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Mekong Delta Floating Market in Vietnam - Full Guide

Mekong Delta floating Market in Vietnam

The Mekong River spans almost 5,000 km, starting from its origin on the Tibetan Plateau in China and flowing through six countries: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. For many communities, the river is crucial, supporting their way of life by providing fish and fertile soil for agriculture.


For decades, the waters in the Mekong Delta formed an intricate network like veins and arteries, serving as a vital transportation route in southern Vietnam. The floating markets on Mekong river acted as central hubs for locals to meet and trade goods. However, nowadays, Vietnam's floating markets are not as bustling as they once were. People are relocating to larger cities in search of better job opportunities, leading to a constant decline in the number of boats at the markets.


Even though tourism helps sustain the floating markets, there's uncertainty about how long they will continue to thrive. That's why now is the best time to explore the Mekong Delta before these markets undergo further changes.



Mekong Delta floating Market in Vietnam

What to do in Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is one of Vietnam's most unique and fascinating destinations.  A trip to Vietnam would not be complete without experiencing the Mekong Delta. Visit Mekong Delta to get a glimpse of Vietnamese way of life, learn about local culture, traditions and, of course to visit Mekong’s famous floating markets.


Mekong Delta floating Market in Vietnam

How to Get to Mekong Delta

There are available tours to the Mekong Delta starting from Ho Chi Minh City. The most convenient way to reach Ho Chi Minh City is by flying to Tan Son Nhat International Airport. While it's possible to take a tour from HCMC, it's not the ideal way to explore the floating markets. Firstly, you'll have to spend 3 hours on a bus, and then you'll be rushed through the typical tourist route without a chance to witness anything authentic. It's essential to note that life in the Mekong Delta starts and ends in the early morning hours when the most action takes place. However, by taking a tour from HCMC, you'll be on the bus during this crucial time.


That's why I strongly recommend basing yourself in Can Tho and exploring the Delta from there to get the best experience during your visit. The best way to get to Can Tho is by taking a local bus from Ho Chi Minh City. The bus ride takes around 3 hours, and you can purchase tickets for them from 12go.com.


Mekong Delta floating Market in Vietnam

Where is the Floating Market in Mekong Delta

There are a few interesting floating markets in the Mekong Delta region, but the best one is undoubtedly the Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho, just 15 minutes away from the city center. If you're staying in Can Tho, the best way to get there is by Grab taxi or with a rented motorbike. Remember not to arrive later than sunrise to avoid missing all the action.


Is it worth to take a Mekong Delta tour

Short answer: Yes! It's definitely worth going on a tour to the floating market. These tours begin before sunrise. If possible, I suggest opting for a private tour for you and your group to enjoy the Mekong Delta the way you want. There are various tour options for different groups, but with the private option, instead of choosing a cruise ship, you'll be sailing in a small boat, similar to the ones locals use daily. This way, you'll get closer to having an authentic experience. You can book your tour from the hotel you stay in.


Mekong Delta floating Market in Vietnam

Mekong Delta Tour Itinerary

All the tours start early in the morning. It's still dark when you're on the boat. There isn't much to see at that time, but you can hear that all the locals around are already up, and the engines on their small boats are running, heading towards the market. The first stop is breakfast. The sun starts to rise as you eat hot noodle soup served to you from another boat parked on your side. You're in the middle of the Floating Market. You can see locals unloading bigger boats to smaller ones and doing other morning chores. The atmosphere is loud and energetic. After breakfast, you'll be taken to a rice noodle factory. We really enjoy visiting local craft shops, so seeing locals at work was, for us, time well spent. The next part of the trip is a cruise along narrow, beautiful canals. This is a great place to observe river life as you'll see many locals going about their day as you sail in your boat. We didn't want to finish our tour yet, so we extended it to a visit to a cacao plantation. We've been told that this was the first cacao plantation in Vietnam, and the owner had to learn on his own how to plant the cacao trees from a French book after he previously brought the seeds from Malaysia. We tried different products made out of cacao - you can make a lot out of this fruit! From the plantation, we cruised back to the floating market to make one more stop on the pineapple boat where we had our dessert.


Mekong Delta floating Market in Vietnam

Other things to do in Mekong Delta

There are a few other tourist hotspots in the Mekong Delta region, but our favorite thing to do wasn't touristy at all. We decided to visit all the biggest farmer markets in Can Tho and the neighboring cities. These markets are great places to interact with the locals and document everyday life.


Read our other articles about Vietnam

In the beginning of 2024, we spent over 4 months traveling around Vietnam. By staying longer in Vietnam, we were able to visit places off the beaten path, where regular tourists don't usually go, and create comprehensive guides for you to plan your travels.








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