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Phong Dien Floating Market: How to Visit & Insider Tips

April 5, 2024
7 Min Read
A woman sits on her boat at Phong Dien floating market in Vietnam
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Phong Dien Floating Market: How to Visit & Insider Tips
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April 5, 2024
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Are you in search of a more authentic floating market experience in the Mekong Delta?

Then, the Phong Dien floating market in Can Tho is for you!

Unlike the popular Cai Rang, Phong Dien offers a more traditional and intimate experience of the Mekong Delta. Additionally, you can enjoy the surrounding waterways of Phong Dien, as they are less touristy and provide a peaceful atmosphere to explore the countryside.

Find out the best way to visit the Phong Dien floating market in this complete guide. We’ve included everything you need to know, including the market hours, the best tours to book, how to visit on your own, and our first-hand experience!

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Overview of Phong Dien Floating Market

The Phong Dien floating market is located about 15 km from the Cai Rang floating market and about 17 km from the Ninh Kieu Wharf in Can Tho.

It is much smaller in size compared to the Cai Rang floating market but it’s more authentic. Since the market is located on a narrow river, you’ll see smaller wooden boats trading with each other. The market is also less frequented by tourists.

A smiling woman wearing a traditional hat as she rows on her sampan boat in Phong Dien market.
A few wooden boats with fresh produce tangled together with locals chatting

Phong Dien Floating Market Hours

The Phong Dien floating market is held daily from around 5am to 8am. The earlier you visit, the better as most boats gather early in the morning. To make sure you see the most of the market, we recommend visiting at least before 7am.

Early morning trading in the Phong Dien Floating market in Can Tho

What to Expect at Phong Dien Floating Market

During our visit to the Phong Dien floating market, we booked a private tour from Can Tho. The tour included a boat trip from Ninh Kieu Wharf to Phong Dien floating market, breakfast, a boat ride through small waterways and multiple stops in the area. 

A woman on a sampan boat rowing in Phong Dien Floating Market in Vietnam

Our Experience

We met our guide in front of the hotel at 4am. Our hotel is located in the center, so it only took a short walk to reach Ninh Kieu Wharf. The wharf was eerily quiet at this time of day.

Most of the tours leaving from here head to the Cai Rang floating market, located only 2 km from the wharf, around 5am. However, the Phong Dien market is located 17 km up the river, requiring an even earlier departure. 

A woman standing next to her bicycle on board a small boat

After a short while, an amiable man on a wooden sampan boat approached us, gesturing to hop into his boat. He would be our boat driver for the day. 

From Can Tho, it took us 2 hours to reach the Phong Dien floating market. The ride was long, uncomfortable, and boring at times. We wanted to get to the market before sunrise, which meant that we had to traverse 17 kilometers of river in the dark. There was not much to see, but luckily, we were accompanied by a guide who spoke English.

A floating house in Can Tho, Mekong Delta Vietnam

Then, just as the sun started to rise, the market appeared in the distance. A small bridge across the river, with a dozen small boats floating beneath it. The sun rays reflecting off the water, the silhouettes of boats and the laughter of vendors made for a magical scene. 

A woman wearing Nonla on board a wooden boat is preparing noodles in Phong Dien

As we approached the market, we were greeted by a woman selling delicious bowls of Hieu Tieu, a famous dish in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. As we enjoyed our breakfast, we observed the scene. It soon became clear that this market was more of a meeting spot rather than an actual market. Sure, there was some trading going on, but we mainly saw men and women enjoying their coffee and sharing conversations with each other. 

Wooden boats tangled next to each other in Phong Dien floating market

After finishing our breakfast, we headed to shore to observe the market from the nearby bridge. While watching the gathering from above, we realized how small the market actually was. It was really just a couple of boats meeting at the river bank. However, it seems bigger once you're on the water and surrounded by these boats. 

A man and a woman on board a small wooden boat in the Mekong Delta

Phong Dien Floating Market Tours

If you’re staying in Can Tho, the most convenient way is to take a local tour that visits the Phong Dien floating market. During our visit, we booked with Toby, a local tour guide, who arranged everything for us.

To book your tour to the Phong Dien floating market, contact Toby at +84 94951 6556‬.

Wooden boats next to each other in Phong Dien Floating Market, Can Tho
Vendors in Phong Dien Floating Market chatting together on board their wooden boats

We highly recommend organizing with your tour company to take a car directly to the market in the morning. This way, you’ll have a more comfortable ride instead of sitting on a wooden boat in the dark for two hours.

Once you reach the bridge, you can view the market from above and then take the sampan boat to experience the floating market up close. Continue your tour to the smaller waterways, visit the local fruit gardens, and take the long boat ride back to Can Tho wharf.

An elderly woman sitting at the front of her sampan boat in Phong Dien floating market

Want to visit Phong Dien and Cai Rang floating market at once? Book this highly rated tour! The tour starts at 5am and picks you up at your hotel. It is also possible to book a tour leaving from Ho Chi Minh City, but we don’t recommend it as you’ll have to leave around 2am.

Visit Phong Dien Floating Market On Your Own

Getting to the Phong Dien floating market is straightforward. If you’re only interested in seeing the market up close, you can rent a motorbike and drive to the bridge on your own.

A woman rowing her wooden boat with fresh produce at the Phong Dien floating market

Here is the exact location on google maps. While it’s possible to visit on your own, it might be challenging to find a boat to take you closer to the floating market.

During our visit, we didn’t see any local rowers taking tourists from the shore to the market as most of them were local traders and a few private tours.

Looking for more off-the-beaten destinations in the Mekong Delta Region? Explore the impressive temples dotted across An Giang Province, as well as the pagodas situated on Sam Mountain, which offer sweeping views of the region.

Vendors at the Phong Dien floating market hanging around the morning

Where to Stay near Phong Dien Floating Market

It’s also possible to stay closer to the market so you won’t have to make the long drive to Phong Dien. Here are the most popular places to stay near the market you can book.

Is the Phong Dien Floating Market Worth Visiting?

The Phong Dien floating market is a refreshing sight compared to the more popular Cai Rang floating market. The combination of being on the water and the quietness of the area makes visiting the market a great escape from bustling city life. 

A local vendor rowing her sampan boat in Phong Dien floating market

However, you have to keep in mind that the floating markets in Vietnam are not what they used to be. The region has developed and most houses are now accessible by road making trading on water unnecessary. Therefore, the Phong Dien market serves more as a meeting place for locals than an actual market. 

Vendors trading their fresh produce at the Phong Dien floating market in Can Tho

It's also worth noting that the photos you find online are misleading of the current situation. The market is rather small, with only a dozen or so boats. This, however, gives it an authentic and peaceful appearance. 

If you decide to visit the market, make sure to arrange your tour properly. The Phong Dien floating market is worth a visit, but only if you don’t have to sit on a wooden sampan boat for 2 hours to get there.

Where to Next?
My Tho
Women wearing a conical hat on sampan boats in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Vi Thanh
Woman sell goods at a market in Vietnam
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Whether you choose guided tours or prefer to explore independently, we hope you experience a memorable visit at the Phong Dien floating market.

If you're interested in visiting more floating markets, you can visit the Long Xuyen floating market, which is about 62 km away from Can Tho.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Some links in this Phong Dien floating market guide may be affiliate links.

This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please know that by doing so, you are supporting Colorful Journeys in continuing to provide free high quality content to help you in your travels!

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