If you have a trip to Mekong Delta, you cannot miss the Floating Market or “Cho Noi”. Actually, floating markets which have been around for a long time make the liveliest part of life in the land of ditches, rivers and canals. For tourists who travel to Can Tho, it would be regretful if they could not drop by and purchase something in Cai Rang (6km from Can Tho city), one of the most famous and biggest floating markets in Vietnam.
What to see and do
A floating market usually starts at 4am or 5am in the morning before dawn and ends when the sun rises high at 9am or 10am. Fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, dragon fruit, water melon, yam, and cabbage are the dominant goods at these floating market. Besides, you can also buy crafts, garden tools and Vietnamese breakfast like rice noodle “Bun” or “Hu Tieu”. It is very funny to try to control the chopstick and soup bowl while paddling along the river.
One of the most noticeable features of the floating market is “Cay Beo”. There is a small pillar put in front of every boat. Products can be bought from the local boat will be hung on the small pillar as a notice sign. Of course, they cannot hang on a bowl of noodle in the pillar; so, if you want to eat, you should look for the delicious smell and the smoke.
From Ninh Kieu dock in Can Tho City, you can visit floating market by a boat tour.
Colorful floating market
The market stretches half kilometre downstream Can Tho River from Cai Rang Bridge. Hundreds of boats gathering here from the sunrise untill before noon makes the area extraordinary animated and the water surface colorful with numerous tropical fruits. The large sized anchored boats create meandering spaces for smaller ones to weave through. All create a joyful and bustling atmosphere that can attract any tourist.
Most of the boats here are packed with a lot of farm products and specialties of Cai Rang Town, Chau Thanh district and the nearby areas like vegetables, coconut, banana, watermelon, grapefruit, dragon fruit and so on. Small boats that sell soft drinks, wine and food for breakfast go among the others to serve market-goers and visitors. Other services and products like mending machine, selling gasoline, mobile card, clothes, cosmetic, spicy, etc all are available here, not different from what are sold in common markets on land. Trading from boats brings interest to buyers when catching some sample of products that are thrown by sellers from other boats. While shopping on boat, one can also enjoy see floating house of the locals along the riverside and fresh fruits.
Unique advertising tool
In this hurry floating market, the cries of the sellers seem to be swallowed in the vastness of the river and lost into the noise of boat engines. The disadvantaged condition turns out to create an unique advertising tool: pole of sample goods.
Every boat has a long upright pole with samples of the goods for sale hung on, so the sellers do not have to cry out what they are selling and buyers can easily see from the distance the goods sold on that boat. Just look up and ones can know exactly which boat selling the products they are seeking for.
To catch the most attractive views and enjoy the most animated atmosphere of Cai Rang market (often 6 am to 8 am), tourists should stay overnight in Can Tho and come here at the dawn, about 5 a.m.
After watching the sun rising and enjoying local breakfast, one can charter either a motorized boat or a non motorized one to begin a morning shopping in floating market. Most of boats for charter are located along Vo Tanh road. The fee is charged differently based on the kind of chartered boat.
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