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Mekong Delta Floating Markets - Things you need to know before traveling

Mekong Delta Floating Markets - Things you need to know before traveling

MEKONG DELTA FLOATING MARKETS TRAVEL GUIDE

Mekong Delta floating markets are also listed as top things must do in every travel blog about Mekong Delta. With many tourists and also domestic travelers, Cai Rang floating markets is the most famous ones and easy to go. Somehow, Mekong Delta does not only have Cai Rang, but it also has other floating markets such as Cai Be, Nga Nam, Nga Bay - Phung Hiep, Phong Dien, etc. This blog will show you how to get to other Mekong Delta floating markets and also pros, cons of these destinations.

1. Nga Nam floating market

Where is it

Another one of the Mekong Delta floating markets I want to mention is Nga Nam floating market. Nga Nam floating market belongs to Nga Nam town, Thanh Tri district, Soc Trang province - the place where Vietnamese culture and Khmer culture meet each other.  In Vietnamese, Nam (Năm) means number 5. The reason it has this name is that because Nga Nam floating market is located at the meeting point of 5 different directions of Mekong Delta: My Long (Hau Giang province), Vinh Quoi (Soc Trang province), Phung Hiep (Hau Giang province), Phuoc Long (Bac Lieu province), Phu Loc (Soc Trang province).   Nga Nam floating market is the center of Mekong Delta, a lot of different products from other regions of Mekong Delta will gather here. Some of the products you can find in Nga Nam floating markets are fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, etc. With the increase of the transportation system and infrastructure, Nga Nam floating markets nowadays can be reached easily from Soc Trang city (around 60 kilometers). But if we compared to other Mekong floating markets such as Cai Rang floating markets or Cai Be floating markets, it is still a huge gap. So it creates an advantage for Nga Nam floating market is that it is possible to remain its authentic. The best time to visit Nga Nam floating market is the time close to Tet holiday when lots of boats with colorful flowers will make you love Mekong Delta more. Nga Nam floating market starts its activity at 3:00 AM in the morning and reaches its peak at 5:00 PM and it will stop at around 8:00 AM. For the best experience, you should stay overnight at Soc Trang City. To get to Soc Trang City, you can take a public bus from Ho Chi Minh City. It can take you around 6 hours to get there. Then from Soc Trang City, you can hire a motorbike, bike or a local taxi (Mai Linh taxi) to take you to Nga Nam floating market. You can hire a small boat here and local people will take you around the market.

mekong delta floating markets nga nam floating market
Nga Nam floating market

 

Pros

  • Real authentic floating market in Mekong Delta.
  • Nga Nam floating market is a non-touristy area.

Cons

  • It is quite hard to reach Nga Nam floating market
  • There is no tour guide with you except when you book a private and customized tour from Ho Chi Minh City.
  • You have to spend at least one night in Soc Trang city. It can be a challenge for tourists who don’t have much time.

Read more: Top things you must do in Mekong Delta  

2. Nga Bay floating market

Where is it

Nga Bay floating market (Phung Hiep floating market) is located in Nga Bay town, Hau Giang province. Nga Bay floating market was established in 1915 and soon became one of the most busiest Mekong Delta floating markets. There were over 300 boats gathered here to create a unique scene of floating markets. Not only fruits and vegetables, but local people also purchased animals like lizards, turtles, snakes, etc. Right in Nga Bay town, it created a village whose local people are expert in building boats and supply them for the whole regions of the Mekong Delta. Nga Bay in Vietnamese means the intersection of 7 different rivers in Mekong Delta: Cai Con, Mang Ca, Bung Tau, Soc Trang, Xeo Mon, Lai Hieu, Xeo Vong. In the early 2000s, the government decided to removed Nga Bay floating market to the nearby river within 3 kilometers to avoid the population. It created a disappointed emotion for local people there because they were not interested in the new market. Then, in 2006, the floating market was returned back to its position like 100 years ago. Nowadays, local government and people are trying themselves and invest lost of money to revive this destination. One point that makes an unforgettable impression is that when the sun rises, it is also the time when the cargo boats spread out in many directions. Visitors will feel the strong flavor of the rustic dishes, sold on the small boats: porridge, noodles, noodles, etc. They will make visitors feel warm when they enjoy the scenery here from early. To reach Nga Bay floating market, you first need to reach Can Tho city first. Then from Can Tho city, you can book a private car from a local travel agency or a taxi to go to Nga Bay town. You can also take a boat from Can Tho City. It will take you around 2 - 3 hours depending on the boat. You should visit the market before dawn to observe the best scene of Nga Bay floating market.

mekong delta floating markets nga bay floating market
Nga Bay floating market

Pros

  • Very authentic local market.
  • It is a non-touristy destination.
  • Truly off the beaten path if you want to see a real Mekong Delta

Cons

  • Not so many travel agencies offer a tour to Nga Bay floating market.
  • The government is trying to revive the floating market so that it can’t be the same with your expectation right now.

Read more: Tips for traveling to Mekong Delta in flooding season

3. Phong Dien floating market

Where is it

Phong Dien floating market is not so far from Can Tho City. Just around 17 kilometers to the South East of Can Tho City and you can reach Phong Dien floating market. The market is located at the confluence of the river, where the Can Tho river is separated from the Hau River. Like other floating market, Phong Dien floating market starts to work from 4:00 AM and closed its business steadily from 8:00 AM. Unlike Cai Rang floating market, only agricultural products are mainly traded, Phong Dien floating market is more diverse. The merchants in Phong Dien floating market also trade daily-life tools, agriculture tools, fishing tools, etc. One special thing about Phong Dien Market among other Mekong Delta floating markets is that there are some boats ready to supply the petrol oil for other small boats. Another different between Cai Rang floating market and Phong Dien floating market is that Phong Dien floating market is a retail market. So you can only see small boats gather here. You can reach Phong Dien market by yourself easily from Can Tho City by private car or by taxi. There are also many travel agencies in Can Tho City. You can also look forward to travel agencies who can mix Cai Rang floating market and Phong Dien floating market in one tour. mekong-delta-floating-markets-phong-dien-floating-market

Pros

  • Authentic floating market.
  • Many local travel agencies ready to offer you a tour to Phong Dien floating market

Cons

  • Phong Dien floating market is small if we compare to Cai Rang floating market.
  • Phong Dien floating market is a little bit polluted

Read more: A travel guide to Can Tho City - Capital of Mekong Delta

4. Long Xuyen floating market

Where is it

Long Xuyen floating market is the last market of our list about Mekong Delta floating markets. Long Xuyen floating market is located in My Phuoc Ward, Long Xuyen City, An Giang province. The starting point of the floating market starts from O Moi ferry station, runs along the Hau river bank about 2km in My Phuoc ward. Not crowded like Cai Rang floating market, Long Xuyen floating market in An Giang province is considered as one of the Mekong Delta floating markets still maintaining the most simple and pristine features. Not affected by the commercialization of tourism, so that not so many tourists visit Long Xuyen floating market. The boats at this market were divided into different sections. For example, there is a specific place for boats which sell pineapple, watermelon, etc. The most special thing at Long Xuyen floating market is that they sell the products at very cheap prices. Long Xuyen Market starts to work from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM. The buyers never bargain, and the seller always traded with the aromatic heart, the true quality of local people in Mekong Delta. To get there, you can go to Can Tho City first, then choose bus or taxi to Long Xuyen City. Or you can go straight from Ho Chi Minh city to Long Xuyen province and start your journey by yourself.

mekong delta floating markets long xuyen floating market
Long Xuyen floating market

Pros

  • Very authentic local market.
  • It is a non-touristy destination.
  • Truly off the beaten path if you want to see a real Mekong Delta

Cons

  • Not so many travel agencies offer a group tour to Long Xuyen floating market

5. Cai Be floating market

Where is it

Cai Be floating market is located in Cai Be town, Tien Giang province. Among Mekong Delta floating markets, Cai Be floating market is the nearest floating market that you can visit within a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. The distance from Ho Chi Minh City to Tien Giang province is around 100 kilometers. It will take you around 2 hours to get to Cai Be floating market. Cai Be floating market starts to work from the early morning (4:00 AM - 5:00 AM) to 8:00 AM. One thing to remind is that after 8:00 AM, the local people will stop their purchasing activity. And a lot of travel companies in Ho Chi Minh City offer to you a day trip from that city to Cai Be town. They will start their tour mostly from 8:00 AM. When you reach Cai Be floating market, it is 10:00 AM already. Then you can’t see anything but a few boats and a small boat which sells fruit for you. So I recommend that if you just have plenty of time and want to see a typical of Mekong Delta floating market, you should go by yourself from the very early morning by taking a public bus to Can Tho City. Then talk to the ticket man that if he can drop you off at Cai Be. You have to make sure that they will understand you or you will miss your drop off location. Another easy way to travel to Cai Be floating market is that you can book a private tour from travel agencies and start your trip from around 5:00 AM. You can avoid a lot of tourists by choosing this way.

mekong delta floating markets cai be floating market
Cai Be floating market can never be the same as it used to be in the past

Pros

  • Easy to travel within a day.
  • After visiting the floating market, you still have plenty of time to do other activities such as biking, tasting fruit, etc.
  • You can save a lot of time when deciding to travel to Cai Be floating market instead of Cai Rang floating market
  • You can find group tours with a good price to Cai Be floating market.

Cons

  • If you come here late, there is nothing to see.
  • Some travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh City can offer you a group tour to Cai Be floating market, but beside the market, you will be taken to some tourist trap along the trip.
  • The real floating market is faded steadily so that you should lower your expectation.
  • This is the easiest floating market and also the most touristy area.  

Read more: Perfect day trip for Mekong Delta

Overall

Mekong Delta floating markets are the most interesting activities that tourists should visit once when having a chance to visit Mekong Delta. But thanks to the development of the transportation, floating markets in Mekong Delta is faded steadily. So in my opinion, sooner is better, you shouldn't skip floating markets when you come to Mekong Delta. Innoviet Travel is ready to offer you a unique tour to Cai Rang floating market included riding around the village of Mekong Delta by bicycle and cooking class at a local homestay. You can check our rank in TripAdvisor if you need more information about our products' quality  To read more blogs and information about Mekong Delta, you can click here to visit our blog site.