Cai Rang Floating Market

Dive into the Bustling Cai Rang Floating Market

Experience the bustling Cai Rang Floating Market, Can Tho’s must-visit spot! Explore the Mekong Delta by boat, savor fresh local specialties, and witness the unique culture of river life. With Deluxe Group Tours explore this floating market today for an unforgettable adventure!

1. Discovering Cai Rang Floating Market

Origins of Cai Rang Floating Market

Draping itself in the distinctive traits of the waterscape region, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang Floating Market is not only an alluring destination for locals but also a familiar stop in the itineraries of many explored souls exploring Can Tho.

Formed in the early 20th century, Cai Rang Floating Market is where people from the western region come to exchange goods, especially the specialties of the Mekong Delta. The market emerged out of the essential needs of the locals, whose daily lives are intertwined with the waterway landscape.

The floating market originated from the practice of living with the abundant produce of the riverside gardens near the waterways and numerous canals. While there are various methods of trading goods, in the Mekong Delta region, people commonly use boats and sampan to conduct commerce on the river’s surface. From this practice, the floating market emerged.

These markets typically gather at river intersections, where the rivers are not too wide or deep, making it convenient for boats to anchor. Therefore, in the broader picture of Mekong Delta culture, the imprint of the floating market culture is deeply ingrained and prominent.

Cai Rang Floating Market is situated at the intersection of the Hau River branch and the Can Tho River. Due to its strategic location in shallow waters rather than deep, it provides favorable conditions for boats to anchor. Over time, an increasing number of boats started anchoring here, gradually transforming it into a bustling floating market. Cai Rang Floating Market has undergone development and change, evolving from a wholesale market specializing in fruits and vegetables to a retail market catering to a diverse range of customers.

The Cai Rang Floating Market was acknowledged as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2016, turning into a symbol of pride for the inhabitants of the Mekong Delta region.

Unraveling the Name ‘Cái Răng’

To explain the name of the floating market “Cái Răng,” the people of Can Tho tell a legend. According to the legend, the name Cái Răng originated from a story from the early days of settlement and village establishment. The legend tells of a giant crocodile whose large body drifted here, and its teeth embedded into the soil. Thus, when the floating market was formed, people used the name Cái Răng (tooth) to name the floating market.

However, in the book “Tự vị – the Southern Voice” by researcher Vuong Hong Sen, it is said differently. Cái Răng originates from the Khmer word “karan,” meaning ca rang (ong tao stoves). The Khmer people in Xa Ton (Tri Ton) made many karan to sell everywhere to serve in food processing, especially sold a lot in this Can Tho water area. Therefore, gradually people called this market area karan, and the Vietnamese people pronounced the word karan as ca rang and then Cai Rang.

The beauty of Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market embodies the unique beauty of the river region. Not only does it display the bustling beauty of hundreds of boats crowding the market or the vibrant charm of various fruits and vegetables, but it also reflects the serene beauty of life floating along the river.

The beauty of Cai Rang Floating Market lies in the gentle and sincere people, their radiant smiles always present, and the friendly greetings echoing between the river banks. It also resides in the picturesque scenes, where the precarious houses on the river and meandering channels wind through lush fruit orchards. It expresses the tunes of traditional music and the sweet melodies resonating throughout the space, enriching the tapestry of the riverscape with even more flavor.

Moreover, the sounds of life within the riverscape further enhance its vibrancy and liveliness. The bustling chatter of buyers and sellers, the rhythmic splashes of paddles hitting the water, etc., all blend to create a unique symphony of the floating market.

Cai Rang Floating Market maintains its unique bustling rhythm day in and day out. This tourist spot in Can Tho always harbors a rustic yet uniquely charming beauty, evoking a sense of nostalgia for the simple yet endearing beauty that anyone who visits can feel.

2. How to reach Cai Rang Floating Market

Today, in Can Tho, there are many boat routes serving the exploration of Cai Rang Floating Market starting from Ninh Kieu Wharf. To get here, you should rent a sampan or boat depending on the number of people. If you have a small group, it’s best to take a sampan. For larger groups, renting a boat will offer a comfortable trip.

Below are the rental prices for boats at Ninh Kieu Wharf for your reference, which you can review and consider. Prices may vary depending on the time, especially during holidays and Tet (Lunar New Year), so you should confirm the prices before renting a boat.

The number of passengerBoat rental price
1 – 7 passengers500,000 VND per boat
8 – 15 passengers600,000 VND per boat
16 – 30 passengers700,000 VND per boat
31 – 40 passengers800,000 VND per boat
Above 40 passenger900,000 VND per boat


Additionally, you can opt for the shared boat to save costs, with prices starting from 100,000 to 140,000 VND per person.

3. Ideal times for Cai Rang Floating Market

To experience the lively atmosphere and beautiful scenery at Cai Rang Floating Market, you can visit during any season of the year based on your available time. However, the period from March to July is considered the most ideal. This is also when fruits are in season, so you can indulge in buying the specialties of the Western region at the floating market.

Furthermore, if you want to explore a unique specialty season in the Western region, you should visit the Cai Rang Floating Market during the period from mid-August to late November. This is when the Western region experiences the flood season, also known as the floating season. It’s a special time unique to the Western region.

Cai Rang Floating Market starts trading early, so you can begin your visit to this unique Mekong Delta Cai Rang floating market from 4 a.m. onwards. By this time, many boats have already gathered, creating a lively atmosphere filled with laughter and bustling activities. Moreover, you’ll have the chance to admire the breathtaking sunrise scenery over the tranquil river.

4. Exploring the “4 Treo” (4 hanging) signature of the Cai Rang Floating Market

When you visit the floating market in general and Cai Rang Floating Market in particular, you’ll surely be impressed by the tall poles hanging all sorts of goods, from vegetables and fruits to various products on each boat. These poles are called “cây bẹo” by locals, used to advertise their products on their boats. Due to the vast space of the floating market accompanied by the sound of waves and echoing engine noises, it’s challenging to engage in buying and selling. Therefore, items are hung directly on these advertising poles so that people can easily identify the items they want to purchase.

However, the items hanging may not simply be what is being sold but must be understood in various ways. Hanging and selling items have unique rules, called the ‘4 treo’ rule.

The first rule is ‘what hangs is what is sold.’ Many people are familiar with this unique way of advertising, hanging items for sale on long poles extending about 3-5 meters standing on boats. This is called ‘what hangs is what is sold.

The second rule is hanging without selling. Many boats hang clothes and items not for sale but for sun drying. This is another unique and appealing aspect for you visiting Cai Rang Floating Market because when you come here, you can observe the daily activities, sometimes spanning generations of boat-dwelling families. Only families with their boats hang clothes for children and adults in this way.

The third rule is selling without hanging. Small boats selling food often approach larger boats to directly invite customers without the need for hanging. These small boats usually sell light snacks and refreshments such as cakes, pho, hu tieu, and coffee, contributing to a closer and livelier atmosphere in the market area.

Lastly, there’s the rule of hanging one thing but selling another. If you see a roof leaf or a coconut leaf on the pole instead of fruits or vegetables, it can be immediately assumed that that boat is what the owner intends to sell. This is often referred to as the expression ‘hanging leaves to sell boats.

5. Memorable moments at Cai Rang Floating Market

Experience Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market becomes crowded from the early morning until nearly noon, but it’s busiest around 8 – 9 a.m. Hundreds of boats flock to the market, crowding the river for half a kilometer. People travel to the market by boat to trade products, food, and various essential goods on the river. This is a wholesale market, where both wholesale and retail boats come to trade. Beyond just serving as transportation for goods, these boats are also homes for trading families. All aspects of daily life take place on the boats.

The goods at Cai Rang Floating Market mainly consist of locally grown fruits and various types of vegetables. No sellers are calling out their products; only the sound of water splashing and boat engines can be heard. Each seller of fruits or vegetables places a pole at the bow of their boat and hangs their products on it to attract buyers. Buyers can simply look at these poles from a distance and know what’s being sold, allowing them to access the boats to purchase easily.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the large trading boats, dozens of small rowboats selling food, gifts, snacks, coffee, refreshments, medicine, repairing various tools… Even lottery tickets and phone cards are sold by these small boats… The small rowboats selling retail fruits also operate at full capacity, running back and forth, … The small, delicate hands offer radiant bunches of bananas as if transferring a beam of sunlight to the opposite boat, which is the scenery that leaves long-lasting memories.

Especially during the approaching Lunar New Year, the floating market is adorned with the colors of spring flowers. At dawn, flowers from all over gather on boats and head to the floating market. Flowers on rowboats, on motorized boats… paint the river stretch with radiant hues. The flowers create a new “attire” for the floating market.

Exploring Cai Rang Floating Market is a journey delving into the lives of people, and experiencing the beauty here. No matter the time, exploring this floating market always offers fascinating discoveries.

Flavors of Cai Rang Floating Market

From around 5 a.m. onwards, small boats are weaving through the peaceful river at Cai Rang Floating Market to serve breakfast. It can be said that the culinary scene on the river is incredibly diverse with delicious dishes such as rice porridge, noodle soup, stir-fried noodles, pork ribs with rice… The most surprising thing is there are even floating restaurants on the river here.

Among the countless exquisite dishes at the floating market, Hu Tieu Lac and stew coffee (cà phê kho) are the two dishes that you absolutely must not miss when visiting Cai Rang Floating Market.

Hu Tieu Lac is a variation of Hu Tieu Nam Vang, named so because when you enjoy this dish, you will sit on the swaying boat, eating noodle soup from porcelain or plastic bowls. In the past, the vendors had to wait to finish eating before collecting the bowls, but nowadays, you can take the bowls.

Stew coffee is a special type of coffee brewed by simmering coffee in a small pot and using firewood to maintain heat. Stew coffee has a delicious and rich flavor, and it is a familiar dish among the Mekong Delta and Can Tho.

Even more special is the lack of tables and chairs like eating on the land, so you should enjoy it in the true Mekong Delta style by squatting and savoring it on the swaying boats. This will surely leave an indelible memory of your culinary experience at Cai Rang Floating Market.

Immerse yourself in Don Ca Tai Tu on the river

Every weekend, a Don Ca Tai Tu boat usually appears at the Cai Rang Floating Market. Floating on the water of Cai Rang Floating Market, the tunes and sweet sounds of traditional music intoxicate the hearts of people. The boat carries musicians, artists, and singers who navigate through the floating market, sometimes anchoring among the crowded boats, performing traditional Don Ca Tai Tu melodies and nostalgic tunes, adding to the allure of the floating market atmosphere.

Since the early days of land cultivation and settlement, Don Ca Tai Tu music has been inseparable from the daily life and labor of the people here. They sing while working, sing in moments of joy, and sing during rest to awaken spirits and charge the energy. Coming together, playing instruments, and singing the profound and soulful melodies of Don Ca Tai Tu has become an indispensable form of entertainment for the people of Can Tho and the Mekong Delta in general. As a result, Don Ca Tai Tu has become an integral part of the lives of the people in the riverscape region, deeply embedded in their culture from ancient times to the present day.

Listening to Don Ca Tai Tu becomes even more special when it emanates from a boat traveling along the river. Sitting leisurely on the water, enjoying the cool breeze, listening to the melodious sound of instruments, and the sweet voices blending with the gentle lapping of the waves. All of these elements combine to create an unforgettable impression during the journey of exploring Can Tho.

Admire the dawn at Cai Rang Floating Market

On the gentle waters of the Hau River in the early morning, you’ll witness the sunrise, as the first rays of the new day shimmer on the river’s surface, casting sparkling silver and golden light on the hair and shoulders of women rowing boats or selling goods to make a living. In this dreamy moment, you’ll feel more deeply the rhythm of life and the culture of the people intimately tied to the rivers of Can Tho.

The sky gradually brightens with the pink hues of dawn, and the gentle morning sunlight casts its glow upon the river, creating a breathtaking landscape. Sitting on a tourist boat, you’ll behold the magnificent scene as the sunrise envelops the entire floating market.

The professional boat traders skillfully transfer goods from one boat to another using a “throw and catch” technique, the smoke rises from the pots of noodle soup, and the gentle waves softly lap against the paddles, all harmonizing with the sunrise scene, making it even more poetic.

Sitting on the boats, enjoying a bowl of hu tieu, sipping a cup of coffee, and waiting for the first rays of sunlight to appear is a specialty of this river region that you shouldn’t miss. The magical scenery where nature and people blend will leave a lasting impression of Cai Rang Floating Market on your journey.

6. Helpful Tips for Cai Rang Floating Market

To help your journey smoother, you can consider these tips below.

  • Search thoroughly about Cai Rang Floating Market boats before renting. Make sure to grasp detailed information about the boat driver, the boat itself, and the guide, and finalize the itinerary before departure.
  • Avoid paying a deposit before boarding the boat. If required, insist on receiving a receipt clearly stating the amount and the information of the boat rental provider.
  • Always wear a life jacket when sitting on the boat.
  • Inquire about prices before purchasing any specialty items or goods at the market. However, refrain from asking prices and negotiating too much without intending to make a purchase, especially in the early morning.
  • Book the Cai Rang Floating Market tour for convenient exploration and guidance.

7. Discover nearby destinations near Cai Rang Floating Market

Exploring the riverscape doesn’t just stop at the floating markets. In Can Tho, alongside the Cai Rang Floating Market, numerous places allow you to delve deeper and experience the local life. Let’s discover a list of nearby destinations around Cai Rang Floating Market to enrich your experience in Can Tho.

Ong Pagoda

Ong Pagoda is one of the renowned spiritual landmarks, imbued with Chinese architectural features. Built in 1894, this pagoda has become a popular retreat and a common place for peace-seeking among the locals in the region. Especially recognized as a national historical heritage site in 1993, the Ong Pagoda holds significant cultural value.

With its distinctly Eastern architectural style heavily influenced by Chinese aesthetics, the entire structure of the Ong Pagoda exudes a characteristic Chinese ambiance. The walls adorned with red hues, intricately designed green tiled roofs, dragon head carvings, and ornate wall motifs all contribute to its vibrant appearance. Stepping inside, the inner courtyard of the Ong Pagoda is equally magnificent. Amidst the fragrant scent of incense, the spacious skylight illuminates the temple halls, highlighting the elaborate decorative motifs such as horizontal lacquered boards and intricate roof ridges.

The pagoda also serves as a focal point for many people who come to pray during Tet (the Lunar New Year) and on other significant lunar calendar dates.

  • Address: 32 Hai Ba Trung Street, Tan An Ward, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho.
  • Operating hours: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (from Monday to Sunday)
  • Entrance fee: free

My Khanh Tourist Village

My Khanh tourist village, located near the floating market area, is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Can Tho. The village is considered a miniature version of the Mekong Delta, showcasing the rich culture of the southern region’s rivers and waterways. It features numerous replicas of traditional craft villages.

My Khanh village also cultivates many delicious fruit trees. You can enjoy freshly picked fruits with unmatched flavors.

My Khanh tourist village is considered a complex of resorts, entertainment, cuisine, and ecotourism. It fully embodies the cultural characteristics of the Mekong Delta region. When you come here, you can relax, have fun, and enjoy the specialties of the Western region to your heart’s content.

  • Address: 335 Vong Cung Street, My Khanh Commune, Phong Dien District, Can Tho.
  • Opening hours: 07:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m.
  • Entrance fee: 70,000 VND/ adult and 30,000 VND/ child

Can Tho Museum

At the Can Tho Museum, you’ll have the opportunity to witness firsthand the marvelous collections of art and antiques dating back hundreds of years. These artifacts bear the rich culture and heritage of the people of the Mekong Delta region, allowing you to delve into the history and culture of this city.

The Can Tho Museum was built in 1976 and comprises multiple exhibition rooms showcasing collections on the history, culture, art, and antiques of Can Tho and the Mekong Delta region. Additionally, the museum is elegantly designed with communal activity areas, green spaces, and a pond, providing a tranquil and comfortable environment.

With an expansive area of up to 3000 m2, it serves as a storage space for a diverse range of artifacts and objects. This place vividly reenacts the traditional cultural aspects of the people of Can Tho through each stage of the country’s development, helping you gain a deeper understanding of the local people and their way of life.

  • Address: 1 Hoa Binh Street, Tan An Ward, Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho
  • Opening hours:
    • 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. (from Tuesday to Thursday)
    • 08:00 a.m. to 09:00 p.m. ( on Sartuday and Sunday)
    • Closed on Monday and Friday
  • Entrance fee: 30,000 VND/adult, 15,000 VND/student, and free for people with disabilities and infants.

Cai Rang Floating Market, a unique destination in the heart of the Mekong Delta, is not only a place for displaying and trading goods but also a symbol of the famous river culture. Based on what I shared about the time spent here, I hope the unique culinary flavors and the colorful yet simple life experiences along the Hau River will make your exploration journey unforgettable.