The Cai Rang Floating Market is the most famous of all Can Tho attractions. It is one of the most popular things to do in Vietnam and draws thousands of visitors. It is about twenty minutes up stream on the mighty Mekong River from the city quayside. In 2015 it¬†featured in a superb BBC Documentary featuring Sue Perkins.
Visitors to Can Tho rise before dawn and board the many small boats taking holidaymakers to visit this astonishing fruit and vegetable market. Long before they arrive the boats will have been congregating. The wholesale boats arrive first keen to get their favoured pitches. Soon after hundreds of smaller brightly coloured retail boats arrive to stock up on their goods and to barter or trade with others. Each boat specialises in one product. They fly a long bamboo pole from the front of their craft from which is hung a sample of their goods to inform people what they sell. Hundreds of pineapples, mangoes, melons and other items are bobbing around constantly a dozen feet or so in the air.
Cai Rang Floating Market: one of the 10 best things to do in Vietnam
It is an amazing chaotic riot of colour and noise as they shout and barter with each other. The tourist boats weave in and out showing their charges as much as they can. Tiny boats follow these; rowed more often then not by women, they have young children attempting to sell fresh peeled pineapples, canned drinks and cigarettes, to the tourists.
Cai Rang Floating Market is not simply one of the best attractions in Can Tho it is easily in the top 10 list of things to do in Vietnam. It has remained unchanged for centuries though sadly it may soon become a thing of the past. Modern life is causing many of the traders to move to a land-based alternative and it is shrinking.
The Can Tho Bridge has made getting in and out of Can Tho so much easier than it was and in turn reduced the importance of the river as the only means of getting around the area. River life is hard, and it is not difficult to understand that people are seeking better living conditions.