Floating market is a special kind of market of the Mekong delta. It's the place where sellers and buyers use small boats for transportation. Location for the floating market on the river must be large enough and not too deep then boats can anchor easily and safety.
Floating market is popular in the Mekong delta (South West Vietnam), it's a cultural specility of the Mekong delta. The floating market is opening for the whole day but the most bussiest time is in the morning. Hundred of boats are full loaded with agricultural products but most of them are fruits. The busy atmosphere is lasting untill the market is closed in the end of day. There's a special sign for buyer to regconize the exact boat to buy what they want: It's a pole with product is hung at the of the boat. By seeing at products on those poles, buyer can know products that being sold on boats.
Characteristic of the floating market in Vietnam:
- It's the trading place for local people with agricultural products, food... It's totally different with the floating markets in Damnoen Saduak - Thailand.
- The "boat stores" don't have sign, a pole is used for regconize the available products on the boats. This pole is called "Bẹo" in Vietnamese. For example: If a boat which is selling mango, then mangoes will be hung on the pole. By this special way, the buyer can see products from a long distance.
Boats from everywhere in Mekong delta gather in floating market. The original location of boats can be identified by their first 2 character of the serie on the body. For example: AG stands for An Giang province, BT stands for Bến Tre province...
Although people in the floating market use to hanging products on the poles as the store signs but there're things that are hung on the boats but they're not for sale: Clothes. The boats in the floating market are also home for the people, so the boats are also the drying place for their clothes.
Some boats sell things but they're not hang on pole: Boats sell beverage and food. They just like floating canteen and their products can't be hung on the pole. And there're boats hang this one but actually, a different product is sold. They're boats with a pole with coco leaves on top. The boats owners want to sell their boats indeed.
Some famous floating markets in Vietnam
- Cái Bè: In the intersection of the 3 provinces: Tiền Giang, Vĩnh Long and Bến Tre.
- Phụng Hiệp: Hậu Giang province
- Châu Đốc: An Giang province - 5 km away from Cần Thơ city.
- Cái Răng: Cần Thơ province
- Phong Điển: Cần Thơ province - 17km away from Cần Thơ city.
- Ngã Năm: Cà Mau province
- Trà Ôn: Vĩnh Long province. It's the last floating market on Mekong before the Mekong river meets the sea.
The floating markets are formed naturally from a long time ago by the local people. There's no management of the govement and they're places of trading location for the people that are living along the Mekong river.
The river and canals of Mekong delta are the facts that make this type of market become popular for hundred of years. Seller live by selling agricultural products on their boats from generations to generations and so do the charateristics of floating market. They created a speciality of Mekong delta that attracts most of everyone who visit floating market in Mekong delta.