Cai Rang Floating Market is one of the intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam, where the most culture typicalities of Mekong Delta about trading on the water are still conserved. This place attracts visitors’ glances by the hustle and bustle of traders on boats, which are mounted by fruits, local foods and especially, what make it unique is the sincereness of the local hawkers.
Located right in the heart of Can Tho city, it can take you 30 minutes to travel to this special place by travelling boats or sampans from Ninh Kieu Quay. Although there have been no official documents recognized the exact time of its establishment, this market was formed with a rich history and attached itself to the development of the Southern Vietnam. Returning to the past, when there was a limitation of roads, boats, small ships and sampans were regarded as a main means of transportation serving for trading activities in Mekong Delta – a region that is famous for systems of interlaces rivers and canals. This may be the reason partly explaining for the birth this market. As a branch of Hau River, Cai Rang Floating Market has been the trading point of local farming products, goods and other necessities. Since 2014, Cai Rang Floating Market has received significant investment to gradually transform itself to be one of important tourism destination for domestic and international tourists.
Trading activities in Cai Rang Floating Market happen in all year round and particularly, it is one of the main markets of Mekong Delta for the wholesale of local goods. Farming products are harvested from farms or orchards and transported by boats or ships to here before distributing to other places across the country. This kind of commerce has built a long history of this special market, where the most specialties of Mekong Delta are conserved as we can see today. Not only for wholesale purpose, there are countless of small boats to serves the local and tourists with fruits, foods and other products. All are processed and ready to serve the tasters right on the water. This has formed a uniqueness of the Floating Market that you can not find in anywhere else throughout the globe,
Apart from farming products, visitors can taste Mekong’s cuisine right on the floating boats. These mobile restaurants can serve you with full range of specialties: Banh mi, noodle, vermicelli and other foods which are made by very native recipes.
Under the urbanization, parts of commercial traditions have been lost but Cai Rang Floating Market is still there to welcome visitors. Beo stick – a mean of local advertisement – is still catching visitors’ eyes or the native lullabies are still sung somewhere in this market. All have recall us about a Mekong in the days of past. Moreover, the boats on the water also remind us about the images of local hawkers, who always struggle to find a better life right on the floating waves of Mekong river. Despite the difficulties in lives, remaining in their faces still the smiles with full of friendliness, sincereness and generosity. Here, we call it Mekong Smile.