Explore the Unique Cai Rang Floating Market with Mekong River Cruise
Cai Rang Floating Market is a must-see destination in the vast Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam. It’s considered a unique “specialty” of the locals in Can Tho particularly and in the Western Region generally. The market plays an important role in the lives of local people while also preserving the cultural charm of this river area. Let’s explore the significance of the Cai Rang floating market with Mekong River Cruises.
I. General Information about Cai Rang Floating Market
Cai Rang floating market is found downstream of the Can Tho River, around 500 meters from Cai Rang Bridge, along the Vo Tanh road that leads to the Ba Lang canal and Phong Dien district. It is about five kilometers away from Can Tho city center. To reach the market, you can take a boat from Ninh Kieu Wharf, which will take around 30 minutes.
2. History & Nowadays
Cai Rang floating market has been a hub for business in Can Tho City and nearby provinces, such as Vinh Long, An Giang, Tra Vinh, Dong Thap, and Soc Trang, for over a century. In the past, due to the undeveloped road traffic system and the dense network of the Mekong River, people used canoes, boats, or sampans to gather on the river and trade goods. The exchange of agricultural products and essential items between local people on rivers has formed the floating market.
Today, with the advent of new roads and bridges and the establishment of supermarkets on land, floating markets have become less important. However, the Cai Rang floating market keeps busy with the appearance of tourist boats. The market benefits the people who live nearby in terms of economy, tourism, and culture. Many locals also still like to go to the floating market as a part of their livelihoods for generations.
3. How to get there
Depending on where you start, there are several ways to get to the Cai Rang floating market.
You may fly to Can Tho International Airport from the central or northern cities. Then, take a taxi to Ninh Kieu Wharf, where you can buy a boat ticket (around 5 USD – group travel) to Cai Rang floating market. If you leave from Ho Chi Minh City, you can go by motorbike, bus, or private car. The travel time is around 3-4 hours.
A better way to experience Cai Rang floating market is to book a tour easily from local travel agencies or your travel consultants. The price ranges from 30 USD to 200 USD, and it may include transfers, breakfast, and other attractions around. However, you should check the tour's schedule before making a reservation to ensure it fits with your needs.
4. Best time to visit
Cai Rang floating market and other floating markets in the Western Region are always open quite early, in contrast to the marketplaces on the land. The market typically has trading and exchanging operations from 5 a.m. until 9 a.m.
To see Cai Rang floating market in its full beauty, arrive between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. in the morning, when you can see the vibrant dawn and get to experience the busiest and most lively hour. Therefore, about 5.30 am in the morning, when the sun is just beginning to rise, is the best time to visit Cai Rang floating market. You may snap check-in shots of your family without restriction, as the weather is not too hot at that time.
5. Ticket & boat price
There is no fee to visit the Cai Rang floating market. You only need to buy a boat ticket or rent one from Ninh Kieu Quay. Boat fares are different, with travel time ranging from 2 to 4 hours for 1-45 people. The prices are between 30 USD and 80 USD. As you depart from Ninh Kieu Wharf, you can enjoy the sunrise, the scene of fishermen catching fish, and life along the river.
II. Best things to experience in Cai Rang Floating Market
Discover an interesting way to trade
Cai Rang is one of the best floating markets to visit in Asia. At this butling attraction, the shouts of the sellers are drowned out by the huge river and the noise of the boat engines. The disadvantageous situation seems to make a new way of advertising better: sellers promote their products from a tall bamboo pole attached to their boats, called “Cây Bẹo”. Each boat has a tall pole standing straight up with samples of the items for sale. This way, sellers don't have to shout out what they are selling, and buyers can easily see the goods being sold from far away. Just by looking up, you can find which boat has the products you're searching for.
When shopping on a boat, visitors can also see what life is like along the waterways. You will see houses that are built on stilts over the water and many boats of different sizes, shapes, and colors anchored along the shore.
Take stunning check-in photos on the Mekong boat
A visit to the Cai Rang floating market is incomplete without a cool photo to share your experiences online. Sit on the boat’s bow and immerse yourself in the sunshine of the pink dawn, or you can take lots of pictures while the boat goes past all the big and small ships filled with colorful fruits. This scene will offer the best background for your flawless photos.
Interact with vendors
If you get the chance to visit Cai Rang floating market, don't be afraid to talk to the merchants there. They will share true stories about how people in the West live their daily lives. Wouldn't it be great to learn about the culture of a new place from the locals who live there? You will see how friendly the people from the river region are. Even though they face difficulties, they always have a smile on their face. Nobody knows if those conversations will make you believe more in your own life.
Learn about Cai Rang floating market from local tour guides
Cai Rang floating market has a distinct history and culture in the Western Region. When traveling in a package, a local tour guide will tell you the story behind the origin of the market and how it got the name "Cai Rang", as well as interesting legends about the river. Don't be afraid to ask about things you don't know yet, and feel free to ask unusual questions. The tour guides will always know a lot about the unique Western river culture and can share it with you.
Savor local food and drinks on the boat
Besides witnessing how people sell and buy things at Cai Rang floating market, you can try the fresh tropical fruits from nearby orchards like durian, rambutan, pineapples, jackfruit, mangosteen, and more. You can also enjoy a hearty breakfast from floating eateries with many local delicacies, such as hu tieu (noodle soup), bun rieu cua (tomato-based crab noodle soup), and kho coffee (nel drop coffee). Filling up your stomach on the tottering boat will definitely raise your excitement.
III. Top tips to visit Cai Rang floating market
To have a great trip at Cai Rang floating market, you should pay attention to the following:
- If you visit Cai Rang floating market without a tour package, you can reserve your accommodation near the location. Then, rent a scooter, car, or bike and go explore the area on your own. However, you will still need to hire a boat if you want to visit the floating markets.
- Make sure to choose reliable companies that offer boat trips with lifebuoys and jackets. Safety is a priority.
- Arrive at the market early to contemplate the sunrise over the river and taste the food at its freshest.
- Remember to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunblock to protect yourself from the sun.
- Use VND cash instead of credit cards because most sellers trade in cash.
Cai Rang floating market is not just a place where people from the Western provinces trade goods; it's also an attractive spot for both domestic and foreign travelers to explore local culture. If you are keen on an authentic floating market experience, Cai Rang is surely a must-visit destination in your Vietnam travels. Contact our consultants now for the best assistance and help with planning your Vietnam and Mekong River Cruise tours.