Cai Rang Floating Market – The truth about the best floating market in Vietnam

Located on Cam Tho Province( the capital of Mekong Delta), Cai Rang floating market is 6km away from the center of Can Tho City , and about 30-minutes away from Ninh Kieu Wharf by boat. The same as other floating markets in the Mekong Delta , Cai Rang was initially formed to meet the trading needs of the locals while the road traffic system was still in its infancy. What’s awesome is that it’s existed for over a 100 years!

Today, even if the road traffic network has developed significantly, Cai Rang floating market keeps growing and brings value to the locals of the country and area in terms of economy, culture, and tourism.

The funny name of “Cai Rang Floating market”

The name of Cai Rang floating market has existed for many years although its origin has been still shrouded in mystery. But, there are two fun stories around its name. Firstly, legend has it that when this place was being found, there was also the appearance of a big crocodile. As people saw its teeth being plugged into the river’s bank, the land was accordingly named Cai Rang – “The teeth”.

But the fact is that  the name “Cai Rang” originated from the Khmer word, known as “Karan” – a daily molded clay stove. In the ancient time, Khmer people were good at making a lot of “Karan” and then sold them everywhere by boats. Since then, “Karan” was pronounced as “Cai Rang” by the locals because they sounded the same.  

What makes Cai Rang floating Market becomes the best floating market in Vietnam?

So far, along with Cai Be, Tra On, Nga Nam and Nga Bay Floating Markets, Cai Rang has long been well-known and noticeable by both domestic and foreign travelers as one of most 5 famous floating markets in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, and top 6 busiest floating market in the world.

One of the largest and busiest floating markets in the Mekong Delta. The market sells many products but mostly fresh fruits and vegetables from the surrounding gardens.

From the early morning, a countless number of boats and sampans will gather here, making the whole area more lively and stunning than ever. While the large boats are full of farm products and specialties (such as vegetables, grapefruit, coconut, banana, watermelon, dragon fruit and so on), small ones mainly focus on selling food, coffee, snacks, noodle, soft drinks, etc. for breakfast. To help the visitors’ satisfaction reach the highest notch, other useful services and products are also widely available, from selling mobile card, cosmetics, clothes to mending machine and so on. This helps you feel like that you are now surrounded by the markets on land.

Lives on Cai Rang Floating Market

Wallowing in the hectic atmosphere, you not only see the bustling vibe of the market, but also enhance your knowledge of how several generations live together on boats. Those boats become their “mobile houses” on the river, which contain animals, flower pots, TV, and more. Needless to say, all daily activities mostly take place on boats. On the late afternoon, children can study on deck while parents may prepare something to sell tomorrow. 

Buyers can find themselves really excited in catching products, which are even tossed by traders from other boats. If you feel hungry, don’t hesitate to visit one of the small canoes and satisfy your stomach with a delicious bowl of Pho or Hu Tieu. With the special and distinguishing recipe, the flavor will leave a strong impression on your mouth.

Unique marketing on Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Marketing

Cai Rang floating market
In the busy floating market, there is no need for the sellers to cry loudly. That’s because their cries can get lost in the big noise of the boats’ engines as well as swallowed in the largeness of the river. Instead, they choose the long pole as a brilliant tool for their advertisement. That means the sample of what they sell will be hung on the long upright pole for sale in every boat, so that visitors and buyers can easily notice their goods from the distance. So, don’t waste your time in asking which boat sells bananas, for instance! Instead, what you must do is simply to look up carefully and find exactly which boat has the banana sample hung on the top of the pole.

Rules of the floating markets in Vietnam

The unwritten rule for selling goods in the floating markets is to display the product on a lateral bar to let the customers know exactly what the merchant is selling. Nonetheless, there are a few exceptions:

“Hang but not for sale?”

For most market merchants, the boat is not only their stalls but also their residence. All daily activities for the people in the floating markets are often taken place inside a few square metres, including the hanging of their clothes. These clothes can sometimes be mistaken for merchandise, however these clothes are not for sale.

“For sale but not hang?”

These are items are generally foods and drinks, which are available to buy, but it is very difficult to hang them so they are not displayed.

“Hang one but sell another?”

This happens when traders hang coconut leaves on the lateral bar to signal that they want to sell their boats.

Don’t forget these activities in Cai Rang Floating market

  • Eating on the floating market : visitors shouldn’t miss out interesting eating experiences while visiting the floating market. Because the trading activities start early in the morning, there are many floating restaurants opened to serve breakfast for both sellers and shoppers. Here, you can find most local dishes, such as pho, hu tieu, com tam, bun rieu, etc. With only 25.000 VND (~1 USD), surely you can treat your hunger with a quite hearty meal and even a cup of coffee. Most of the locals have been living with their “floating stall” for about 30 – 40 years, so believe me, they really know how to make their dishes and you will surely get a tasty experience.

Best time to visit Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang floating market is open and busy all day. However, it’s liveliest and most animated from the dawn to 8 to 9 AM. But, you can wake up early and enjoy the most vibrant atmosphere of the market around 6 to 7 AM. There are two ways to mingle with the colorful life of locals on river. First, you may ask a local guide to instruct you by a small sampan. Second, book a Mekong Delta  tour and enjoy your trip. Remember to drop by the merchant ships and feast your taste with some seasonal fruits before buying. Just gain hands-on experience and share your feeling with your beloved ones after the trip.

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