Cai Be Floating Markets

Fruit seller on boat for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

When you visit the floating markets of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, there are two main markets: Cai Rang and Cai Be. Cai Rang is the larger and more popular market, while Cai Be is tiny with only a few boats in operation. So is Cai Be even worth your time? Yes, if you’re interested in getting an authentic taste of small town Vietnam. Find out more in today’s blog on the Cai Be floating markets.

Although the floating markets of the Mekong Delta are on the wane, the Cai Rang floating markets – at the time of my visit – was comprised of about 20 boats. The wholesale fruit and vegetable sellers are in business, but the main trade is in tourists who swarm the sellers hoping for a sensational Instagram selfie. [Visit my blog to read all about the Cai Rang floating markets.]

In comparison, the Cai Be floating markets consist of only 5 to 7 boats — total. There’s just not that much going on in Cai Be, but that’s part of the city’s charm. In your tour of Vietnam, if all you want is a glimpse of what the floating markets look like, then head straight to Cai Rang and don’t waste your time visiting Cai Be. If you’re going to come to Cai Be, don’t do it for the floating markets; do it for a taste of small-town life. It’s really worth it.

 

Cai Be Floating Markets – Getting There

Boat in the river for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Getting to Cai Be is a long and arduous process, and personally, I found the bus system to get to from Can Tho to Cai Be to be both complicated and confusing. I ended up taking a bus from Can Tho to Vinh Long, and from here took a very long taxi ride to my hotel in Cai Be. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have hopped on the back of a moto-taxi, but at the time I was petrified of having my camera equipment out on the open road. Still, it took half a day to get to my hotel. There has got to be a better way to get from Can Tho to Cai Be, but at the time I couldn’t figure it out.

 

Cai Be Floating Markets – My Hotel

Person napping in boat for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Cai Be has two main streets, and the tourist infrastructure is equally small. My hotel, the Sao Mai Hotel, felt like a quiet oasis in comparison to the hustle and bustle of Can Tho. But I should note it was also very isolated. It was me and one couple staying in the other end of the hotel. The staff was helpful, my room was large, the hot water worked, and the hotel served food. This was a good thing because there weren’t that many restaurants located close to the hotel.

Hotel
Sao Mai Hotel
306 An Loi Village, Dong Hoa Hiep, Cai Be, Cai Be (Tien Giang)
2 nights, standard double room
Shower, AC, Wi-Fi
$40.00

 

Cai Be Floating Markets – Visiting the Markets and Beyond

Sunrise over Cai Be for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

The morning that I visited the Chai bay floating markets, I had one of the most glorious sunrises of my entire trip. The sky was amazingly pink and beautiful. T he market had just opened up, and it was great to walk along the road and see the city come to life. I was up so early that I had to wait for the floating markets to begin, so I sat down at a coffee shop to have a cup of Vietnamese coffee. I was the only woman there, so I wasn’t sure if it was inappropriate for me to sit there or not. The old men sitting at the coffee shop seemed thrilled, however, that I had joined them for a morning cup of Joe.

At 7:00 AM I walked over to the river to watch the boats arrive for the floating market. There was no real way to photograph the boats, however. In Cai Rang there are a multitude of boat operators ready to take you closer to the action, but no such operators exist in Cai Be. I was basically stuck on the shore, and had to sneak behind a house to get close to the water. I think most people visit the Cai Be floating market as part of a larger tourist package where they first go to Cai Rang and then mosey over to Cai Be by way of the river.

But with no pack of tourists to glom on to, I was left to explore the small town of Cai Be on my own. There is a bustling market that was a great source for street photography. There are also some outlying islands that you can get to by means of a local ferry. It was a bit confusing to find out which ferry I needed to use, but some helpful locals got me where I needed to be and soon I was headed on my way to the island of Tan Phong.

 

Cai Be Floating Markets – Visiting Tan Phong

Home on Tan Phong for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

The island of Tan Phong is crisscrossed by a series of canals, and most of the homes are precious little storybook houses, Vietnamese-style. Most of the houses have lush gardens around them and there are photogenic little canoes in just about every canal. I had a great time getting lost in the small streets and simply walking around saying hello to the neighbors. There was a Dai Dao temple that was fascinating. Inside I found the keeper of the temple fast asleep, and I made sure not to wake him. There were a few little restaurants and cafés, and at some point I found a bodega to get some picnic supplies. It was hot and humid, but being able to walk around in the quiet and just see what everyday life is like in Vietnam was a nice change from the craziness of Cambodia and Can Tho. This was my only taste of small-town life in Vietnam, and it remains one of the highlights of my trip.

So should you visit Cai Be? To me it was well worth it.

Coming up in the next blog: Fast times in Ho Chi Minh City

Geese in a basket for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Market in Cai Be for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Market in Cai Be for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Abandoned house for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Fruit seller on a boat for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

River in Cai Be for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Fruit seller on a boat for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Boat in river for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Busy market for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Boat in river for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Ferry pulling into dock for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Seafood for sale for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Woman washing fish for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Busy market for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Busy market for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Two women choosing fish for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Woman fixing vegetables for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Busy market for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Mother and child at market for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Woman selling at market for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Woman selling marigolds for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Woman selling marigolds for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Father and child on bicycle for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Old woman on bike for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Father and child for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Man and puppies for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Street in Cai Be for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Motorcycles coming off a ferry for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Woman rowing boat for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Boats in canal for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Boats in canal for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

House with canal for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Jackfruit for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Boats in canal for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Boat on canal for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Water lillies for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

House on Tan Phong for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Church on Tan Phong for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

House on Tan Phong for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Bird in cage for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Canoe with flowers for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Rambutan for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Graveyard for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Cao Dai church for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Church manager asleep for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Colorful red flower for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Boats on water for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Lantern for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

Woman ringing bell for an article on the Cai Be Floating Markets

If you would like to see more images from my travel portfolio, then please visit my website — www.Kelly-Williams.com

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