Vietnam Trip: A Visit to Cai Be Floating Market Site and Vinh Long Market of Mekong Delta - Part 1
It has been awhile since the last time I posted an article on this blog. I had been very busy with so many things on past few months (or year I think) and now is trying to catch up my belated article writings.
Well, I was in Vietnam again on early December and it was like a tour guide to them as well as helping some friends to buy goodies here for them (and yes, I’m starting to be a Personal Shopper now but I will write it next time).
Earlier we was in Dalat & Nha Trang and soon after that, we flew to Ho Chi Minh City from Can Ranh International Airport and to spend 4 more days in town for shopping and stuff. So, one of our itinerary to kill our time is to pay a visit to Mekong delta region. I think, your visit to Ho Chi Minh City without visiting Mekong delta region makes your trip incomplete.
There are so many kind of tour to Mekong delta and I advised you to go there with the arrangement by tour agency for better logistic arrangement. Tour agency normally will offer you a tour package such as visiting My Tho - Ben Tre Island, to visit Cai Be Floating Market & Vin Long City, trip to Chau Doc and direct to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and many other options. For a safe and professional arrangement, I would suggest you to use The Sinh Tourist services which I had been trusted them since 10 years ago (the used to be The Sinh Café as their name back then). This company is located at De Tham Street, Pham Ngu Lao. The hottest backpacker area in town.
This time, we chose to visit Cai Be Floating Market & Vinh Long City with price VND269,000 per person. It is advisable to purchase the package one day before the tour and good to check the weather forecast the next day upfront especially if you are visiting Vietnam during wet season.
Our trip schedule was at 7.00am and all of us need be at the tour office as early as 6.30am for check in the trip and on board on time. We travelled by big bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Cai Be district in south west Vietnam. When you are on the way to Cai Be, please don’t sleep and enjoy the view. You will slowly see the changes from city view to the countryside view. There are few provinces that you need to pass by on the way to Cai Be district and you will see a very wide spread of green paddy field, big rivers, small villages and some small town and markets too. A short brief about Cai Be district, it is a river land or we called it delta rural district located at Tien Giang province of Mekong Delta region. Economically, the people here grew vegetables, paddy, breeding catfish and other river fish for local consume and export too.
After 2 hours journey from Ho Chi Minh City, we finally arrived to the boat jetty and oh ya! We do have a tour guide and her name is Thanh. She is very informative and I adore her determination as a tourist guide for the company. We took the boat and crossing Tien River and heading to the site of Cai Be Floating Market.
To avoid your disappointment, good to remind that this floating market is varies compared to the one you might had visited in Thailand. Cai Be floating market normally start very busy as early as 3.00am when all the boats from other places such as Can Tho, Dong Nai, Vinh Long and Chau Doc will gather here to trade their goods. According to our tour guide, there are about 400 to 500 boats will be on the river at Cai Be to do their trade. So, upon our arrival at 9.00am, there are no such scene of busy market. But more like an aftermath’s scene instead. But nevermind, I think it is still not that bad though.
It is dark, crowded and busy during that time, so how people do their trade?
Normally every big boat will come with a smaller one. The trader or buyer will row the small boat to their targeted seller to purchase goods and return back to their big boat. The selling system also quite unique. Since the market is crowded in the morning and it is hard to shout to each other to tell what they are selling. The solution is, they need to hang one item that they are selling (example like Tapioca, Pineapple, Potatoes) to the long stick which is located at the very front side of the boats. Make sure it is high enough so people can see it right from far and they will come to the seller if they want to buy it. In terms of prices, it is way cheaper than on the land markets. You even will get the best price if you do a bulk buying such as 10 kilos of mango…yumssss!
Next, we are visiting coconut candy factory, rice paper making factory and lunch time. Stay tune for more write up.