slowly enjoy a cup of fragrant coffee and immerse in the bustling and busy atmosphere of buying and selling in these floating markets.