Cai Rang floating market is the biggest of its kind in the Mekong Delta.
Visiting a Vietnamese floating market is usually top on everyone’s Mekong delta trip. With good transport links from Ho Chi Minh city, Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho is the first choice for the majority.
Getting On The Water
Be advised, this is an early birds day trip, Cai Rang opens at 4am!
With most of the action starting to slow down around 7.00am, we advise you to set those alarm clocks and head off early!
Carly and I were lucky, the receptionist at our hotel was so helpful in getting us out on the water without doing a big all day group tour.
We ended up paying 400,000VND for 4 hours out on the water in a small traditional Vietnamese boat. This included breakfast on the boat and transfers too and from our hotel.
So we got up at 4.30 and were on the boat heading towards the market by around 5.15.
Heading down a river on the Mekong delta in the dark and as the sun comes up really was a great experience!
Cai Rang Floating Market
Cai Rang itself is a fresh produce market, so don’t expect to buy souvenirs. You’ll see locals selling and trading their fresh locally grown produce between each other from boat to boat.
You can tell which boat is selling the fruit or vegetable you’re after by looking up. Each boat has a huge bamboo pole somewhere onboard with what they have to offer hanging from the top.
There’s also plenty of freshly cooked food to be had, either at one of the floating restaurants (aimed at tourists) or from one of the many boats. Carly and I opted for the latter!
If you’re going definitely get yourself a bowl of the delicious Vietnamese noodle soups! Just look for the steam coming of those huge pots of boiling stock and you’ll find one.
Don’t Forget the coffee too! Plenty of that going around at the market, perfect for that early start.
After eating our breakfast we weaved in and out through the market and headed to the Backwaters of Can Tho.
I loved the market, it was an experience like no other. There was a downside, the sheer amount of tourist boats was insane!
It’s hard to have this opinion when I’m a tourist myself.
But the huge tourist boats with 20+ passengers onboard pushing their way through the market was an ugly sight. These big metal people carriers really stand out from the smaller wooden Vietnamese boats that make up the market, and really take away from its quaint charm.
As the morning went on the tourists began to outnumber the Vietnamese, this was the sign it’s time to leave.
The Backwaters Of Can Tho
We spent the remaining hour or so of our time aimlessly meandering through the backwaters of the town.
It was so quiet, so peaceful. No other tourists and only a handful of locals going about their daily business on the river.
It really was a great way to end our trip to the Cai Rang Floating market. Negotiating these waterways you get a real sense of what life on the rivers on the Mekong delta is like. The rivers and canals are a life blood to these people and this place. From fishing to agriculture the people of the Mekong delta and the water itself are intertwined creating a rich and fertile landscape. No wonder it has gained the nickname ‘The Food Basket of Vietnam’.
The people in this part of the country are so friendly. Never have I had so many people, men, women and especially children wave at me and say hello. They’re kind, warm and always smiling.
I hope you enjoyed this post and it encourages you to venture further into the south of Vietnam!