Mekong Delta floating markets through a foreign lens

German-Mexican photographer Sebastian Hanke captured the colorful bustle of floating markets across the Mekong Delta during a recent trip.

floating market, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang, daily lives, river life

During his Mekong Delta trip in early 2020, Hanke visited Phong Dien and Cai Rang floating markets in Can Tho City, considered the heart of the delta - Vietnam's rice basket. The southern city is well-known for its floating markets, picturesque rural canals, and abundant fruit gardens.
"Traveling by boat around the canals to visit floating markets is a unique experience. Life on the river is very exciting and bustling, especially in the early morning," he said.

floating market, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang, daily lives, river life

Cai Rang is located about five kilometers from downtown Can Tho and 30 minutes by boat from Ninh Kieu Wharf, while Hong Dien Market lies about 17 kilometers southeast of the city. From Cai Rang Market, you can rent a boat to go straight to Phong Dien.
In the past, Phong Dien floating market was located at an intersection on Phong Dien River but has since moved 800 meters to Nhon Ai Commune. Its new location helps the market attract more customers, traders and tourists with its great scenery and peaceful waterway ambiance.

floating market, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang, daily lives, river life

From early morning, traders gather to buy fresh vegetables and fruit to resell elsewhere. The most crowded time is from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. when many boats clog the waterway.

floating market, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang, daily lives, river life

Tourists are often surprised to see traders transport fish sauce, dishwashing soap, stockings, gloves, fruits etc. all on one small boat, similar to a mini convenience store.

floating market, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang, daily lives, river life

The market also has many floating eateries serving regional foods.

floating market, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang, daily lives, river life

Without tables and chairs, tourists can enjoy a bowl of noodle soup. From a boat, they could gain a close-up experience of Mekong Delta market life while listening to stories told by traders.

floating market, Mekong Delta, Cai Rang, daily lives, river life

A 40-minute boat ride is the best way to explore life along the waterways as it passes houses built on stilts over the water and boats in a bewildering variety of sizes, shapes and colors docked along the shore.

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