"We loved visiting Phong Dien, especially with our Ecotours guide who made the whole thing come alive. It is only a small market but the thing that makes it special is the fact that the boats are non-motorised and, if you go in a sampan, you can get right in amongst the boats and buy if you want to. The women who navigate the boats around are really skilled and it is a wonderful experience to be amongst the authentic activity."
The floating market Phong Dien
Phong Dien Floating Market - is one of the most outstanding floating markets in the Mekong Delta. This market is the only one in the Mekong Delta, which is open from sunrise to sunset. The products, which are sold at the Phong Dien Floating Market, are diverse and plentiful. Phnong Dien is one of the seven floating markets in the Mekong Delta.
The market is 20 kilometers southwest of Can Tho and is at its busiest from 05:00 to 07:00. Many tour operators Can tho offer an excursion, visiting the floating markets of Cai Rang and Phong Dien. After those visits you go back on the backwaters. This tour takes about 6 hours.
It is in the Mekong Delta the most bustling and most intimate floating market. The reason is that there are fewer motorized boats and more the vendors are stand-up rowing. Locals come here for shopping and to exchange gossip. The floating market is a meeting point of three rivers, where the Can Tho River separates from the Hau River.
In contrast with the Cai Rang Floating this Market of Phong Dien sells not only agricultural products, but also other things. There are also boats on the market with all sorts of household items, or boats with roof plates, knives, hoes, machetes and fishing tools (such as fishing nets), woven baskets and all kinds of domestic and foreign products.
In addition, people are selling at the market much food like: noodle soup, noodles with roasted meat, rice soup, Hu Tieu, coffee, and the like. There are boats situated on the banks of the river dozens at anchor. They are ready to sail tourists to the floating market. The owners of the boats are often the locals, who are therefore very suitable as a guide.
Fruit for sale
Currently, new services are being offered on the market. There is a floating gas station with a capacity of several thousand liters for motorized vessels. There is also a machine repair "shops", a tailor with quick service for customers ...
In general, all products that are offered on the domestic market, are also offered at the floating market. There is plenty of food for customers, who are sailing on the river. In this market, large boats and small boats go anywhere to anchor for exchanging their goods, while a "ghe" (a smaller boat) is used for selling fruits and juice to tourists.
A bamboo pole, at the front of the boat, hangs the items which they are selling. This is unique to the floating markets and therefore there's no need to call or advertise their product. You need only to look at the stick and you know what they are selling.
Floating Cai Rang market closes around 09.00, while the market in Phong Dien remains open for trading until the afternoon. Not only agricultural, but also household items and tools. When you're visiting the floating market of Cai Rang for the first time, you still have time to visit the market in Phong Dien
Melons, melons .....
"The trip on the Mekong is an experience in itself. We passed three floating filling stations complete with petrol pumps & forecourt dogs. The market itself demonstrates how people adapt to suit their environment. Basically the wholesalers (growers in most cases) bring their produce to the market in the middle of the Mekong River.
To advertise their wares they tie a sample to along pole and hoist it above the boat. The intermediaries arrive in their somewhat smaller boats and bulk buy whatever they think will sell. They then disperse around the delta and sell on to market traders and shops, everybody gets fresh produce and the opportunity to make a buck or two, well worth the trip."