Can Tho is the biggest and most prosperous of the cities in the Mekong Delta; its central location has made it a major trading post in the region, attracting farmers from across the delta to come and sell their crops or trade for supplies.
The rivers and waterways of the delta have long acted as canals enabling farmers to cover long distances to get a better price for their produce, and in turn Can Tho has become a relatively wealthy city, with clean, smart streets and a good number of shops.
Nowadays Can Tho is a great place to experience a Vietnamese floating market, as every morning at 5am boats arrive from around the provinces to sell the fruits of their labour. Some boats are houseboats - merchants who buy in one place and sell in another - while others are simple crafts who will have left home long before dawn to trade directly and get a better price for their goods.
Every day the traders will be different and so some mornings the market will be much busier than others . The floating market is some way out of town, but trips to visit it can be organised with any of the ladies who approach you while walking alongside the river in the main town of Can Tho.
This waterfront is a great place to pass the time with a sweet little park by the side of the river, and a number of great restaurants in old villas and shopfronts. There is also a beautiful pagoda built by the
Chinese merchantmen who have long lived in the city.
Can Tho can be reached by bus from Ho Chi Minh City (around 4hrs) or by speedboat - around 2hrs, with one departure a day. Victoria Hotels also offer upmarket speedboat services through the area, though you may pay a premium to do so. Due to its central location connections from Can Tho are great, with buses and boats heading to most destinations around the Mekong Delta.