Cai Rang floating market is the only Southeast Asian representative to break into the list of the world’s 19 must-visit food hubs, as rated by British travel publication Rough Guides. The market is the biggest of its kind in the Mekong Delta, where trading on waterways has been a way of life for generations.
1. About Cai Rang floating market Can Tho
- Location: downstream of Can Tho river, no. 46 Hai Ba Trung street, Ninh Kieu district, Can Tho city
Cai Rang Floating Market (or Cái Răng floating market) has been around for almost a century, making it one of the Mekong Delta's oldest cultural spots. The Mekong delta floating market was initially created to meet the locals’ demand for trading and exchanging goods, when streets and vehicles were not yet developed. At present, the road traffic networks have been extensively advanced, but the floating market still remains and develops.
Cai Rang is becoming more and more alluring to travelers thanks to its huge spread of produce on sale from a fleet of brightly coloured boats. From early morning, traders gather to buy fresh vegetables and fruits, handicrafts, and daily essential household goods to resell elsewhere, creating a bustling and joyful atmosphere. The most crowded time is from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m., when a great number of boats clog the waterway.
2. How to get to Cai Rang floating market Vietnam?
There are two main options for getting to Cai Rang market.
- Go by yourself
If you want to satisfy your wanderlust on your own, then traveling to Cai Rang market yourself is an appropriate option. If you are not in Ho Chi Minh City, you must first book a domestic/international flight to this destination. Then, catch a taxi to Ninh Kieu Wharf to purchase a boat ticket to Cai Rang, which costs between 2 USD to 4 USD per person. The price will be lower if you travel in a group.
- Book a Cai Rang floating market tour
Buying a tour to Cai Rang market is very easy today as there are many travel agencies offering Mekong Delta tours ranging in price from 30 USD to 200 USD. However, you should carefully check the tour's itinerary before booking in order to select the one that best fits your schedule.
3. Best things to do at Cai Rang floating market Can Tho
3.1. Discovering the intriguing trading method
At this bustling floating market, the cries of the sellers seem to be swallowed up by the immensity of the river and lost into the noise of the boat engines. The disadvantageous situation appears to favor the emergence of a unique advertising method: the sellers advertise their wares from the top of a long pole attached to their boats.
Every boat has a tall upright pole with samples of the goods for sale hung on it, so the sellers don't have to cry out what they are selling and buyers can easily see the goods sold on that boat from a far distance. Just look up and one will know exactly which boat is providing the products they are looking for.
While shopping on a boat, travelers can also explore life along the waterways, as it passes houses built on stilts over the water and boats of all sizes, shapes, and colors docked along the shore.
3.2. Trying local food and drinks
Besides seeing how people sell and buy products on Cai Rang floating market, you will also have a chance to taste the freshest fruits harvested from nearby farms: durian, milk fruit, rambutan, mangosteen, grapefruit, etc., or even other processed specialties like fish sauce, coconut candy, or dried fish. Many local delicacies are also available, such as “com tam” (broken rice with grilled pork and egg), “pho”, “hu tieu”, “bun rieu” - some kinds of noodles that are served with beef, pork and crab… With only 25,000 VND (around 1 USD), you may easily fill up your stomach with a hearty meal.
3.3. Enjoying Southern Vietnamese folk music (đờn ca tài tử)
One of the most expected events at Cai Rang floating market Can Tho is that very weekend (Saturday, Sunday), a boat of artists will go along the river performing "đờn ca tài tử" - the Southern Vietnamese folk music. Đờn ca tài tử is said to reflect the lifestyle of Southern people who live and work in the Mekong Delta region. Its melody aids the locals in expressing all sentiments and emotions, as well as their own diligence, kindness, and courage, and has grown popular among both domestic and foreign tourists.
3.4. Visiting other famous tourist destinations near Cai Rang
Cai Rang floating market itself is beautiful, but it would be perfect if you could spend time exploring many appealing sites surrounding it, such as:
- Ba Cong orchard garden: This is Can Tho's most renowned and largest orchard farm (covering 2 hectares), which supplies fruits to markets and wholesalers in Mekong Delta
- Rice noodle factory in Can Tho: Here visitors will learn how to make traditional rice noodles, taste crunchy “rice noodle pizza” and take in Can Tho's rural atmosphere.
- Coconut candy factory in Cai Rang: Visitors may observe the entire process of manufacturing a little bar of sticky coconut candy from start to finish.
4. Top tips for visiting Cai Rang floating market Vietnam
In order to have a wonderful trip at Cai Rang market, you should take notice of the following:
- Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to prevent yourself from the heat of the sun during the day
- Arrive in Cai Rang early to contemplate the sunrise and enjoy the food at its freshest
- Bring VND cash instead of using credit cards, as most sellers prefer trading by cash
- Use a local fishing boat to avoid the crowds and get the greatest experience at Cai Rang market
- Have accommodations booked in advance
5. Where to stay near Cai Rang floating market Can Tho?
Tourists seeking for a pleasant stay have plenty of options to choose from. Among them, Sheraton Can Tho is favored by many thanks to its outstanding values:
- A centrally located hotel: From the hotel, it is easy to get to Cai Rang floating market and other tourist attractions in Can Tho such as Can Tho bridge, Ninh Kieu wharf, Tay Do night market, etc.
- The Mekong Delta's tallest hotel: That is why Sheraton Can Tho offers breathtaking views of the charming rivers and the sparkling city at night.
- A wide range of amenities: Travelers will have a full-service resort experience thanks to a system of deluxe rooms with swimming pools, commercial centers, restaurants, conference rooms, and other amenities.
Cai Rang floating market is a must-visit place in Mekong Delta, Vietnam. You will have a unique experience seeing how the locals grew up and make a living along this river. The rustic scene of buying and selling goods on the boats, as well as the locals' kindness and warmth, will undoubtedly make you fall in love with this land.
>>> Don't forget to book rooms at Sheraton Can Tho to get the best deals!