Floating Markets: Cai Rang & Phong Dien


As I told you in the previous post "Can Tho Countryside by Motorbike", we relied on Mrs. Miss Thuy Nga (Tel: 0913184967 e-mail: ttnga6777@yahoo.com) to visit the floating markets, the main feature of Can Tho. Being a village built on the delta of the river, Can Tho is crossed by numerous channels which is nice to visit by boat. So we woke up at 5 to go to Cai Rang and Phong Dien, the two main floating markets.

Cai Rang runs from 5 am to about 17 pm, and the best time to go it's from 6 am to 9 am, because it is more crowded and lively. Sellers are on large vessels, while the small pagodas like ours, represent the buyers. Sellers have a bamboo pole on top, on which they hang a sample of the products they sell. In this way, the buyers can understand the type of goods sold avoiding misunderstandings due to the persistent noise that characterizes this market in the morning. If, in addition to the bamboo pole, there is also a coconut leaf, then it means that they want to cease the activity and sell the boat. It is impressive to see the amount of fruits and vegetables loaded on boats and know that every day they sell about 6/7 tons per boat. This floating market is the largest, and therefore more tourist than the following one.

On the way we stop at a company noodle, where we see the whole process. They use 50% tapioca flour and 50% of rice flour, then spread out large rounded sheets and put them to dry in the sun for 2-5 hours before cutting them. With 3 layers you get 1kilo of rice noodles and every day they produce about 800kilos.

The following market is Phon Deng. It runs from 4 am to 11 am and it?۪s very small, less tourist and sells also clothing, meat and fish (not only vegetables and fruits). Here we've bought pineapples and they've taught us to cut them in a very special way as they do here. We then tasted strange fruits including jambean, lotus flower's seeds and pomelo (less harsh and juicy than grapefruit).

Before coming back, we visited an orchard and we stopped for lunch at a restaurant along the river where there was a wedding party! We've been involved for some dancing and we were amazed by the euphoria of these people and by the strange music they were dancing. The return lasted about one hour and a half, passing through the canals and beautiful landscapes of the Mekong area.