Floating markets in Vietnam are the iconic image of the Mekong Delta in southwestern Vietnam, famous for its stunning unique watery countryside, tasty foods, and hospitable locals.
For Indian travelers seeking an authentic cultural experience, this article unveils the secrets of the famous floating markets in Vietnam, from the bustling Cai Rang market in Can Tho City to the peaceful Long Xuyen market in An Giang province.
Cai Rang Floating Market
Located right at the confluence of the Cai Rang River and Hau River, the Cai Rang floating market is a wholesale market for fruits and agricultural products in the Mekong Delta. In 2016, the market was recognized as an intangible national cultural heritage.
The Cai Rang floating market operates from 05:00 AM to 08:00 AM. Let’s ensure you head to the market early to enjoy the exciting activities, such as admiring the beautiful watery views at sunrise or savoring a hot Bun Rieu (Vietnamese crab noodle soup).
Cai Rang is the biggest floating market in Vietnam. It receives much interest from local and international tourists because of its various products and bustling business. You can buy fresh fruits, drink coconut or iced milk coffee, and enjoy many local delicacies like Pho, Bun Rieu, Bun Bo, Hu Tieu, and more. Gordon Ramsay – a famous Scottish chef and a judge of the American MasterChef show – used to praise the noodle dish at an eatery in Cai Rang floating market as “the queen of broth.”
- Location: Can Tho River, Hai Ba Trung Street, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City (about 170km southwest Ho Chi Minh City, nearly 3 hours to travel by car)
- Opening time: 05:00 – 08:00 AM
Nga Bay Floating Market
Nga Bay floating market, also known as Phung Hiep market, is over 100 years old. This floating market was established in 1915, and from the 40s onwards, the market became the largest waterway intersection in Cochinchina.
Coming to Nga Bay floating market, you can purchase fresh tropical fruits, enjoy yummy Vietnamese noodles, and relish the peaceful atmosphere of the friendly countryside. Let’s take a chance to visit Nga Bay, one of the famous floating markets in Vietnam!
- Location: Nga Bay City, Hau Giang Province (about 200km from Ho Chi Minh City, around 4-5 hours by car)
- Opening time: 02:00 – 08:00 AM
Cai Be Floating Market
Cai Be is another famous floating market in Vietnam. Every day, the market is busy with business activities, mainly with fruits, agricultural products, foods, and drinks. Also, it serves as a transit station for fruits and products to all regions.
Unlike typical floating markets that only open in the morning, the Cai Be floating market starts trading from dawn until late at night. When dawn had just risen, the floating market was bustling like a small street on the river. Boats selling street food such as Pho, vermicelli noodles, groceries, and drinks rush to serve customers, creating a lively ambiance.
Sitting on a floating boat, enjoying a bowl of noodles, or a fragrant cup of coffee in the morning is a fantastic experience that you should try once in your life.
- Location: on the large Tien River, Cai Be District, Tien Giang (Over 100km from Ho Chi Minh City, around 2.5 hours by coach or car)
- Opening time: Busy from 05:00 AM to 08:00 AM and lasts until 06:00 PM daily.
Nga Nam Floating Market
Nga Nam is the renowned floating market in Soc Trang province. It’s the intersection of five rivers flowing in five directions: Ca Mau, Vinh Quoi, Long My, Thanh Tri, and Phung Hiep. Appearing very early, the Nga Nam floating market is rich in the history and culture of this land.
The Nga Nam floating market is an important trading hub between remote areas south of the Hau River. The market offers many agricultural goods, fresh seafood, Vietnamese specialties, foods, and drinks. Rather than vertically hanging what they sell on a wooden pole as in other floating markets, vendors at Nga Nam market place them horizontally. Hence, all kinds of colorful fruits look eye-catching.
- Location: Ward 1, Nga Nam Town, Soc Trang Province (Over 220 km from Ho Chi Minh City, around 4.5 hours by coach or car)
- Opening time: around 03:00 AM to late evening, with the bustling time 05:00 – 06:00 AM
Long Xuyen Floating Market
If you would like to enjoy the peaceful ambiance and explore the floating lives of people on the boats in the Mekong Delta, the Long Xuyen floating market is highly recommended.
This floating market is not as noisy and bustling as others, and the local people are always amiable, genuine, and open-minded. You will see that the prices of goods and services in Long Xuyen are very cheap.
Many products you can buy here are fresh vegetables or tropical fruits like rambutan, longan, and grapefruit. Additionally, you can savor delicious noodles on the boat and discover the local culture through the stories of vendors.
- Location: on the gentle Hau River, Long Xuyen City, An Giang Province (about 185 km from Ho Chi Minh City, around 3.5 hours by coach or car)
- Opening time: 05:00 – 10:30 AM
Tra On Floating Market
Tra On floating market is located between the confluence of Hau River and Mang Thit River of Vinh Long province. Unlike other floating markets in Vietnam, Tra On often operates depending on the river’s water level, which is most crowded in the morning or at the peak of high water.
The main products in Tra On are various tropical fruits such as coconuts, bananas, guavas, pineapples, oranges, grapefruits, jackfruit, and more. Furthermore, Indian visitors should try popular specialties, such as fish noodles or vegetarian beef vermicelli noodles.
- Location: 44 Trung Trac Street, Luc Si Thanh Commune, Tra On District, Vinh Long Province (about 163 km from Ho Chi Minh City, around 3 hours by coach or car)
- Opening time: 03:00 – 11:00 AM, busy from 05:00 – 06:00 AM
Diving into floating markets in Vietnam brings you memorable experiences with peaceful watery scenery, local delights, and the unique culture of people in Southwestern. Not stopping here, the Mekong Delta contains many other exciting activities, such as touring fruit orchards or visiting sacred pagodas. If you’re excited about the Mekong Delta tour, feel free to contact us. We’re here to make your Vietnam trip more enjoyable. Have a nice trip in Vietnam!