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What to Know about Floating Markets in Vietnam


The Southwest region of Vietnam has a lot of rivers and for thousands of years, the locals have learned their way to adapt to the environment, creating a fascinating river culture. Therefore, this area boasts the most beautiful floating markets in Vietnam. From a casual means of livelihood, now floating markets are a charming aspect of the local culture and one of the captivating experiences in the Mekong Delta.

How Floating Markets in Vietnam Established

The origin and operation of floating markets in Vietnam remain a heated debate. However, the most compelling reason is that the Southwest area has a lot of rivers and canals, so local people have to use boats as mandatory transport, for both daily commune and transporting merchandise. From time to time, local people learned to expand the scale of business while making use of the waterway, hence the establishment of floating markets.

vietnam floating market boat 5

Local people also use boats to travel around and to load products

Another reason is that the enormous amount of Vietnamese fruit and other products of the Southwest area had raised the need for trading. Almost all of the floating markets are located near the big orchards of the Mekong Delta, which immensely facilitate the business of local people.

vietnam floating market product 1

Floating market mainly sells fruits from local orchards

What Makes Floating Markets in Vietnam Special

Firstly, the main transportation is the boat because of the dense river network. This particular trait has distinguished the floating market from other types of traditional one.

vietnam floating market boat 2

Boat is another transportation at Southwest region

Secondly, floating markets in Vietnam are the points where rivers meet. Consequently, many vendors from other provinces travel to these floating markets in Vietnam, bringing their regional specialties.

Thirdly, almost all of the product is garden fruit. Vietnam’s Southwest is known as the primary fruit supply for Ho Chi Minh City in particular, and the whole country in general. Therefore, floating markets in Vietnam are where you can purchase the freshest produce as well as other intricate handmade products.

vietnam floating market product 2

Fresh fruits are always available at every floating market

Last but not least, the Southwest people are extremely amiable. Despite their limited English skills, their delightful character will give you the warmest welcome. Vietnamese usually said that people at the Mekong Delta is very generous and willing to help visitors.

Some Floating Markets in Vietnam

Cai Rang floating market is located at Cai Rang District, Can Tho City. This floating market is famous for the diversity of product which comes from the nearby regions, such as garden fruits, clay stove from Khmer people, grocery “boat” of Chinese people… The most attractive side of the Cai Rang floating market is the display of their product. Local people use one bamboo stick to hang their stuff in front of the boat, indicating the products they sell.

vietnam floating market cai rang

Cai Rang floating market has a lot of products

Crowned in the early morning, Cai Be floating market in Tien Giang province mostly trades products from the biggest orchard in this area. Signature products at Cai Be floating market are garden fruit such as grapefruits, star apples, and rambutans. Besides garden fruits, they also sell delicious cuisines as breakfast. Sitting in a boat and enjoy one coffee cup is the best way to start a day.

vietnam floating market cai be

You can try delicious cuisines at Cai Be floating market

Not affected by tourism activity, Long Xuyen floating market in An Giang province still keeps its originality. Vegetables are mainly sold in this place, there is also some light snacks. If you want to see the peaceful atmosphere of this type of market, Long Xuyen floating market won’t let you down.

vietnam floating market long xuyen

Long Xuyen floating market still has its original form

One of the most famous floating markets in Vietnam is Nga Bay floating market in Hau Giang province. Having a long history, this floating market still possesses the traditional value of the Southwestern culture. Hundreds of boats gather at one place, creating a bustling and colorful scenery. With a reasonable price and one freshly harvested fruit, you must try some of the fruits to fulfill the taste of Southwest culture.

vietnam floating market nga bay

One morning at Nga Bay floating market

Some Notes on Visiting Floating Markets

- The best time to visit is at dawn when you can observe most closely how the vendors start their day at the market. Plus, there will be a beautiful sunrise at the skyline, and the weather is much more refreshing.

- Bring cash, and have small changes if possible. To no one surprise, there won't be any ATMs on the rivers, nor do the retailers will accept credit cards.

Read more on A Guide to Shopping in Vietnam.

- Have a trusty local guide to walk you through the beauties of Vietnam's floating markets.

Check out our Private Tour to Mekong Delta!

Conclusion on Floating Markets in Vietnam

The floating market in Vietnam is a unique form of market you can only see in the Southwest of Vietnam. If you are bored at a traditional market in the city, floating markets are always welcome you to get away from the modern city and experience something new. Come to visit Vietnam’s floating market; you will see a different side of Vietnam culture.

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Guest - Phil Robertson on Saturday, 26 October 2019 15:22

The Mekong delta has such unqiue culture

The Mekong delta has such unqiue culture
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Wednesday, 31 May 2023

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