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Cai Rang floating market - Complete travel guide

Cai Rang floating market - Complete travel guide

CAI RANG FLOATING MARKET - COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE

Cai Rang floating market is the must-see destination for tourists who want to visit the Mekong Delta. I can see the question “Should I travel to Cai Rang floating market by myself or book a tour” almost every time I visit TripAdvisor Forum. In this blog, I will show you how to get to Cai Rang floating market in two ways. Then you can consider and pick the one which suits you. So let's get started.

“Should I travel to Cai Rang floating market by myself or book a tour”

1. What is the special about Cai Rang floating market?

Floating markets are unique business form in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Cai Rang is the biggest floating market here. As you know, Mekong River flows from Tibet (China), goes through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and it goes straight to the sea after Vietnam. Because of the density of rivers, canals system and the inconvenience of land traffic system in the past, the most common vehicle of Mekong Delta’s local people is wooden boats and sampans. With the purposes of having markets where merchants can sell local farmer’s products, they together used boats and gathered together to create floating markets. Normally, all of the floating markets in Mekong Delta are located at the crossroad of the big rivers belongs to Mekong River. The reason is that they could spread out easily to find more products and travel to other further regions of the Mekong Delta from the corner of the big rivers.

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Cai Rang floating market

When you travel to Cai Rang floating market, you will see there is a tall bamboo stick at every boat. The merchants will hang the products which they are selling on that stick.

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A boat which is selling watermelon

 

For example, if you see a boat which is hanging pineapple, of course, the merchants of this boat are ready to offer you pineapples. The first function of Cai Rang floating market is the wholesale market. But thanks to tourism development. Cai Rang floating market nowadays become the most famous tourist destination in the Mekong Delta. 

 

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Tourists are having fun on a pineapple boat

 

The wholesale function of this place is still maintained, that is the basic different point between Cai Rang floating market and floating markets in Thailand.

2. How to get to Cai Rang floating market?

Travel by yourself

To travel to Cai Rang floating market, you need to reach to Can Tho City first. Can Tho City is a huge city in Mekong Delta with the population is around 1.500.000 people. With many local people, Can Tho City is the capital of the Mekong Delta. It’s not so hard to go to Can Tho City. You can book a bus ticket at Phuong Trang Busline or Thanh Buoi Busline or any bus companies that you can see in the backpacker area. Remember to book a sleeping bus. For anyone who doesn't know what is sleeping bus, the sleeping bus that has its chairs designed to create a half chair-half bed right in the bus. Thus you take a nap while on a bus easily. It will take you around 4-5 hours from Ho Chi Minh City. The bus ticket is around 10 USD. Another way to go to Can Tho City is going to Tan Son Nhat airport, buying an air ticket and just around 30-45 minutes, you will get to Can Tho easily. Somehow, this method is extremely expensive so that I do not recommend you to do this. Another way to go to Can Tho City by yourself is that hiring a motorbike and start your trip. This way is just only for people who are brave enough to drive in our crazy traffic. After reaching Can Tho City, you can buy a boat ticket at Ninh Kieu wharf with the price is around 40.000 - 60.000 VND per person. My recommendation is that you should reach Can Tho city at the night before. Then find a hotel to sleep overnight. Cause the best time to visit Cai Rang floating market is in the early morning. Besides that, there are also lots of activities that you can enjoy with your friends or family at Can Tho City. But please do not get drunk because you have to get up early on the next morning to see Cai Rang floating market. If you are traveling with a group of your friends or just want to have a private atmosphere. You and your friends can rent a whole boat with the price is around 600.000 VND to 1.200.000 VND per boat.

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Coffee shop at Cai Rang floating market

 

You can also add some more destinations after Cai Rang floating market such as Ba Cong Orchard, etc. The disadvantage of traveling by yourself to Cai Rang floating market is that you will have to wait for the boat to fill out all of the seats. Secondly, they might take you to their shopping shops which you don’t like. Without any tour guide, there is no one to tell you about the story of Cai Rang floating market and Mekong Delta in general.

Join a group tour or private tour

You just need to only search “Cai Rang floating market” tour or “Can Tho City tour”, there are hundreds of companies that are ready to offer you a visit to Cai Rang floating market. Besides Cai Rang floating market, you can also have a chance to visit more destinations. But before you book any tour, remember to check the itinerary carefully. Some cheap travel agencies will offer you low-quality services with a huge group of tourists, unexpected stores, workshops, poor dishes, touristy areas, etc. However, if you book a Mekong Delta two days tour with Innoviet, you will have the opportunity to sleep overnight at a real authentic homestay with a local family and cycling around the rural area. I can say that is the truly Mekong Delta which you are finding. I think the position on TripAdvisor can prove that. A group tour to have fun with other tourists or a private tour, you are free to choose. You can also watch the video below to imagine what will you experience if you join a tour to Cai Rang floating market with Innoviet. Remember that you can save 5% when you book a combo of Mekong Delta with Cu Chi Tunnel Ben Duoc tour.

Read more: Top things you must do in Mekong Delta

 

3. When is the best time to visit Cai Rang floating market?

Instead of having 4 different seasons like in the North of Vietnam. The South of Vietnam just only has two seasons: dry season (from November to April) and rainy season (from May to October). Especially in Mekong Delta, from July to October, that is the time of flooding season. In fact, you can visit Cai Rang floating market all of the time of the year, even in the rainy season. Cai Rang floating market starts to open very early, the sky will just only rain in the afternoon or evening. So that you don’t have to worry about the rainy season. But to make everything sure, bringing raincoats and umbrellas is still necessary for your trip to Mekong Delta.

 

4. What can you find to eat at Cai Rang floating market?

You have to get up very early to see Cai Rang floating market so it’s understandable that you still haven’t eaten anything yet right? Don’t worry about it, you can find something to fill your empty stomach at Cai Rang floating market. With only around 30.000 VNĐ (less than 2 USD), you can have a chance to eat super good local food like Bún riêu, Bánh mì, Hủ tiếu, etc. The local food sellers here not only serve food for the merchants but also happy to serve both domestic tourists and foreign tourists.

 

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Tourists are having breakfast at Cai Rang floating market

 

Do you know Gordon Ramsay, a famous chef from the UK, he visited Cai Rang floating market and fall in love with Bún riêu here. To learn a story of Chú Tèo’s Hủ tiếu, one of the best Hủ Tiếu chefs at Cai Rang floating market, click here.  

 

5. Some tips when you travel to Cai Rang floating market

  • The best time to visit Cai Rang floating market is in the early morning like I have mentioned above. So that you must wake up early to see the best scenes in Mekong Delta.
  • If you stay in a hotel with free breakfast. You can skip the breakfast at the hotel to enjoy local food at Cai Rang floating market.
  • You don’t have many chances to see Cai Rang floating market with your own eyes. So remember to bring the camera with you to catch the wonderful moments.
  • Though it always rains from the evening during the rainy season, just in case you should bring umbrellas and raincoats with you.
  • If you want to eat anything at Cai Rang floating market, just tell the driver and point your finger to the boat which is selling it.
  • Some small sampans which sell coffee or coke will actively approach you.
  • To get the best shot of the floating market, you will need to hop on the top of a pineapple boat. Ask the tour guide to help you to communicate with boat owners so you can stand on their boat.

To read more blogs about Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City, click here

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