Content includes:

  1. Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets of Mekong delta
  2. Bac Ha market of Lao Cai province (Northwest Vietnam)
  3. Dong Van market of Ha Giang province (Northeast Vietnam)
  4. Khau Vai love market of Ha Giang province (Northeast Vietnam)

1/ Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets of Can Tho city, Mekong delta

Location
The market takes place on Can Tho river, near Cai Rang bridge. Its about 6km from Ninh Kieu pier of Can Tho city (45 minutes by motorized boat). Or you can get to Dau Sau boat station (Ben do Dau Sau), from where it takes just some 10 minutes to reach the market.

Ninh Kieu, the main pier of the city, is larger and more comfortable than the small Dau Sau boat station which is used by some local people.

Booking and Price
There are many people, mostly women, offering motorised boat service for visiting Cai Rang floating market, Phong Dien floating market and fruit gardens at Ninh Kieu pier. Its good to come to the pier and arrange a boat trip in advance.

Cost: Cai Rang floating market and one fruit garden is about 300,000VND; pay more 150,000VND if you want to visit one more floating market (Phong Dien) and some canals.

Ms An (mobile: 0902 536 661) has offered motorised boat service for many years. She is friendly and helpful. Give her a call in advance and she can pick you up at Ninh Kieu pier (Boat station number 1 = ben tau du lich so 1), Dau Sau boat station or at your hotel (such as Van Phat hotel, Victoria hotel).

How long
The boat trip for Cai Rang floating market and an orchard takes about 3 – 4 hours. Spend 5 – 6 hours if you visit Phong Dien floating market and some more canals.

Best time to visit
The markets are open from early morning, about 5:00AM, to about 9:00AM.

The market is often totally closed one day before Vietnam new year and four days later.

You should arrive in the markets about 5:30AM to see sunrise and enjoy the cool winds (its quite hot at 8:00 – 9:00AM around the year)

Best days to visit the markets: 3 – 5 days before Vietnam traditional new year which usually falls into the beginning of February. During this period, the markets are very crowded and are often full of many kinds of colourful flowers. The sellers bring spring to the floating markets and the buyers take it home on the boats full of goods.

Difference between Cai Rang floating market (as well as other floating markets in Mekong delta) with Thailand floating market
Cai Rang floating market is about the culture of people whose lives are attached to the rivers

Now we see the differences between them
• Cai Rang floating market takes place on big long river. Thailand ones take place on concrete small, narrow and short canals

• Cai Rang is the floating market of local people. There is no souvernir at this market. Most sellers just do their daily jobs: selling or exchanging products. They don’t know how to do tourism (tourism is nothing to them)

Breakfast is available at Cai Rang and Thailand floating markets. But Cai Rang is just for local people while Thailand is for tourists.

• Cai Rang is open from early morning to about 9:00AM

• The sellers stay on the boats and they are called house boats in Cai Rang. Sometimes with 2 – 3 generations. Dog and cock are raised on boats and wake up early with the sellers.

• Cai Rang is a lively word where Mekongese who stay far away from home come back to live again their childhood

Some Asian tourists ask why we don’t organize floating markets like Thailand? We will “kill” Mekong delta’s culture if We do… The rivers and floating markets have their own lives and We love them.

Phong Dien floating market
It takes about 50 minutes from Cai Rang floating market to Phong Dien floating market by motorised boat.
If Cai Rang is the largest floating market, Phong Dien is perhaps the most beautiful one.
The difference: Cai Rang is called floating supermarket with more big boats for wholesale while Phong Dien is floating traditional market with a lot of rowing boats for retail sale.
Combine with a boat trip along some canals in Phong Dien.

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

Crowded floating market in early morning

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

Fishing in early morning

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

Sunrise on Cai Rang floating market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

A big boat full of pumkins

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

Breakfast: noodle, Vietnamese bread, sticky rice, dumpling…

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market

2/ Bac Ha market of Lao Cai province (Northwest Vietnam)

It opens every Sunday on a vast area and is compartmentalized with many sections such as: fruit, vegetables, clothes, shoes, animal (buffalo, pig, chicken, dog..), food and drink…
The 14 ethnic minority groups’ people come to the market not only for buying, selling but also for meeting, talking, drinking, eating… It should be called a colourful and happy fair
Time: every Sunday from early morning till noon. 
The ocean of colours woven by headscarf, clothing and smiles
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Whole family comes to the market. Kids are on the back of the mothers.
Sometimes the mother/father enjoys noodle soup while their kids enjoy ice cream
I even saw a very young mother, guessed about 15 years old, enjoyed iced cream when feeding her baby!
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Buying knives
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Incense sticks
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Most ethnic minority people love spicy
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Time to cut hair
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Selling corn wine
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
And pork meat
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Enjoy noodle soup in the market with a drink. Sometimes the man/husband gets drunk and the woman/wife are pleased to wait until he becomes sober. Some are taken home on the back of the horse! Once a week, its OK…
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Young and old. Cold and ice cream5 years ago I visited the market in early morning, it was so cold and the local people enjoyed ice cream
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Purple stick rice. Love it.
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
“Men men” – steamed corn powder
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Time for shopping
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
The fascinating buffalo section of the market was held on an open muddy field
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
                                                           Pics: vietnamguidebook
 
 
3/ Dong Van market of Ha Giang province (Northeast Vietnam)
The old Dong Van market took place in the center of Old Quarter of the town for about one hundred years. With many people, especially who fell in love with it, the Old market was the soul of Dong Van town where they loved to come back every year.
The present new market is much more bigger than the old one. It opens every Sunday on a vast area and is compartmentalized with many sections such as: fruit, vegetables, clothes, shoes, animal (ox, pig, chicken, bird, dog, cat…), food and drink…
The local ethnic minority people come to the market not only for buying, selling but also for meeting, talking, drinking, eating… It should be called a colourful and happy fair.
The ocean of colours woven by headscarf, clothing and smiles
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
“Hi honey, I’m busy now. I have to make up….“. Each girl has a mobile phone and a mirror. Waiting for the market open once a week, they want to be the most beautiful ones in the crowd. Perhaps, they will meet their “future lovers” overthere.
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Coulourful stick rice. I loved it and… I missed home so much!
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Drinking corn wine. Sometimes the man/husband gets drunk and the woman/wife are pleased to wait until he becomes sober. Some are taken home on the back of the horse! Once a week, its OK, honey…
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Guava
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Apple
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
Green bean
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Ginger
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Chilli. Most of ethnic minority people love spicy. Me too
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Bambbo sprout
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Vegetables on the back of a colourful beautiful girl
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Incense sticks
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Green, black bean and others
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Powder of crocus?
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
 These are they need for everyday life
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
I went back to one hundred years ago with this sewing machine
 
Repairing clothes
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Love all!
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Children came to market with parents. Sometimes the mother/father enjoys noodle soup while their kids enjoy ice cream
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
The fascinating animal section of the market was held on an open muddy field
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
“Mom, buy for me a new skirt”
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
Do you dare to taste this delicious Tiet canh? (you will become a true vampire. Mostly made of fresh blood of pig)
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
 
4 unique markets in Vietnam, mekong delta floating market, Bac Ha colorful market, Dong Van market, Khau Vai love market
                                                          Pics: vietnamguidebook
  
4/ Khau Vai love market of Ha Giang province (Northeast Vietnam)
    I havent been in the market which takes place once a year. Below is introduction of Khau Vai love market
    
Khau Vai commune, located in Meo Vac district, the northernmost province of Ha Giang, is home to ethnic minority groups of GiayNung and Muong. Each year, there is a market session on lunar March 26th (often falling on calendar May), but it is not a farming produce trading market but a love market. The name and activities of the market have common things with love market in Sapa.
 
But what’s different is that Khau Vai is a love market for various ethnic minority groups from four mountainous districts in Dong Van Plateau and ethnic minority groups in communes adjacent to Bao Lam and Bao Loc districts of Cao Bang province.
Local senior people said that this love market dated back to 1919. Roads are now more accessible than the previous years, so more people come to the market. However, activities of the market are still rich in cultural identity.
In the market area, there are two temples called Ong and Ba (Mr and Mrs). A story tells that, once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl born in two different places of the Dong Van Plateau. The boy’s surname is Linh and the girl’s surname is Loc. They love each other very much despite being hindered by deep streams and high rock mountains.
Because their families prevented their marriage, they together came to Khau Vai, a prosperous land with rich plants which they could live on.
Although they did not have a child but they lived happily until they died. In honour of their merits in cultivating the wild land into a rich land, the local people built the two temples to worship them.
Therefore, on every lunar March 26th and 27th, Khau Vai attracts couples of different ages, including those who seek their partners for the first time. However, most of them are those who love each other very much but cannot wed together because of many different reasons.
There is another local myth tells the story of a young couple from different tribes who fell in love with each other. The girls belonged to the Giay group and the boy belonged to the Nung group. The girl was so beautiful that her tribe did not want to let her get married with a man from another tribe. Consequently, violent conflict arose between the two tribes.
One day, the boy witnessed an aggressive fight between the tribes as a result of their love. To stop the blood shed, the lovers sorrowfully decided to say goodbye. However, they made plans to meet once a year on that day, lunar March 26th.
The place where they used to meet is Khau Vai, which thereafter became a meeting place for all of those in love.
On the day when the market session takes place, it is likely that both the wife and her husband together go to the market but they look for their own partners to share emotions. If one of them has to stay at home, he or she is not jealous in love because the dating at the marketplace is really a faithful feeling exchange.
It can be said that the beauty of love is a basic factor to keep the existence of Khau Vai love market for such a long time.
With the assistance of Ha Giang Culture and Information Department, Meo Vac district and Khau Vai commune authorities hold the traditional love market of Khau Vai in order to promote cultural identity of ethnic minority groups in the locality.
The love market festival is held on lunar March 26th and 27th with the participation of a large number of locals. The festival features food and drink culture, song performances and folk games. Ethnic costumes, jewellery, ethnic musical instruments and culture and art publications are on display at the market, reflecting activities of the local people.