Coming to Mekong Delta Vietnam to Join in Cai Rang Floating Market

Downstream along the Hau River, in the sunrise, Cai Rang floating market appears with the image of reverse sweep boats filled with commodities. They all stir up a corner of the world.  

No one knows for sure when this market began. Some said that it perhaps started when some trading boats carrying orchard products from the isles down along the watercourses to Hau River. They moored close together to share each other a cigarette or a handful of rice, a melon fruit, and an onion to overcome the hard days. Only in the early morning, sitting on the small boat floating on the river, can you see how affluent this market is. The strange and colorful products here make the tourists just cannot resist the simple beauty which nature inherits to this land.
breakfast on Cai Rang floating market
Breakfast on Cai Rang floating market
It is not until the boats moored and products are presented for sales that a busy day of the merchantmen starts. Hundreds boats with different size mooring closely create a long row of boat which is floating up and down on the river. A new dawn starts with the sweet voice of the local girls and women rowing the dinghy. The smells of noodles, bread soup or coffee fill the air.

Right in this market, some ships or boats of people from other more distant provinces gather here to wholesale products to other boats. Then, those commodities are transported to other remote areas along hundreds rivers and canals.  
Cai Rang is one of the most bustling and colorful floating markets in Mekong Delta Vietnam
Cai Rang is one of the most bustling and colorful floating markets in Mekong Delta Vietnam
Long time ago, Cai Rang and other floating markets in the West were the markets of almost every product from daily necessities to foods; from the small things like the needle, the clew to agricultural products, cloths or fertilizes and so on. 

At present, that mode of trading is not very common. Some mobile small boats arrive to the houses of people in the riverside to sell goods. Floating markets now is for fresh agricultural products trading only. From different orchards, products are carried on boats to other provinces including Vinh Long, An Giang, Ca Mau, etc.,
The mobile junks can arrive up to the yard of riverside houses to sell
The mobile junks can arrive up to the yard of riverside houses to sell
For tourists from other areas, floating market is not only the place for sightseeing but also to enjoy the fresh and romantic atmosphere of a peaceful wetland. How visitors can refrain their hearts when seeing a bunch of colors on these boats: the elegant orange red of ripe papayas; the violet of beetroots, Mangosteen; the bright yellow of durians, mangoes and the blue of “ao ba ba” (the traditional custom of local people).

Walking through Cai Rang floating market gives us the feeling of getting lost into a typical garden in Cuu Long which is full of fruits and rows of coconut trees or vegetables. The two meter wide, five or seven meter long boats are considered houses to the traders here. The boats are just small but always filled with happiness and friendliness from the sellers, welcoming all the guests.   
Cai Rang is always busy up to mid day
Cai Rang is always busy up to mid day
The bustle of the floating market lasts until midday. Then, the river is back to its quietness with floating violet water hyacinths which leave the feeling of loneliness about the coming gloaming in our hearts and souls. In those evening, the daily life of the people here appears colorfully with the familiar sounds of a mother cooking; a father smoking or the children spelling. It is the life of the local merchantmen. 
It is just a simple holding place on Mekong, but Cai Rang is rich of culture of South-Western Vietnam
It is just a simple holding place on Mekong, but Cai Rang is rich of culture of South-Western Vietnam
Cai Rang floating market is just simple and not as exciting as the Damnoen floating market in Thailand. However, up to now, the market has still kept its own plain beauty which characterizes the simple life of the locals in the south of Vietnam.   

Cai Rang Market usually open quite early, usually from dawn and until about 8 -9AM. Visitors should visit this floating market at about 6-7 AM because it is possible to visit at the time when the market is most crowded.

The market is inactive and operates very little on the Lunar New Year (1st and 2nd Lunar New Year) and Doan Ngo Festival (5th May Lunar Year).

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