Get up early
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th September, 2018
Many towns in the Mekong Delta have their own floating market, and Chau Doc is no exception, with a daily market on the waters of the Bassac River running through the very early morning.
If you’ve already seen Can Tho’s floating market, Chau Doc’s affair will seem a little small, but it is nevertheless interesting and don’t expect there to be anything like the volume of tourists you see at the Can Tho market—we were the only foreign tourist the day we visited.
This is a wholesale market—fresh fruit (especially watermelons on the day we visited), sweet potato, mountain loads of garlic (of Chinese origin) and all manner of other fresh produce will be seen. The boats generally lay at anchor in the speeding waters and hoist an example of what they are bearing at the prow so buyers know where to head. Smaller buying boats dart between, tying up alongside to make the deal. Smaller-still sampans dash around offering hot coffee and steaming bowls of bun ca.
This really is just like a visit to Can Tho’s market—just smaller. As with most floating markets, it gets going very early—generally between 5am and 6am and by 8am will be dwindling, so get up early and aim to be on the water by 6:30—the morning light will be great then for photos.
Being a floating market, you will need to get onto the water to best appreciate it. You could feasibly watch it from the shore, but we do recommend getting onto the water. This is most easily done by doing a tour, and a visit to the floating market is generally packaged with a trip to the Cham village, some moderately interesting fish farms, and, if you are interested, a crocodile farm.
We used Mr Long of Hoa Sen Tours and he charges $18 for one or two people for what works out to be about a three hour excursion. Perhaps a bit pricey for a single traveller, but quite reasonable value for a couple. Mr Long speaks good though heavily accented English and we found him to be a very thorough guide. He and his wife can also arrange tours to Sam Mountain, Tra Su and other points of interest around Chau Doc. Their small hole in the wall agency doubles as a second hand English and French book store and is worth dropping by at even if you are not planning to do a tour.
If you just want to see the market from the water and don’t want a guide, we were quoted 250,000 dong for an hour on the water from a boatman hanging out at the gate on 30 Thang 4 park, so you could do this approach—we did feel though that Mr Long was worth the extra money.
Mr Long (Hoa Sen Tours): 14 Nguyen Huu Canh, Chau Doc T: (076) 386 7817; (0913) 777 978 firstname.lastname@example.org $18 for 1 or 2 people.
Address: On the Bassac River a little to the east of Chau Doc town
Coordinates (for GPS): 105º8'24.92" E, 10º42'18.81" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Organised tour from $18 for two people
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.