Exploring the Unique Charm of Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho, the Mekong Delta

July 17, 2020 7 mins to read

The Cai Rang Floating Market is a distinctive and characteristic market in the Mekong Delta, unlike any other in Vietnam. It stands as a prime example of the vibrant and renowned markets that showcase the rich river culture of the Mekong Delta region. Embark on a journey to discover the renowned Cai Rang Floating Market and immerse yourself in the life of the people in the tranquil waterways of the Western region. This will surely leave you with many unforgettable memories on your Can Tho travel adventure. So, pack your bags and head to this serene countryside – an experience waiting to unfold!

1. Introduction to Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho

1.1 Historical Background of Cai Rang Floating Market

Adorning itself with the distinctive features of the Mekong Delta, the Cai Rang Floating Market is not only an attraction for the locals but also a familiar destination in the itineraries of many enthusiastic explorers of Can Tho. Formed in the early 20th century, Cai Rang Floating Market became a bustling hub for people from the Western region to exchange goods, especially the unique products of the Mekong Delta.

Situated at the Hau River and Cai Rang River confluence, the Cai Rang Floating Market benefits from its strategic location in shallow waters, providing convenient conditions for boats to anchor. Over time, the increasing number of anchored boats transformed it into a vibrant floating market. In 2016, Cai Rang Floating Market was officially recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage, becoming a source of pride for the people of the Mekong Delta.

Address: Can Tho River, 46 Hai Ba Trung Street, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City.

Đến chợ nổi Cái Răng và cảm nhận nhịp sống nhộn nhịp xen lẫn bình dị ở nơi đây

Visit the Cai Rang floating market and feel the bustle of life mixed with idyllic life (Image: Collection)

Trải nghiệm nhịp sống mộc mạc của người dân trên chợ nổi Cần Thơ

Experience the rustic lifestyle of people on Can Tho floating market (Image: Collection)

Lênh đênh trên ghe thuyền khám phá vẻ đẹp chợ nổi Cái Răng

Lenh on a boat to explore the beauty of Cai Rang floating market (Image: Collection)

1.2 Ideal Time to Explore Cai Rang Floating Market

The ideal time to explore Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho is from December to April, when the weather is sunny with minimal rainfall, making it convenient for market visits. This period also coincides with the fruit harvest season, allowing you to purchase unique Mekong Delta specialties at the floating market. Can Tho experiences the rainy season from May to December, occasionally interrupting the market’s trading activities.

Cai Rang Floating Market starts its operations early, and you can begin your unique market exploration from 4 a.m. onwards. At this time, numerous boats gather, creating a lively and cheerful atmosphere. Additionally, you can witness the breathtaking sunrise over the picturesque river.

Những người buôn bán ở chợ nổi Cái Răng đang hăng hái chuẩn bị cho phiên chợ

Traders at Cai Rang floating market are eagerly preparing for the fair (Image: Collection)

Những món ăn nóng hổi ngon miệng được chuẩn bị ngay trên ghe thuyền ở chợ nổi Cái Răng

Delicious hot dishes are prepared right on the boat at Cai Rang floating market (Photo: Collection)

Nhịp sống rất tất bật của người dân nơi chợ nổi Cái Răng

The hectic life of people in the Cai Rang floating market (Image: Collection)

2. Guide to Getting to Cai Rang Floating Market

Nowadays, in Can Tho, numerous routes cater to the exploration of the Cai Rang Floating Market, departing from Ninh Kieu Wharf. To reach this destination, you can rent boats, ferries, or larger boats, depending on the number of people. If you have a small group, consider using a small ship. Opting for a ferry or boat can save considerable money for larger groups. Don’t forget to check out the travel guide for many tips on exploring Can Tho!

Below are the reference prices for renting boats at Ninh Kieu Wharf that you can consider. Prices may vary depending on the time, especially during holidays and Tet (Lunar New Year).

– 1 – 7 passengers: 500,000 VND/boat
– 8 – 15 passengers: 600,000 VND/boat
– 16 – 30 passengers: 700,000 VND/boat
– 31 – 40 passengers: 800,000 VND/boat
– 40 passengers and above 900,000 VND/boat

Dẫu bận rộn nhưng nụ cười luôn thường trực trên môi những người dân ở chợ nổi Cái Răng

Although busy, smiles are always standing on the lips of people in the Cai Rang floating market (Image: Collection)

3. What Makes This Market Special?

3.1 Unique “Four-Hanging” Method at Cai Rang Floating Market

Given the vast array of goods, trading on the Can Tho River encountered challenges with the market’s extensive space, where the sounds of engines and people merged, making it difficult to distinguish the calls. Therefore, the unique “Four-Hanging” method was introduced to help sellers and buyers quickly identify what each boat was trading.

The “Four-Hanging” method includes:

Hang What You Sell: The boat owner hangs the items they are selling on a pole (also known as a pennant), making it easy for boats on the opposite side to recognize the merchandise.

Hang Without Selling: Clothes of families living directly on the boat.

Sell Without Hanging: These boats serve food on the river, offering noodles, crab soup, boat coffee, and meat sandwiches.

Hang One Thing, Sell Another: When the boat owner wants to sell their boat, they hang a roofing sheet on the pole.

Phương tiện di chuyển duy nhất khi bạn đến chợ nổi Cần Thơ là ghe thuyền

The only means of transportation when you arrive at Can Tho floating market is a boat (Image: Collection)


Ngồi trên các ghe thuyền để cảm nhận thật sống đống chợ nổi Cái Răng

Sitting on the boats to feel the real life of Cai Rang floating market (Image: Collection)

3.2 Explore, Discover, and Enjoy “Don Ca Tai Tu” Music

When you visit the Cai Rang Floating Market, you’ll have the opportunity to explore and discover the unique beauty of this floating market. The lively and joyful atmosphere here provides moments of fantastic entertainment and relaxation. Moreover, the locals are amiable, so while shopping or dining on the boats, you can listen to them share ordinary life stories of people living in the Mekong Delta.

At Cai Rang Floating Market, a traditional “Don Ca Tai Tu” music boat usually appears every weekend evening. The ship travels along the river, offering residents and visitors unique performances. It’s a chance to experience the distinct cultural charm of the Mekong Delta. These moments will leave an indelible impression on your journey to explore Can Tho.

Trải nghiệm ẩm thực ngay trên sông nước lênh đênh

Experience cuisine right on the river floating (Image: Collection)

4. What to Eat When You’re Here?

From around 5 a.m. onwards, small boats weave through the tranquil river at Cai Rang Floating Market, offering breakfast to everyone. The culinary scene on the river is incredibly diverse, featuring delicious dishes like rice porridge, noodle soup, stir-fried noodles, pork rib rice, and more. There are also floating bars on the river that might surprise many visitors.

Khung cảnh đẹp ấn tượng trong ánh sáng mờ ảo buổi bình minh

Impressive beautiful scenery in the dim light of the dawn (Image: Collection)

Among the myriad of exceptional dishes at the floating market, “hu tieu” (noodle soup) and “cà phê kho” (black coffee) are two must-try items when you visit Cai Rang Floating Market. There are no tables and chairs as on the shore; most food stalls on the floating market prepare meals for people to enjoy on the spot or pack them into plastic bowls and cups for takeout. If you join guided tours to the Cai Rang Floating Market, you’ll likely have the chance to stop at the Can Tho “hu tieu” stove. This place will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories of a bowl of “hu tieu” served on the boat.

Khung cảnh tấp nập với những loại mặt hàng phong phú tại chợ nổi Cái Răng

The bustling scene with the rich variety of items at the Cai Rang floating market (Photo: Collection)

As a result, people or tourists who want to buy can see and take a boat to buy. Here, it sells everything essentials for daily necessities. Visitors will witness a colorful market of fruit and fruit cakes, rowing rippling waves, and trading and bustling trade in a corner of the sky.

Khu chợ nổi nhưng cũng không thiếu bất cứ thứ gì như những khu chợ thường đâu nhé!

The floating market doesn’t lack anything like regular markets! (Photo: Collection)

Cultural characteristics of the Southwest region

The floating market existed long before modernity, and countless shallow markets and big commercial centers have sprung up. Still, it has not even made the trading and trading culture on the river less exciting. more flattering than before.

Tha hồ thưởng thức những món ăn tuyệt vời ăn một lần nhớ mãi

Enjoying the beautiful dishes that you will remember forever (Image: Collection)

Cai Rang Floating Market can be described as the distinctive essence of the local culture in the Mekong Delta. Tranquil, rustic, and subtly adorned with inherent simplicity, the floating markets provide an authentic experience for those who visit Can Tho. Undoubtedly, it is an ideal destination for those looking to “escape” the bustling and dusty city life. Don’t forget to explore other attractions like the Tay Do Night Market on your journey through the Mekong Delta!

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