Cai Be (Photo:akachai/Shutterstock)
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Cai Be

Located on a tributary of Vietnam's Mekong River, Cai Be gained "fame" for its bustling floating market, where hundreds of traders once bought and sold a variety of goods from stationary boats. The market dates back to the 17th century, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for the locals), the improvement of Vietnam's infrastructure means the market is no longer a necessity for those looking to buy and sell wares. The government keeps the market afloat for the benefit of tourists through incentives for traders and local farmers, but what was once bustling would now be better described as sleepy.

But you'll still get a glimpse of life along the Mekong as you sail on small wooden boats called sampans past homes situated right on the water. Along the way, you'll stop at tourist attractions that include artisan workshops and homes of wealthy merchants.

Sampans are the only way to not only get around Cai Be but also get from your riverboat to points of interest, as your ship will moor in the river. Your river cruise operator will arrange all tours and transport; there is no opportunity for independent exploration.

About Cai Be


Pro

Stops here offer insights into how important rice is to the Vietnamese culture

Con

The floating market is only a tiny remnant of what it once was

Bottom Line

Works best as an introductory port when starting your cruise in Vietnam


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Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The official currency in Vietnam is the dong. You'll want to have dong in hand by the time you get to Cai Be or exchange money on your riverboat as there is nowhere to get money during your tour. Street vendors, including those with a small table of handmade items or kids and women selling items like straw hats, postcards or bookmarks, accept dollars.

Language

The official language in Vietnam is Vietnamese, though street vendors will understand enough English to try and sell you something.


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