After the terrible first day of our tour of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, we awoke in the morning to find that we were dreading another day of the same thing. We were up early in Can Tho to visit the Cai Rang Floating Market, one of the best in the Mekong Delta. This was one of the things that I was most looking forward to in the tour; however after the previous day, I was expecting to be rushed around the market and not have any time to actually see anything. We were both in a pretty sombre mood as we walked through town to the pier.
Hopping on the boat, it was nice to feel the fresh morning air against my skin as the boat made its way along the Mekong River. This morning, our guide actually seemed happy to talk to the English speaking tourists, a vast contrast to the day before when we were mostly ignored. Before long I could see lots of boats gathered together on a stretch of the river up ahead, and I knew that we were nearly at the market.
Slowing down to a crawl, our driver made his way between the many different boats anchored in the river. Large boats carrying different produce from their farms along the Mekong were selling goods to the smaller local boats. You can tell what they are selling by the produce that they have displayed on a tall pole at the front of their boats. Some were selling pineapples, others potatoes and more still selling a whole selection of different fruits and vegetables.
Suddenly, a lady on a small boat came up beside us selling fruit, and attached her boat to ours with some hooks so that she could float along with us while she did business. Before long, others were gathering around, and as one boat left, another would join on. It was a hive of activity, and apart from the huge produce boats and traders, locals on small boats were going around selling food and drinks. One lady was even selling lottery tickets. They all go from boat to boat and most stopped at ours to see if we wanted anything. Some of our group bought fruit, while we bought a fresh iced coffee off a lady and her son who were selling hot drinks.
We spent quite some time floating around the market, and we even stopped at one of the large boats that were selling pineapples. I was truly surprised at how much time we had to enjoy Cai Rang Floating Market, and the nice slow pace in which we took to explore it. This was so much better than the previous day, and I was once again excited to be in the Mekong Delta.
Have you visited a floating market? What was your experience like?