Cai Rang floating market (Can Tho province)
Cai Rang floating market (Vietnamese: Chợ nổi Cái Răng), about 6km from Can Tho City, is the most famous and biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta, which starts around 05:00 and runs until mid-day. From early morning, the waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with fruits, vegetables, plants, and foods. Sellers hang a sample of the goods on sale on top of a long pole so that buyers can see from a distance. The main items are farm products and specialties of Cai Rang Town, Chau Thanh District and neighbouring areas.
Nga Bay Floating Market (Hau Giang province)
Nga Bay, also referred to as Phung Hiep floating market, has been open since 1915, for over a hundred years, it has been a key trading port for the locals in Nga Bay town. Boats stacked with all sorts of vegetables and fruits paint the market in various bright colors. Usually each boat here will only sell one type of good, as displayed on the lateral bar erected out front. Other than fruit, you will also find animals being sold, such as lizards, turtles, iguanas, snakes and birds. If that scares you, do not worry, they are contained well and will not go crawling or swimming from one boat to the other.
Nga Bay also starts a little later than most markets and is most vibrant around 07.00 a.m. To get here, you will need to get to Can Tho first from Ho Chi Minh City, which is around a five-hour bus ride.
Tra On Floating Market (Vinh Long province)
Tra On Floating Market will surely give you a feeling for the rhythm of how the daily life there is. Situated at the intersection of the Hau River and Mang Thit River, adjacent to Tra On Town, this is known as the final floating market on the Hau River. The market often starts a new day at the very early morning, about 2 AM to 3 AM. But, you can arrive in it around 5 AM to 6 AM as this is the busiest moment. At that time, various boats full of products will gather here.
Like other large floating markets in Mekong Delta, the main goods are fruits and seasonal agricultural products. Your eyes and tastes will be feasted with a wide range of mangoes, longan, rambutan, etc. In addition, there are also many other agricultural products, like gourds, potatoes, okra, cabbage, radishes, melon, and more etc. The whole scene is more exciting and lively with small boats served as coffee shops and food stores. The laugh of people and the sound of engines do create an unforgettable remix.
Long Xuyen floating market (An Giang province)
Although Long Xuyen floating market (Vietnamese: Chợ nổi Long Xuyên) is not as famous as others in the southern region, tourists will still feel the generosity of southerners. Along the banks are different landscapes. Beautiful houses are situated on one side while paddy fields and houses on stilts are on the other. The river becomes more and more bustling, especially at the river mouth. Boats selling the same agro-product items are tied together in groups. Some boats sell fuel and offer mechanical repair services.
Phong Dien Floating Market (Can Tho province)
This market is 12 miles (20 kilometers) southwest of Can Tho city, and is another popular tourist spot. Definitely less crowded than its big sister, Cai Rang. There are a few motorized boats here, and more stand-up rowing boats, which create a more intimate, quieter atmosphere, more full of the talk and laughter of the vendors exchanging gossip and singing their sale songs. 05:00 a.m. to 07:00 a.m. is when the market is best visited.
You can get here by road from Cai Rang, however it’s better to opt for a half-day tour that combines Cai Rang and Phong Dien, returning to Can Tho city through quieter backwater canals, offering the true Mekong experience.