Vanderlei J. Pollack - Dec 19, 2011

Experiencing different cultures in all their diversity is one of the most fascinating aspects of exploring Asia. What all tourists ought to see there are local wondrous floating markets.

Asia is a proper traveler’s dream. What many visitors tend to miss out during their stay are local bewitching floating markets. Some open so early in the morning not many travelers have the energy to open their eyes and get out of bed.

Floating markets are using intricate systems of canals. These – often artificial – waterways present a crucial part of local infrastructure, so the markets themselves are held in high esteem luring hundreds of merchants who offer their home-made or home-grown produce.

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, Thailand is perhaps one of the most famous ones. The mix of colors is marvelous and a visit there becomes a truly spectacular experience featuring literally hundreds of boats offering an endless variety of meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, spices, and much more. The market dates back to 1967, yet the canals were created in 1866 to help improve the province infrastructure.

Vietnam presents yet another floating marvel – the Cai Rang Floating Market is located some 3 miles form Can Tho City and is the largest market in the Mekong Delta. This one is a slight challenge for those who refuse an early start. The market opens at 5 am and lasts till noon; however, those who brave the brisk start will be rewarded by the magical sunrise over the Mekong Delta.

Indonesian Banjarmasin Floating Market belongs to the early ‘group’ as well, featuring a 5 am start. The Aberdeen Floating Village in Hong Kong will be a slightly different experience. There, an impressive 6,000 residents live on approximately 600 junk boats. The Tanka people have lived there for centuries and their fishing tradition is very well-reputed. Local floating fish restaurants have no equal.

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