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The floating market opens up a whole day, but it is usually the most bustling in the morning, when it is cool. The more it turns to noon, the hottest the weather is, the fewer customers are. So you should visit floating markets in early morning. 
Boats are loaded fully of goods. Fruits are the most popular kind of merchandise. The peculiar point of boats is that in each one has several poles. People dangle products which they sell on these poles. Therefore, customers just only look at the poles, they can know whether the boat has things they need or not. By this original marketing way, customers from a far distance can see clearly items.


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Residents hang products they sell on poles. These are general characteristics of Vietnam floating markets. 

- Market is the place where trade and exchange actually local produce of local inhabitants, comprising agricultural products and foodstuff. 

- Stores or boats normally do not have any sign. Sellers hang products which they sell on poles or over prows; sell oranges hang oranges, sell mangoes hang mangoes, sell coconut hang coconut, etc. People call these poles as “cay beo”. These “cay beo” are erected on prows or hang horizontally on boats. 



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"Cay beo" is erected on the prow. 


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"Cay beo" is hang horirzontally - If wanting to know the area which a boat belongs to, just regard into a side of the boat, which is written a province code abbreviated by two first letters. For instance, “Tien Giang” province is written as “TG”.


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Vinh Long province wass abbreviated as "VL" on this boat However, there are still three circumstances: 


1. “Hanging things which are not for sale.” They are just clothes. Residents of the floating market commonly live in boats, so their clothes are also dried in sun on boats.

2. “Things are for sale but not hung.” These boats are food or beverage stalls. That goods cannot be hung.


3.  “Hang one thing but sell another thing.” If you see only a few pineapples hung on a boat, this means that the owner want to sell this boat. So, hang pineapples, but sell the boat.


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Hang pineapples, but sell boats Some famous floating markets you can visit are Cai Be (Tien Giang province), Phung Hiep (Hau Giang province), Chau Doc (An Giang province), Can Tho and Phong Dien (Can Tho city). 


The biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta is the busy market of Phung Hiep. The market open at 4.00 am and are open till 11.00 am. To visit the floating market, you should stay in the Mekong Delta area, wake up early and take one of the boats first hour in the morning. If you do a one day excursion, the market will be already closed by the time you get here. 



On a typical day, you might see coconuts, mangoes, a heap of turtles, a box of snakes or even a pot-bellied pig being paddled from a riverside village to be haggled over in the floating market. Trading begins as early as 4.00 am, and by sunrise, the waterways are clogged with the sampans of marketeers and customers. Vendors of smaller items hoist a sample of their wares on a bamboo pole. Shoppers come by land and water, and as they stumble from boat to boat, they often interrupt their shopping to enjoy bowls of noodles prepared, rather alarmingly, on open fires in special ‘fast food’ sampans.

Cai Be, one of the many well-known floating markets in the western region of southern Vietnam was formed in the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century. The Cai Be Floating Market is always busy, bearing all the characteristics of the locals’ life in the western region. All the goods are transported to the market by rafts and boats.
The floating market lies in the Tien River, adjacent to three provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Ben Tre. The market is divided into two parts: buying and selling places. Rafts boats are anchored along the two sides of the river for kilometres. Approximately 400 to 500 boats filled with fruits, vegetables, and other products are anchored along the banks of the river. The merchandise sold in each boat is hung on a pole in front of the boat to attract customers. From the floating market, goods are shifted for selling at inland markets or small boats take them for delivery along canals in the Plain of Reeds.

From three 3.00 am in the early morning, rafts and boats are crowded because Cai Be is one of the biggest wholesale markets in the region. Traders live on the river and some link their lives with boats like their mobile house for generations. Cai Be seems to be an inseparable part of their daily lives. On each boat, goods are hung on poles that are called dialectically “cay beo”. Hundreds of such poles point the sky wards. Boats also operate like “taxis,” very convenient for tourists around the region. Along the criss crossing canals, people in the Plain of Reeds take not only goods of each countryside to the Cai Be Floating Market but also their unique cultural characteristics, creating such a beautiful river painting.

Any Mekong delta tour also set an excursion to floating markets for you. You can choose biking around Mekong countryside to discover the cultural life of local residents.

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