Located in Can Tho, Cai Rang is the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. This market has a unique way of trading goods, and it still preserves the area’s culture throughout the years.
This article is a complete travel guide to visiting the Cai Rang floating market, including tips to enjoy the best of your time here.
In this article, you will know.
- The history
- Essential information of Cai Rang floating market
- How to get to Cai Rang floating market
- Best time to visit Cai Rang floating market
- How to buy a boat tour
- Cai Rang boat tour from Saigon
- Where to stay in Can Tho
Cai Rang floating market history
This market was formed in the early 20th century, even before other floating markets such as Nga Bay in Hau Giang and Nga Nam in Soc Trang appeared.
According to the legend, the name “Cai Rang” comes from the story of a giant crocodile washed up here, and its teeth were plugged into the land.
However, other people believe that the name comes from a Khmer word – Karan.
About Cai Rang floating market
Where is the Cai Rang floating market?
Cai Rang floating market is located on a branch of the Hau river flowing through Cai Rang district, Can Tho city.
Thanks to the location, it is convenient to trade with neighboring provinces and the whole Mekong Delta region. It is why the Cai Rang floating market is the largest and busiest in this area.
Currently, the market is located downstream of Can Tho River – a branch of Hau River, about 600m from Cai Rang Bridge with a large water surface area, convenient for floating market activities.
Cai Rang floating market opening hours
Cai Rang floating market operates quite early until about 8 am or 9 am.
Therefore, I would recommend starting your day early. You should get to Ninh Kieu pier from around 5:30 am to 6 am to make the most of your trip.
It takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from Ninh Kie wharf to Cai Rang floating market, so that you will get there from around 6 am to 6:30 am. This time is the busiest and most crowded time of the market, and you can observe more activities there.
During Lunar New Year or Tet holiday in Vietnam, Cai Rang floating market is less active because people often reunite with their families instead of trading.
What can you buy in Cai Rang floating market?
The river’s width is about 100- 120m, and the length is about 1300-1500m. About 300-400 trading boats gather to buy and sell goods daily in the Cai Rang floating market.
Goods sold in this floating market are diverse, including agricultural products, handicrafts, household products, and daily essential household goods.
There are also boats carrying household goods and ceramics from Bien Hoa, Sai Gon, or Lai Thieu.
Due to the needs of people, there are not only fruit and agricultural boats but also floating restaurants selling Pho, noodles, coffee, etc.
How do people sell and trade goods in Cai Rang floating market?
The trading method in Cai Rang floating market is unique and exciting.
The sellers use a pole to hang the agricultural goods they have, and each boat usually specializes in selling one type of item.
For example, if the boat specializes in selling sweet potatoes, people will hang some potatoes on the tree, and if the boat sells mangoes, there will be a few mango fruits hanging on the tree.
In that way, the sellers can let buyers know that “There are sweet potatoes here” or “Mango is sold here.”
How to get to Cai Rang floating market?
Getting to Can Tho
Can Tho is about 170 km from Ho Chi Minh city.
If you depart from Hanoi and the Northern provinces, I recommend flying to Ho Chi Minh City or directly to Can Tho, so it’s more convenient and you won’t waste too much time.
FUTA offers daily buses departing from Saigon to Can Tho, which takes approximately 3.5 hours.
Besides going there on your own, you can book Cai Rang floating market tour, which includes transportation, food, accommodation, and a visit to My Tho as well.
Getting to Cai Rang market from Can Tho
Cai Rang floating market is about 6 km from Can Tho city center, and it takes about 30 minutes by boat from Ninh Kieu Wharf to the market.
On your way from Ninh Kieu pier, you will pass An Binh market. You can also start at An Binh pier instead of Ninh Kieu one.
When is the best time to visit Cai Rang floating market?
Can Tho has a hot and humid climate around the year, and there is no cold season.
The rainy season in Can Tho starts from around May to November, while the dry season is from December to April.
Although you can visit Can Tho any time of the year, the best time to visit the Cai Rang floating market is during the summer as you can taste different types of fresh fruits.
How to buy Cai Rang floating market boat tour at Ninh Kieu
Once you get to Ninh Kieu pier, many boat ladies sell boat tours at the booth.
I paid 100,000 VND (~$4.5) for a 5-hour tour, including visiting other places such as the Rice noodles factory, fruit garden, and fish sauce house.
If you have a day in Can Tho, I recommend taking this boat tour to visit more places and relax in the garden.
However, if you only want to visit the floating market without other places, you can ask them for a 2-hour tour of the market only. It costs around 40,000 VND – 50,000 VND (~$2).
Another option is to rent a boat to the floating market, and the price starts at 300,000 VND (~$13) per boat.
Cai Rang floating market tour from Saigon
Klook offers an excellent 2D1N Mekong Delta with Cai Rang Floating Market Tour at $10.
On the first day, the tour will take you to visit Vinh Trang Pagoda – one of the most famous pagodas in the area.
You will then get on a boat ride to the nearby Tortoise Island for lunch before heading to Can Tho to spend a night.
On the 2nd day of the trip, you will get to Cai Rang floating market and rice vermicelli noodles village to see how the locals make the rice noodles.
Read more: Explore the rice noodle factory in Can Tho.
Where to stay in Can Tho
I would recommend staying near Ninh Kieu Wharf, so it’s easy to get to the pier in the early morning.