Explore Cai Be Floating Market in Tien Giang Province (Vietnam)

  • Mon, 19/12/2016
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Tien Giang province wins an award as not only the rice bowl of the Mekong Delta, but also the biggest fruit producing area throughout Vietnam. About 70km away from Saigon, the province is situated in the North of the Tien River. If you are planning to enjoy a short trip in the Delta, make sure that you add Cai Be Floating Market into your bucket list. The floating market lies in the area where the Tien River shares the border between 3 provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long as well as Ben Tre. Mingling with the bustling vibe and chaotic atmosphere of the market, your mind seems to soak up the rhythm of brandishing water flow, while your soul seems to be daydreamt by the vastness of the Mekong River.

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The history of Cai Be Floating Market
 
Together with Cai Rang, Phung Hiep, Phong Dien Floating Markets, Cai Be Floating Market stands out as one of the noticeable and influential markets in Mekong Delta. Although its origin is still unknown, many people still consider that the market was formed by those from the central of the country in 17th to 18th centuries, during time of the formation of the delta. They were known as the first founders who cultivated and settled down the delta for a long time. As per what Gia Dinh Thanh Thong Chi recorded, in 1732, Nguyen Lord declared to start constructing Long Ho Town at Cai Be Town.
 
Every day, lots of boats and rafts in the delta gather here to trade and do business. Although the market is often open all day, the liveliest time is at sunrise. Some sellers visit the market to purchase products from the merchant. Then, these will be brought back the markets on land for sale.
 
The colorful atmosphere of Cai Be Floating Market
 
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Foreigners who never heard floating markets before are highly advised to set foot in Cai Be once in their trip to Vietnam. Floating market is a huge marketplace where both sellers and buyers make deals or purchases on the boats. The truth is that this kind of market is very common in the Mekong Delta region where the people’ lives are also closely attached to the waterway. There are lots of the tourist agencies that introduce Cai Be floating market tour for nature lovers and adventurous visitors. All you must do is simply to sign up for a package tour as well as have yourself ready to get up early in the morning.
 
In general, the market is split into 2 distinguishing parts, called buying places and selling places. At that time, boats and sampans packed with vegetables, fruits, and other agricultural goods from other provinces, such as sweet potatoes (Vinh Long) and pumpkins (Hau Giang), will be anchored along the banks of the Tien River for kilometers. Similar to Cai Rang Market, the sample of the merchandise is also hung on a long pole in front of each boat to attract and help customers realize more easily. This seems to be a common and unique sign you only find in the floating markets in Mekong Delta.
 
You are able to hire a motorboat to sail along the river as well as experience how animated and vibrant a floating market is. From the 3 AM in the early morning, boats and sampans are busy and crowded since Cai Be is considered one of the largest wholesale markets in the region. Spending their lifetime on the river, traders also use their boats as “mobile houses” from generation to generation. The water is likely to become an inseparable part of their daily lives. They eat, sleep, hang out, and do other jobs on water. On the deck of one boat, it is easy to catch the images of kids studying or playing with dogs.
 
In addition, you may also gain practical experience by accompanying with the locals to know how they catch fish. After sailing on the river, visitors may enjoy homestay atmosphere, wander around the fruit gardens, sample local cuisine and immerse in the old stories. If departing for the journey on a nice day without rain, you should not let this interesting tourist attraction slip out of your itinerary.

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Useful tips to remember during your travel
 
On the whole, most of the floating markets begin a new day in the very early morning and last before noon. Therefore, the best way to catch the busiest, liveliest and most impressive scenery is to plan to stay around 1-2 nights in Vinh Long. Homestay is indeed a memorable experience. Bring with you hat, sunscreen, insect repellant and high-quality camera. If possible, spending the day on the boat cruise in Cai Be is also a brilliant idea as this is a cool opportunity to explore the marvelous life on the Mekong River. This trip allows you to drop by not only a floating market, but also a small beautiful island, like An Binh Island.
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