(This is a narrated story of a female visitor who visited Cai Rang Floating Market recently)
After days wandering around the northwest region of Vietnam to emerge myself in the valleys which ornamented with full of yellow flowers, I booked a tour to visit Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho for remaining days of my annual leave in Vietnam last year. Occasionally, my vacation fell within near days of the Lunar New Year and this had inspired me more for this trip. A question sparked in my mind: ‘if you went back to Mekong Delta-Vietnam to visit your family and relatives, how could you miss such a chance to visit a great place like Cai Rang Floating Market?’.
I had changed my mind when I arrived Can Tho, where I decided to be a lonely traveller. Thanks to that, I collected certain knowledge and tips while travelling and I am ready to share you right now.
1. How to go to Floating Market?
How to travel from Saigon to Can Tho? I did some researches on google navigation to answer for this question. Interestingly, I found 2 ways of travelling: motorbike or car.
I opted to travel by car for saving my energy during the way for discovering such a unique market in Can Tho. There are many buses travelling between cities and I travelled with Thanh Buoi due to the reputation of this operator. Nevertheless, you can also travel with Phuong Trang from Mien Tay Bus Station. What you have to do is dialing 1900 6067 to make a reservation and that is all.
If you want to travel by motorbike, you simply go along 1A National High Way to My Thuan Bridge and then Can Tho Bridge. Signs are installed plentifully along the way so there is no worry about getting lost, Trust me. If you choose this means, It can take you 5 hours of travelling.
2. How to get a boat to explore Cai Rang Floating Market?
Once arriving Can Tho, just use google map or ask the local about the way to Ninh Kieu Wharf before departing to the market. This market is located right on the water face of Cai Rang river – a branch of Hau river. It is located around 6 km from the heart of Can Tho city.
If you travel in group, you can rent a private boat of which the capacity is from 10-12 people, to travel. The price is various from 500.000 – 800.000 VND depending on your bargaining skill. You can refer to the offer price of Mekong Smile Tour – a trusted local travel agent for further information. It is available here.
Because I was travelling alone, my ticket was 30,000 VND. As said, you can get a better price if you are a good negotiator. Excitingly, you can pay 10,000 VND more if you want to visit Can Tho bridge.
Generally, it may take you 30 minutes to travel to Cai Rang Floating Market – onle of the most crowded floating market of Mekong Delta , Vietnam. Once upon arrival, you will be stunned since you are getting into the hustle and bustle of not only the people and their activities, by also by the number of boats and ships.
3. When is the best time to visit floating market?
Business in Cai Rang Floating Market starts quite early so from 4-5.00 AM, boats are going to gather for trading. Therefore, you have to travel a bit early to catch up with all the vivid activities here.
I left Ninh Kieu Wharf from 4.30 AM so i arrived the market around 5.00 AM. Sky was still dawn and the sun was not risen yet. I did remember the morning breeze had touched my face with an excited feeling, which awaked me totally from my sleep.
4. What to see in the floating market?
There are many reasons enabling me to visit this market and first and foremost is the vivid scene of the commercial activities here.
Next, there were countless boats mounting full of goods and fruits. It is strange isn’t it? But it is real here, in the floating market and this scene is epic to form an image of Cai Rang floating market.
Every boats will sell different goods varying from fresh fruits to house stuff serving for daily life. Trader will hang the goods they are selling high on a long bamboo stick, which is commonly call ‘cay beo’. The meaning of ‘cay beo’ is an old way of making advertisement, which help the buyers easily identify the goods that they are in need to buy.
Interestingly, foods are served directly on boats. I never forget the feeling of enjoying my meal that I funnily call it ‘floating meal’. It was a hot bowl of rice noodle and its costed me only 20.000 VND. This may be regarded as my most memory throughout the trip.
Besides, if you want to enjoy fresh fruits, you can ask the traders process them for you. They are more than happy to do that, with all their friendliness.
If you have never visited Mekong Delta, certainly you will never know this experience. Hence, this can be a motivation motivated me to visit this market in Can Tho.
5. Local lifestyle
The last reason, which bound me to this place is the people. I have read quite a lot about stories of people here, who attach their lives together with the boats and the flows of water. Whatever the life is, they are always cheerful, happy and optimistic so I want to witness by my eyes about these points.
So far, I can never forget the smiles of the women who sell noodle. While preparing the food, she told me about the local tips of making this dish as well as her years spending on the river with this job. It was fabulous to know.
I do not know why a story of a stranger can offer me such a happy and friendly feeling. Certainly, her friendliness did ease all the distance between people and what remaining was only the feeling of home.
My story may end here and now is your turn to share your experiences. I hope my share may contain some useful information which may help you while travelling there, in a certain day.