Thursday, September 18, 2014

Characteristics Of Floating Markets In Vietnam

By Kimina (Xuan Tran) - ActiveTravel Asia

Floating market is a original feature of deltas in Mainland Southeast Asia, where has thousands of various-sized  rivers and canals. In Vietnam, floating market is a specific cultural part of the Southwest area. If you tend to explore Mekong delta, you should not skip a cruise to floating markets

The market is held in rivers, among a vast waterway with hundreds of boats, junks and canoes of the residents.

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A floating market in Vietnam
The floating market is held up a whole day, but usually it is 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, it's better as visiting floating markets in early morning.

Boats are loaded fully of goods. Fruits are the most popular kind. The peculiar point of the boats is that on each one, there has several poles. The sellers dangle products which they sell on these poles. Therefore, customers just need to look at the poles, they will know what kinds of merchandise the boat's owner sells, and 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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The residents hang products they sell on poles.
Here are general characteristics of Vietnam floating markets.

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

- Boats, or truly "stores" normally don't have any signs. The Sellers hang products which they sell on poles or lay them at prows; sell oranges hang oranges, sell mangoes hang mangoes, sell coconuts hang coconuts, etc. People call these poles as “cay beo”, which are erected on prows or hang horizontally over boats. 


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"Cay beo" is erected on the prow.
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"Cay beo" is hang horizontally
- 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 was abbreviated as "VL" on this boat
However, there are still three special circumstances:

1. “Hang things which are not for sale.” They are just clothes. The residents of the floating markets commonly live on boats, so their clothes are also hang on boats to be dried in sun.

2. “Things are for sale but not hung.” The boats like this 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, it 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).

Any Mekong delta tour also set an excursion to floating markets for you. You can choose biking around Mekong countryside to discover the cultue and life of South Vietnam.

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