Bartering From A Boat In The Mekong Delta

One of the most exciting and unique markets I’ve ever visited was the floating market in the Mekong Delta during my backpacking trip to Vietnam.

Floating Market Mekong Delta

Traffic jam on the Mekong River

In fact, Vietnam was our previous Destination of the Month. You can see the full itinerary of the month-long backpacking trip here.

But our current Destination of the Month at InMyShoesTravel.com is Markets of the World. We are journeying all over the world to experience destinations through their markets. And here is one of the most exotic…

Floating Market in the Mekong Delta

We went to the floating market on the second day of our Mekong Delta Tour.

Our guide met us at 0800 at our hotel in Can Tho, where we’d spent the night, to walk us down to the river where we would embark on a boat trip down the river to the floating market.

Where to Eat in Can Tho: A Night to Remember

As we arrived at the embarkation point for the boats we saw where we had eaten the previous night. It looked totally different now with no tables or chairs, no delicious smells and not even a trace of the tent-like structure that had been the make-shift kitchen the previous night.

In fact if we hadn’t known that we had actually eaten here we would never have realised that there had been a restaurant here the night before.

Down the Mekong River

We boarded a fairly small boat just for our group and headed off down the river. After about 40 minutes of navigating down the Mekong, we started to see many more boats: great big ugly things with many local people onboard, some with crates of produce on deck and some with washing lines with clothes hanging out to dry.

Smaller rowing boats were weaving in and out of the big boats and goods were exchanged from one boat to another – these people were all obviously trading with one another.

We had arrived at the floating market.

Our guide told us that people actually lived on the bigger boats and that it was indeed their washing line where we’d seen clothes hanging. They sleep in cabins and trade on the deck; they anchor where they need to.

Floating Market in Full Flow

Some small boats approached our boat and people tried to sell us fruit. Then a boat, which must have been the bar, came and we were all served coffee!

Floating Market Mekong Delta

Coffee anyone?

We weaved in and out of the market, watching the local traders go about their daily life.

The guide showed us how each boat advertises its wares: they tie whatever they are selling to a vertical bamboo pole and make a flag with the fruit, veg or whatever it is they are selling. That way someone selling mangoes doesn’t waste time approaching another boat waving the mango flag.

Mekong Delta Floating Market

Flags flying high and washing getting dry on the Mekong Delta

We stopped at a boat selling pineapple which we were able to board and they sliced some up for us.

Mekong Delta Floating Market

Our guide offering us pineapple

We spent the whole morning on the river in this way and it was fascinating; one of the most unique markets I’ve ever been to.

You can see more photos from the Mekong Delta Floating Market and from the whole two days in the Mekong Delta here: Mekong Delta Photo Tour.

Filed Under: asiacruisesfeaturedMarketsMekong Deltavietnam

About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....

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