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Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

By Huy Phong   January 19, 2023 | 06:19 am PT
Hundreds of boats gather at the Cai Rang floating market, the largest of its kind in the Mekong Delta, to buy and sell agricultural products used for Tet decoration as Vietnam’s biggest holiday approaches.
Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

On Thursday morning, three days before Tet, the Cai Rang floating market is busier than usual.

Over 300 boats gather at the market, which is around five kilometers from downtown Can Tho, to buy and sell fruit and other agricultural products. Quite a few of the boats serve as mobile restaurants serving delicious local cuisine.

Adding to the clamor are more than 200 additional boat trips carrying tourists to and from Cai Rang.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

"Today was the last trading day of the year at Cai Rang floating market. Then everyone will go to their hometowns to celebrate Tet," said Nguyen Van Thanh, a boat owner who sells Cau Duc pineapples, a specialty from the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang.

After the Tet holiday, the market will be crowded again on the eighth and ninth days of the first lunar month.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

A woman buys marigold flowers for VND40,000 ($2.2) per pot to decorate her boat for Tet.

Vietnamese people have a long tradition of offering fresh flowers to the gods and their ancestors during the holiday. It’s a way to pray for luck and peace.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

People buy watermelons for Tet decorations on Thursday morning.

In the southern region, people have a long tradition of offering watermelons to their ancestors to pray for good luck and prosperity.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

Every day, Pham Hong Loan, 40, runs a motorboat carrying her sister and small child from Phong Dien District for the 10-kilometer journey along the Can Tho river to the Cai Rang floating market. There, they sell fruit to tourists.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

"Since the Covid-19 pandemic came under control and tourism activities resumed, the market is busier than before thanks to the return of tourists,” Loan said.

“We can trade, so we are very happy," she added.

In the lead up to Tet, she can sell 50-80 kg of fruit per day for a profit of VND200,000-300,000. That’s enough to take care of her family.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

A 3-year-old girl sleeps on a boat while her mother sells fruit at the market.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

Nguyen Van Tai, 54, runs a motorboat selling drinks at the floating market.

Thanks to the large number of visitors these days, his business thrives, helping him earn VND150,000-200,000 in profit per day.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

A group of tourists enjoy Cau Duc pineapples right on their boat.

According to official statistics, Can Tho welcomed 5.1 million tourists last year and more than 70% of them visited the Cai Rang floating market.

From Ninh Kieu Wharf, it takes 30 minutes to travel by boat to Cai Rang.

Mekong Delta’s largest floating market blooms before Tet

A foreign tourist learns how to make hu tiu noodles on a raft house at the floating market.

 
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