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Cai Be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

Cai Be floating market is close to the famous Mekong River and about 70 km from Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta. The floating market has unfortunately shrunk considerably due to improved road network, fortunately there are many more fun things to do in Cai Be. A day trip or multi-day trip to Cai Be will certainly be one of your highlights during your Vietnam holiday.

Cai Be floating market

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

The Cai Be floating market is one of the most famous floating markets in the Mekong Delta. Because the Mekong Delta is full of rivers and canals, farmers, fruit growers and local factory owners can load their goods directly into the boat from their land. From here they bring it to a meeting point in the river, which forms in a floating market. Smaller boats come to the wholesaler boats to purchase goods and distribute it via the canals to stores and markets all the way from the Mekong Delta up to Ho Chi Minh City.

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

In the past, more than 400 boats filled with vegetables, fruits and other local products were anchored here in the river. Unfortunately, due to the road network that has massively been improved, goods are now more being distribute over the road. This ultimately resulted in the Cai Be floating market shrinking enormously, until there were only a few boats left that are mainly intended for wholesalers. Fewer boats means that the Cai Be floating market is also losing its appeal to tourists, not many are visiting this market now. However, there are plans to revitalize the market so that travelers and locals can see this floating market alive again.

So better not go?

In brief. Would you really like to see a busy and lively floating market? Yes? Then you better not go to Cai Be. That said, if it’s less important to you then Cai Be is still a great place to visit. A visit to the floating market is only a very small part of tours and day trips. You will still have a great time exploring the small canals of the Mekong, visiting fruit plantations, visiting local small factories, exploring villages and cycling.

Alternative for Cai Be floating market

You don’t have to wait for the crowds to return to the Cai Be floating market, as there are alternatives. The best alternative is the Cai Rang floating market, which is located near Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta. This floating market is still huge, with many traders and a lively atmosphere. View the list of all floating markets in the Mekong Delta here.

Best things to do in Cai Be

There are many things to do in Cai Be, because fortunately there is more than just a floating market.

1. Take a boat through the canals

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

Cai Be is located directly on the Mekong River and this mighty river has smaller sea rivers that also split into smaller canals. There is only one way to explore this delta and that is by boat.

With the motorized boats you can cover greater distances and see a lot more. In addition, you can also visit the Cai Be floating market and then continue your way through other rivers. From the boat you can see life on the water, with boats full of fruit passing you or being loaded from land. Stop on the way on islands in the river where you can visit small local factories and workshops.

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

In addition, you can explore the smaller canals with traditional sampan rowing boats and float through the nippa palm forest. It is a wonderfully soothing feeling when you paddle quietly through the water with the shade of the palms and forests around you.

2. Cycling in Cai Be

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

The second best way to explore Cai Be is with a bike ride. A bike ride takes you through the countryside and local villages, past fruit orchards and over small bridges that cross the canals. Cycling in the Mekong Delta is great, because there is almost no traffic on all the narrow roads through the countryside and the delta is as flat as a pancake.

Get lost one the winding side roads, on the way you can stop to taste some fruit and a local fruit orchard or for a coffee at a roadside coffee shop. Locals here are friendly and laid back. It is great to see there daily life up close.

3. Experience local life

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

As said, it is great to discover the local life here. It is completely different from the people who live in the city, along the coast in central Vietnam or in the mountains of northern Vietnam. You can experience a lot from this both with the mentioned boat trip and bicycle tour.

Around Cai Be you will find many small workshops and factories that convert locally sourced food into local specialties such as rice paper, coconut candies, fish sauce or dried fish. During a visit you can see the entire process and possibly try the production process yourself.

4. Kayaking

As an alternative to a boat trip or letting a local paddle yourself in a sampan boat, you can also actively go out on your own. The best thing to do in Cai Be then is kayaking. Kayak trips are available and a single homestay along the river has kayaks for rent. In order not to get lost in the maze of channels, it is useful to go out with a guide, who can also show you the best places.

5. Farms and fruit orchards

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

Most of the fruit in Vietnam comes from the Mekong Delta. During a boat trip you will also notice how many other boats you will see that are loaded with fruit. That is why it is nice to visit a fruit orchard, where you even have the opportunity to pick fruit yourself. You will see fruits that you immediately recognize, but there are also fruits that you have probably never heard of. Popular fruits from the Mekong Delta are jackfruit, mangoes, rambutans, mangosteens and durian.

Accommodations in Cai Be

One of the other best things to do in Cai Be is enjoy the peace and quiet and the view from your accommodation. For that reason it is important to look for a good lodge, hotel or homestay. Homestays generally have the most local feel and lodges have a bit more comfort.

The best accommodation in Cai Be is the Mekong Lodge, located near the Cai Be floating market en surrounded by a lot of greenery. From here you can immediately start beautiful bike rides and visit local villages and workshops. Even if you don’t want to do anything, you can relax in the pool or enjoy the view from the restaurant on the river.

The Mekong Lodge local experience

Local Vietnam has put together a special tour to the Mekong Lodge, where you will be picked up from your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and from there to Cai Be. You go cycling with a local guide and take a few boat trips through the beautiful surroundings.
View the full itinerary + prices here: Mekong Lodge local Experience (option for 2 days and 3 days).

cai be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

If there is no availability at Mekong River Lodge, try these other accommodations in Cai Be:

  • The Durian Lodge in Mekong
  • Mekong Riverside Boutique Resort & Spa
  • Mekong Rustic Cai Be (located on Tan Phong Island)
  • Mekong Ecolodge (located on Tan Phong Island)

How to get there?

By bus

There are several buses to Cai Be from Ho Chi Minh City. The Hai Duyen bus is the most popular option. The bus leaves every hour from district 5 in Ho Chi Minh City and the journey to Cai Be takes 2.5 hours.

Per tour

Like many destinations in the Mekong Delta, Cai Be is most popular to visit via an organized tour. This is because it is often not easy to travel between all destinations in the Mekong Delta by public transport. You also do not have to negotiate with fishermen and boat owners to do a boat tour.

Keep in mind for the Cai Be floating market that the busiest time of the market is early in the morning, however most day tours from Ho Chi Minh City do not depart earlier than 7 or 8 in the morning, so you cannot experience this unless you spend at least 1 night in the Mekong Delta is staying.

Our recommended Cai Be tours:

Best time to visit

The Mekong Delta has a dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October. Both seasons are warm to hot, but because the weather in the Mekong Delta is mild throughout the year, you don’t have to limit yourself to one season. During the rainy season it is quieter with other travelers and during the dry season there is more fruit production.

Đăng bởi: Hắc Tiểu Miêu

Từ khoá: Cai Be – the floating market & 5 best things to do

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