Journey to the floating market of Cai Rang in the heart of southern Vietnam

March 2013

A tour on the water market in Vietnam allows you to deeply enter a lifestyle not yet altered by progress and mass tourism, where traditions are still strong. The dense network of waterways that form the delta of the Mekong becomes the central focus of the life of these people, who use the boat as a main means of transport to the point that it becomes more practical to sell and buy goods directly from the boat itself, in which is one of the largest floating markets of Asia.

Floating market
Thanks to the abundance of waterways that form the vast Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, the rivers become a vital part of people's lives. They do not only provide food through fishing, but also constitute real hubs of aggregation, as well as large natural highways. All people have a boat and selling or buying goods directly on the water from their boats, sometimes becomes the simplest, quickest and most  and practical way to carry out these activities. The floating market of Cai Rang sees every day hundreds of boats loaded with plant products from various villages situated along the rivers, here sold or exchanged with other products
Market on the water
Cai Rang Market Each farmer goes to the floating market of Cai Rang with his own boat loaded of products to sell. There is a real "language" that allows you to make everyone understand what you are selling: essentially, a long rod visible from a long distance is exposed on the bow of the boat, on it a sample of the products offered is posted. Other signals allow to distinguish the village from where they come from, or if you have special offers (eg "this boat is for sale").
Vietnam
Customers generally use smaller boats which are filled with the various products purchased.
Cai Rang Vietnam Cai Rang floating market



Some large boats selling watermelons at the floating market of Cai Rang in southern Vietnam. The "transfer" from the seller’s boat to the customer’s one  is almost  by "throwing" the goods
Floating market in Vietnam
Market on the water in Vietnam

Photo of Cai Rang floating market in Vietnam. Large boats full of pumpkins ready for sale.
While farmers and families are engaged in the trading of agricultural products, a little girl is swimming and having fun in the brown waters of the river.
Can Tho Market Can Tho
The activity is always very hectic and the purchased goods are efficiently moved from the merchant’s boat to the buyer’s one, with a quick handover.
Market in Vietnam
Floating market on Mekong Floating market in Asia
Floating market Market on the water
Market on the boats To the market by boat
Photos of the water market of Cai Rang in Vietnam. Smaller boats of various buyers are loaded with lots of newly purchased products.
Cai Rang Vietnam Cai Rang
The operations of trading, buying and selling are repeatedly going on...
Cai Rang in Vietnam Cai Rang water Market
Selling pineapple
...as well as the loading operations after purchase.
Boats at the floating market in Vietnam where they sell melons, pineapples and other products
Along the banks of the river where the water market of Cai Rang is usually held there is also a sort of "motorway" where boats can pull over to get a snack.
Obviously, there are also snacks hawkers who, from their small boats, offer drinks to dealers and buyers attending the floating market.
A row of apples Water apple
I visit the orchard which is near the floating market. This long row (picture on the right) is home to trees that produce a fruit locally known as apple water.
row of banana trees
In another row there are instead banana trees.
Hylocereus Hylocereus flower
To be mentioned the "dragon fruit".These high bushes consist in a set of trunk of cactacea belonging to the genus Hylocereus. They are held together by a support, as such plant tends to be drooping or creeping. The beautiful white flower depicted in the photo on the right, results in a big edible and very tasty fruit
Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit ready to be eaten

On the left picture, the dragon fruit produced by the cactus belonging to the genus Hylocereus. In the photo above, the fruit peeled and sliced, delicious and ready to be consumed.

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English translation by Lorena Anzani.