Cai Be, one of the many well-known floating markets in the western region of southern Vietnam was formed in the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century. The Cai Be Floating Market is always busy, bearing all the characteristics of the locals’ life in the western region. All the goods are transported to the market by rafts and boats.
The floating market lies in the Tien River, adjacent to three provinces of Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Ben Tre. The market is divided into two parts: buying and selling places. Rafts Phung Hiep Floating Market and boats are anchored along the two sides of the river for kilometres. Approximately 400 to 500 boats filled with fruits, vegetables, and other products are anchored along the banks of the river. The merchandise sold in each boat is hung on a pole in front of the boat to attract customers. From the floating market, goods are shifted for selling at inland markets or small boats take them for delivery along canals in the Plain of Reeds.
From three 3.00 am in the early morning, rafts and boats are crowded because Cai Be is one of the biggest wholesale markets in the region. Traders live on the river and some link their lives with boats like their mobile house for generations. Cai Be seems to be an inseparable part of their daily lives. On each boat, goods are hung on poles that are called dialectically “cay beo”. Hundreds of such poles point the sky wards. Boats also operate like “taxis,” very convenient for tourists around the region. Along the criss crossing canals, people in the Plain of Reeds take not only goods of each countryside to the Cai Be Floating Market but also their unique cultural characteristics, creating such a beautiful river painting.