Market Culture in Ca Mau tourism development

Do not know when Ca Mau people knew about the market culture, perhaps from the ancient times when people came to this land reclaimed land. According to book Gia Dinh Thanh Thong Chi of Trinh Hoai Duc, the land of Ca Mau, which was formed 300 years ago, in Gia Long King period, people know to concentrate on the highlands along Tam Giang, Ong Doc, Bay Hap to clear and cultivate production. By the time of Tu Duc King period, Ca Mau is still deserted, a marshy area of concentrated mangrove trees, mangroves, parrot trees, soil and water contaminated with alum so difficult to cultivate. However, there are still migrants who come to gather, trade and gradually produce. With geographic location typical of the river, the original form of the market is floating market and the main means of transportation is the boat.


That is the reason why many people say about Ca Mau ” The day and the night, boats are uninterrupted “, “The way go to Ca Mau is not difficult, but difficult one is only the river is empty boat.” The market is formed from the elements of river civilized. It was to nourish the life and intellectual of human on the new land.

That has been in the past, today has been different, the modern has covered the land of the South pole of the country. The residential areas, the industrial areas, the road have been planned, developed and expanded. The market also develop “ashore”, and form the modern and crowded market.

Markets in Ca Mau City

You can say, Ca Mau is one of the fastest growing modern cities in the Mekong Delta. After many years of being recognized as urban type III (in 1999), then type II (in 2010), Ca Mau city has developed directions and changes rapidly to become a city in the economic region of the Mekong Delta. Coming to Ca Mau city, visitor can go to the modern entertainment destinations and also have the opportunity to go shopping in the big markets such as  ward 4, ward 2,  ward 7 and night markets.

According to the Ca Mau people, the market of ward 2 which is a “rich market” because the goods are sold in the market often quality and price higher than other markets. When visitors go to the market of ward 2, you can see the truth about the words “rich”, the goods are almost displayed neatly and eye-catching, everything seems to be polished. The buyer also seems very satisfied with price and quality goods.

The  ward 4 of market market is known as the countryside market, it is one of the most crowded market in Ca Mau. At the peak time, people often rathered to purchase , buy and find the folk food easily and conveniently. Or rather, this is the right market for people to walk, freedom of choice, free of bargain and find the necessary goods as a daily routine.

Văn-hóa-chợ-trong-phát-triển-du-lịch-Cà-Mau-anh-2-768x460Many kinds of fruits from the downstream to the upstream to Ca Mau

If the markets in ward 2 and ward 4 are crowded markets, most of the goods are served mainly for local people, the market in ward 7 which is a wholesale market to focuse on many goods and agricultural products. Food from the other provinces are focused on distribution to the market in Cà Mau. In addition, a part of the market is planned to develop to a night market, so the market is full of products from the special features products of Ca Mau (U Minh honey, bon bon pickle, dried shrimp, salted three-strip crab, dried gourami fish, shrimp, fresh seafood, etc.) to traditional snacks and street food. Formerly, market in ward 7 was known as the floating market, boats were anchored crowded. Now the density of boats are sparse but it still retain the characteristics sale of a half water. Therefore, the cultural space of the market is extremely special, with the romantic river – Van river, tourists can visit and go shopping comfortably.

There is a kind of market culture is often called by Ca Mau people with a name is “squat” or the field market. This is a spontaneous market of local people to connect with the chain of large markets. Squat market sell everything themselves such as self-produced, self-cultivation in the suburban area. No fixed position for them, whoever comes first will select the favorable location. Here, you can buy a bunch of green vegetables, some banana, tangle of small fish, some shrimp, snakeheads or catfishs … without worrying about price and quality. Most of the things come from home-grown plants, which are cultivated by the hard famers.

General characteristics of the markets in Ca Mau city are all food outlets serving many dishes such as noodle soups, noodles, chili silkworm cake, rice plate, wet cake, porridge, vegetarian food, …; and snacks such as seaweed, dairy cakes, tofu, , milk tea, cam cake, cong cake, … The price is affordable. Lets spend a moment your time to the shopping space of Ca Mau markets, you will be extremely satisfied with the products that they buy to be gifts for relatives and friends.

The riversides market, coastal market in Ca Mau province

Ca Mau Province has 3 sides which ajoining the sea so the river system and it is divided into two groups of rivers flowing into the Western Sea and East Sea with a total length of over 7,000 kilometers, the average of density is 1.34 km/ km2 and has formed the special culture of Ca Mau people. The main feature of the river culture in Ca Mau is the people who meet toghether in the river crossing and coastal towns.

Ca Mau people usually meet market in the river crossings that  have many crowded boats, many people live and have formed the market. At first, The markets were sparse and gradually crowded with all kinds of goods, agricultural food to serve for daily life.

In addition, Ca Mau also forms coastal markets. These markets had been formed for a long time, when the first Vietnamese came to form the village and had started the market. At first, it was only a small market to sale seafood from the fishing vessels. Then, the fishing vessels from the other provinces go along the West sea fishing ground to there catching and selling fishing in a convenient way that facilitated the market to be expanded and trade with larger scale. Ca Mau has coastal markets such as Song Doc, Huong Mai, Khanh Hoi, Rach Gia, Rach Tau, Vam Dam, Tam Tam Giang, …that are a gathering place for boats anchoring, necessary goods to be reserving for the trip.

Most crowding is the Song Doc market that belong to Tran Van Thoi district. The market is located 50 kilometers direct to the south from center of Ca Mau city, that is one of three major coastal cities of Ca Mau province. It is busy seaside town and the harbor that is the most concentrated boat in the Mekong Delta. The name is Mr. Doc is derived from the story that anecdote Admiral Huynh disguised as Gia Long King to save king and sacrific on this river. To commemorate and acknowledge his gratitude, the name of the river is called by Ong Doc’s name. Initially, the market was mainly a gathering place for sea-going ships. They sale seafood and bought more goods and other necessities. Going here, visitors can buy fresh seafood and kinds of dry seafood. Tourists can see the platforms of dried fish platforms that stretch the headlines are in the scene of calm and peace labor.

In addition, the market is formed in the riverside areas such as Vam Cai Tau market, Rach Cui market, Tac Thu market, Tan Tien market … that is favorable for people go to the market by waterway.

The most common feature of riverside and coastal markets are that people can curculate by means of waterways. That is the cultural life of the people of Ca Mau from many years ago. In the process of forming a market, nobody can forget the positive contributions of the small market stalls on the river (boats for sale everythings) that tourists to Ca Mau feel surprised, interested and set it for a very unique name “drifting market”. Whether that is drifting markets, floating markets or other forms of markets, the river element has created different colors for the markets in Ca Mau.

In the development trend of modern society, although these are the ordinary markets or the modern market that always occupy an indispensable important position for the life of the people in Ca Mau. The development of the markets has a practical significance in promoting the Ca Mau tourism development strongly. Through cultural activities, shopping at the market will contribute to diversify the tourism products of the local.

Tourists go to Ca Mau whom visit to the bustling market, full sun and wind coastal markets, the warm riverside market and the sparkling and brightly night market. Thus, tourists will feel the friendly hospitality of each small traders in the market as well as the richness and generosity of the products that nature has given to land and people in Ca Mau Cape.

By: Duong Kim Chuyen

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