5 Mekong Delta Floating Market Experiences | Trading And Tradition

Mekong Delta floating market is a must-visit destination when traveling to the Mekong Delta. The scenic river view and the wide range of fresh specialties available at the market attract tourists to this location.

Today, both local and international tourists are fascinated by the Mekong Delta floating market. Visiting the floating market has become a traditional cultural experience for the residents of the Mekong River. Let’s explore the significance of floating markets and discover the top 5 Mekong Delta floating markets. 

Related Article: Best Time To Visit Mekong Delta | Unlock The Beauty!

What Is Mekong Delta Floating Market?

The Mekong Delta floating market is a distinctive cultural phenomenon among the people in the West. In the past, these floating markets emerged due to underdeveloped road traffic. Floating markets in the Mekong Delta are a way of life and trade for over 100 years, because of the complex and extensive river system of the Mekong region.

As a result, people would gather in canoes and other boats on the river to buy, sell, and exchange goods. Despite the widespread development of road networks and central market systems, floating markets still exist, and smaller boats have become increasingly crowded.

What Makes Mekong Delta Floating Market Interesting?

With a long history, the floating markets have been intertwined with various cultural activities of the local people in the area. The complete picture of the floating market experience would not be complete without mentioning floating stores, restaurants, and the floating houses of the locals.

Moreover, the Mekong Delta floating markets offer a unique experience when you travel there. If you are tired of the traditional markets in big cities, you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of one of the top 5 floating markets mentioned above.

Top 5 Mekong Delta Floating Markets In Vietnam

Not only do the floating markets help preserve the natural beauty of the Mekong region, but they also serve as popular tourist attractions. Foreign visitors, in particular, enjoy exploring and experiencing these floating markets. Let’s explore the top 5 famous floating markets.

1. Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang floating market is a wholesale market specializing in the trade of tropical fruits and vegetables on the Can Tho River. It is also a unique attraction of Cai Rang district, Can Tho City.

Voted by Rough Guides Magazine (UK) as one of the 10 most impressive markets in the world, Cai Rang floating market is the busiest and most popular floating market. Youramazingplaces, a famous travel website, also voted this floating market as one of Asia’s 5 most beautiful and exciting floating markets.

Cai Rang floating market
Cai Rang Floating Market is one of the largest floating markets in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. // Photo by Laure Wanders

This floating market attracts many selling boats and vendors, creating a bustling and vibrant spectacle every morning. Tourists can witness the lively trade of fresh seafood, rice, vegetables, and fruits. They can also enjoy regional specialties like “hu tieu” (a savory noodle soup).

On the way to Can Tho, visitors can stop to visit My Tho and take a boat trip to visit orchards, bee farms and coconut candy establishments in Ben Tre. Grab an overview of the Mekong Delta for a few delightful hours through our My Tho & Ben Tre day trip!

Let’s see how Max McFarlin explored Cai Rang floating market:

NOODLES On A Boat | Vietnam’s FLOATING MARKET In Cai Rang, Mekong Tour // Video by Max McFarlin
  • Address: 46 Hai Ba Trung Street, Tan An, Ninh Kieu, Can Tho
  • Top tips: The best time to visit Cai Rang floating market is from 5 am to 8 am.

2. Cai Be Floating Market

Cai Be floating market was established during the Nguyen Dynasty. Initially, it served as a transit station for goods between the western and eastern provinces. Over time, Cai Be floating market has become one of the largest wholesale markets in the Southwest region.

Cai Be floating market is a renowned tourist attraction in Tien Giang. It acts as a living museum of the traditional southern culture fostered by the interlacing waterway systems of the Mekong Delta. The market specializes in selling fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products from Tien Giang City and 13 neighboring provinces in the Mekong Delta region.

cai be floating market
Cai Be floating market acts as a living museum of the traditional southern culture // Photo by Thien Chuong

Visitors can reach the floating market by various means such as motorbikes, personal cars, and passenger cars. However, going by motorbike is the most exciting option, offering unforgettable memories. Cai Be is a popular choice for time-constrained tourists due to its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City and its late opening time, similar to Cai Rang.

Embark on our Cai Be day tour and immerse yourself in the captivating world of the floating market, and lively trading atmosphere!

  • Address: Cai Be town, Tien Giang province.
  • Top tips: The best way to explore Cai Be floating market is by boat or sampan before 7 am.

3. Nga Nam Floating Market

Nga Nam floating market serves not only as a vital traffic route but also as a wholesale market for local vendors and residents’ agricultural products. It is a bustling trading market and one of the most beautiful and famous floating markets in the West.

Similar to Cai Rang floating market, Nga Nam floating market operates as a wholesale market for significant Mekong Delta agricultural products. Here, large boats acquire, sell, and distribute commodities, while small boats function as mobile markets.

nga nam floating market
It is a bustling trading market and one of the most beautiful and famous floating markets in the West. // Photo by Asianway Travel
  • Address: Ward 1, Nga Nam town, Soc Trang province.
  • Top tips: People in the floating market wake up to prepare the market group from 2 to 3 am.

4. Long Xuyen Floating Market

Long Xuyen floating market is located on the Hau River, in the territory of My Phuoc Ward, Long Xuyen City. Hundreds of boats and boats anchor closely together here. The people living here trade on the boats all year round. Although the market operates throughout the day, it is most crowded in the morning.

An Giang province’s Long Xuyen floating market is considered one of the floating markets that retain the most idyllic and pristine features. It is not as busy as Cai Rang floating market and not as noisy as Cai Be. The peaceful atmosphere stretches along the river here, unaffected by the commercialization of tourism.

Cruise along the Mekong River by motorboat through this Mekong Delta Full Day Tour!

long xuyen floating market
The people living here trade on the boats all year round. // Photo by Local Vietnam
  • Address: My Long, Long Xuyen City, An Giang Province
  • Top tips: The most special thing about Long Xuyen floating market is that all items are sold at affordable prices.

5. Tra On Floating Market

Tra On floating market is located 250m from Tra On Hamlet. The market operates based on water levels, and whenever the water rises, the market springs to life, attracting many trading boats and bustling trade on the more than 300m long section of the Hau River. Sometimes, during high water levels in the early morning, the market draws hundreds of small and large boats from Vinh Long and nearby provinces for trade and exchange of goods.

Although Tra On Floating Market is not as well-known to tourists as other floating markets like Cai Rang and Phong Dien Floating Market in Can Tho; or Cai Be and Nga Bay floating market (Phung Hiep Floating Market) in Tien Giang, it possesses unique cultural characteristics of the people in the West. It is worth a visit for those who prefer less commercialized floating marketplaces.

tra on floating market
Tra On floating market possesses unique cultural characteristics of the people in the West. // Photo by Vietnam Travel
  • Address: Tra On District, Vinh Long Province
  • Top tips: Many food sellers here offer fresh fruit at reasonable prices, whether you are a local or foreign visitor. So don’t hesitate to try and savor the freshness of any fruit when you visit. Learn more about the 10 Strange And Exotic Fruits In Vietnam!

5 Tips For Traveling To Mekong Delta Floating Markets

Here are five tips for traveling to the Mekong Delta floating markets:

  • The floating markets in the West are usually bustling from 5 to 7 am. Take advantage of visiting the markets early to experience the vibrant atmosphere.
  • When chartering a boat, negotiate the price, time, and sightseeing places.
  • If you have a small group of people, you can save money by taking a join boat.
  • Ensure your safety by wearing a life jacket when traveling.
  • Always inquire about the prices of items in advance.

Ready To Explore Mekong Delta?

Nowadays, the road traffic network system has significantly developed, leading many traders to conduct their business onshore instead of on boats. However, these popular floating markets continues to uphold its values and make a positive contribution to the economic development of the region.

Indeed, a Mekong Delta floating market tour is a perfect option for those who want to experience the local culture in Vietnam. In addition to the boat trip, there are many attractive places and exciting activities to try in the Mekong Delta.

Book our Mekong Delta day tours and enjoy the serene beauty of this region in just one day!

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Written by My Huynh
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As a local expert of Vietnam, born and raised in Saigon, I am proud of my homeland's majestic mountains, dreamy rivers, and abundant forests and seas. Every corner of Vietnam carries a heroic historical story I always wanted to share.