In the mind of Vietnamese people, "market" is a very familiar picture in daily life. People can find out a crowded and animated market everywhere in this country, Vietnam, from tranquil suburb to crowded urban areas.
Market is not only the place for trading and exchanging goods and services but also the thing that expresses the traditional cultures of the country in the most meaningful way. In the countryside, each village or each ward has its own market and that market is named as the same name of that village or ward. In highland area with lots of mountains and hills, there are highland markets, where people of different small races gather and trade. Especially, if following through the Mekong River to the southern strip of land of Vietnam, tourists can easily see very original markets - floating markets on the river.
These ones are called "floating markets" because they are not located in crowded areas but on the river, in the middle of the water land with hundreds of junks, jolly-boats and boats that conduct buying and selling in crowds. The special trait of these markets is at their geographical position. As we know, the Mekong River Delta is an alluvia land which is fortified all the time by two big rivers: Tien Giang (Front River) and Hau Giang (Back River). Owing to the custom of living on the water surface and moving mainly by junks and boats, the markets are organized right on the river.
The market is open nearly all the day, but the most animated time is in the morning. All the junks and boats are filled with goods, mainly kinds of fruits and fresh farming products. And one thing that travelers can easily realize the scenery of perches erected in front of the boats and junks. At the peaks of these rods are kinds of fruits or goods that junk is selling. That typical picture can be referred to as banners and ads that are very popular in cities. However, on this water area, it becomes a distinct and original symbol.
Besides trading and exchanging goods, many services like culinary service, beauty service, clothing, etc. happen right on the junks and that makes things handy and comfortable. Travellers can sit on a junk surrounded by water, enjoying a bowl of "bun rieu" or other special dishes, or finding out sewing and clothing stalls of local women, and so on. It can be said that those markets can meet nearly all demands and serve various products for daily life of people here although they are floating on river.
Coming to South-Western provinces, excursionists can visit a number of famous floating markets attracting a great deal of customers every year such as: Phong Dien Market and Cai Rang Market in Can Tho; Phung Hiep Floating Market in Hau Giang; Cai Be Market in Tien Giang; and the floating market on Ganh Hao River in Ca Mau. Visiting and shopping at those markets, tourists will have chances to discover and understand more about special features in daily activities of residents in the Mekong River Delta area who are very faithful and hospitable.