Crossing Travel
DESTINATIONS Tuesday, 06 October 2015

Floating Market in Can Tho

Can Tho province is the most popular of the Mekong Delta destinations. Thanks to its tremendously fertile sold, it’s one of the largest agricultural producers in the Delta, often referred to as Vietnam’s rice basket.

Floating Market in Can Tho

Can Tho province is the most popular of the Mekong Delta destinations. Thanks to its tremendously fertile sold, it’s one of the largest agricultural producers in the Delta, often referred to as Vietnam’s rice basket. Along with rice, the province is home to many orchards and farms, and it’s the goods from here tourists flock to see in the floating markets dotted around the provincial capital.

As a regional hub, it is easy to get to Can Tho from cities in the Mekong Delta.

Transportation in Can Tho

By Express Bus

Many operators serve Can Tho from cities in the Mekong Delta up to the center and north of Vietnam. You may have a short stop in Ho Chi Minh City. Most travelers arrive in Can Tho from Ho Chi Minh City.

From Ho Chi Minh City bus operators servicing Can Tho are leaving every one to two hours around the clock from the Western Bus Station (Bến Xe Miền Tây). Prices are US$4-7.

Smaller more local buses from Saigon to Can Tho leave in the morning. There are three main operators servicing routes from Ho Chi Minh City as well as other destinations - "Thanh Buoi", "Phuong Trang" and "Mailinh".

The big operators also have a departure point in the center of the city at Le Hong Phong street, from where shuttle buses will bring you to Bến Xe Miền Tây.

By motorbike, car and taxi

By car, allow about 1.5 hours from Sóc Trăng, about 3 hours from Châu Đốc, about 3.5 hours from Rạch Giá, less than 4 hours from Ho Chi Minh City (169 km), about 6 hours from Cà Mau and about 1.5 hours from Long Xuyen. It is possible to rent a car for US$140-180 for a one-way trip (or return trip in the same day) for 2-3 passengers from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho. A driver is included in the price.

You might be slightly faster by motorbike than by car depending on your way of driving. It is quite easy to rent a motorbike in the tourist area in Ho Chi Minh City district 1. Most rental stores will rent a motorbike to you, if you can show a driving license of any country or will even not ask for a license at all. Beware that you are only covered by your insurance in case of an accident, if your driving license is valid in Vietnam. Most European licenses are not automatically accepted. You might need to take an additional test with Vietnamese authorities in order to comply with the local rules.

It is also possible to rent a taxi for about almost the same price as a car for 1 way from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho. Try hiring a Vinasun Taxi or Mailinh taxi.

By boat

Apart from overnight boat cruises for tourists, there are not anymore regular boat transportation services to Can Tho. This is due to the fact that the time for driving to Can Tho has been reduced to less than 4 hours with the opening of the Can Tho bridge in 2011 and the finalization of the motorway around HCMC.

By air

Trà Nóc Airport now has a vast international terminal with convenient facilities. As of 2011, the airport is connected to Hanoi, Phu Quoc with flights on Vietnam Airlines and Con Dao with flights on Mekong Air.

Get around

Can Tho is a big city, but the center between the university and the quay can be easily explored on foot (đi bộ). Good hotels will offer you a map.

Besides, you can choose bicycle, motorbike or taxi.

Floating Markets in Can Tho

Floating Market in Can Tho

The floating markets are a very lively scene, accommodating much of the goods exchange throughout the area. And, the canal system around Can Tho is a fascinating travel network, much more relaxing than the bustling roads. Longer tours on a private boat to the floating markets usually include traveling through the canals as well. Make sure the boat you book is a small boat that can take you through the small canals that the larger tour boats cannot navigate. You can rent a boat from the "boat ladies" at the Ninh Kiều pier or from local tour agents. Often they can pick you up at your hotel and the tour included some snacks. Prices depend on your negotiation skills and the longer the tour, the cheaper. On August 2013, starting prices of private boats to the floating markets are about 19$ for a 3 hour tour to Cai Rang floating market and about 39$ for a 7 hour tour to both markets - Cai Rang and Phong Dien - and canals. It could be bargained down and the price also depends on the quality and state of the boat. Make sure that the boat has a shade, so you do not sit in the sun for too long.

Cai Rang Floating Markets

Cái Răng floating market is the main wholesale floating market near Can Tho, and takes place before and around dawn each day. It's literally floating in the middle of a fairly large river, far from the riverbanks, which are lined with private houses and shops. Therefore, you will absolutely have to get on a boat in order to appreciate this floating market. If you don't want to pay foreign tourist prices for a tour from Ninh Kieu, you can hire a taxi. However, don't simply ask to go to Cai Rang Floating Market, as you'll likely end up at a random deserted riverbank where the driver's buddy will try to sell you an overpriced floating market tour. Instead, ask the driver to take you to Chợ An Bình, a local riverside market located next to the floating market. From the public dock there, you can join a motorboat tour of the floating market for 50,000 VND per person. As an added bonus, the (riverside) market offers fresh produce, some shopping (of the blanket-on-the-ground variety), and some of the tastiest banh mi stalls in Can Tho.

Phong Dien Floating Market

Phong Dien (Phong Điền) is further upstream the Can Tho river, and worth seeing as it is a retail market. It is very active at dawn, but slows down early too, so you may want to go there by land. The arroyos back to Can Tho are also very much worth a ride on a small boat.

Phung Hiep Floating Market

Phung Hiep (Phụng Hiệp) is much farther away, in the neighboring Hậu Giang province, but deserves a trip if you are going to stay more than a few days, as it is always bustling with activity. There are cruises offered to this destination.

Tra On Floating Market

Tra On (Trà Ôn), in Vinh Long province, is just over an hour downstream the Bassac (the lower Mekong branch, also called Hậu Giang or Sông Hậu). It is a small floating village's market anchored near the clouds' island (Cù Lao Mây).

Thing to eat in Can Tho

Local fruits

Floating Market in Can Tho

Can Tho is famous for its delicate cuisine and extra-fresh fruit and vegetables, and a good place to try and eat unknown fruits. Among the local produce, you may like to try the different varieties of mangoes, oranges, jackfruit, pomeloes, grapefruit, but also custard apple, corossol, longans or even durian. A place where the locals buy fruits are the markets like Xuan Khanh Market.

Hot Pot Alley

Hem 1 Ly Tu Trong dubbed Hẻm Vit Nau Chao, the Hot Pot Alley, is one of the attractions for locals and students in the Xuan Khanh Quarter that is still a kind of secret tipp in Can Tho even though it recently started to becoming popular with expats as well (especially with those who are not afraid of Vietnamese only menus). The alley hosts about a dozen restaurants all offering the same specialty, Can Tho Hot Pot in different styles with fresh fish from the Mekong river or with Duck (also a local specialty).

Chao Long Vit Xiem

Floating Market in Can Tho

Chao Long Vit Xiem (Yummy local style rice porridge soup), Mau Than street Hem 95 (Opposite Quang Duc Temple Pagoda in Mau Than Street at the corner of Hem 95). 10:00 - 24:00. This local place offers two tasty types of porridge (congee): Pork chitterlings and muscovy duck. Scary as they may sound, but the restaurant is one of the oldest ones on in town serving those local dishes.

Mi Vit Tiem- Mien Ga

You can enjoy the dish at Mau Than street  (24h local street restaurant with braised duck soup). The specialty here is Braise Buck in Egg Noodle Soup- Mi Vit Tiem Cheap/ 50,000VND per soup.

Mau Than Bun Bo Hue

Floating Market in Can Tho

It locates next to a gas station, but one of the best spicy Hue style Beef Noodle Soups in the city.  While the location is not the best, the Spicy Hue style Beef Noodle Soup - “Bun Bo Hue” - is definitely very popular and attracts a lot of locals. Cheap/27.000VND per soup

Char Siu bread

"Special combo of bread and Xa Xiu, Xa Xiu literally means "skewer roast" (char being skewer (both noun and verb) and siu being roast) after the traditional cooking method for the dish: long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire. Average cost is 10.000VND (0.5USD) per roasted bread.

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