Mekong. Floating Markets | Culture – Planet Doc Full Documentaries

Our journey along the Mekong is coming to an end. Before flowing into the China Sea, in Vietnam, the river forms an extensive and complex delta, known as The Nine Dragons. A network of 5,000 kilometres of natural and artificial canals carries the waters to the rice fields. Rice is the most important crop in Vietnam, and provides a living for 70% of the population. Each hectare of land produces 8 tonnes of rice a year. All land belongs to the government, which leases it to the peasants, who work it. In exchange, they have to give 10% of the harvest. The success of the harvest depends on the summer monsoons. If these do not come, the level of the river falls so much that the seawater invades the rice fields, destroying the crop and causing starvation. Cantho is the largest city in the delta. It’s small in size, but with a large population. It’s five in the morning, and in one corner of the market, the Lee family runs a flourishing fish business. Hue is thirty years old, and she is responsible for organising the sale of the merchandise every morning. Her biggest customer is the government itself, which in turn, sells to the restaurants and the workers in the state factories. Along with her, another fifteen members of the family help to unload, classify and clean the fish. The market in Cantho is an example of the rich gastronomy of Vietnam. Over five hundred different dishes, but all of them served with rice. The Vietnamese boast that they eat everything that flies, except the airplanes, everything that swims, except the boats, and everything with legs, except the tables. And they’re not far wrong some market stalls sell delicacies which would turn the stomach of most westerners. Vietnamese markets are also a good place to witness the ingenious ways in which people earn a living, and the ear cleaners, a job with a long, venerable tradition, is a good example. Eight o’clock in the morning, and the Lee’s are still busy at work. They transport the fish in primitive fish-farming boats. One of the Hue brothers, and his eldest son, Dhan, who’s twelve years old, are responsible for unloading. All types of boats come to the market to buy and sell many different things in the numerous floating markets around the delta. Most people live in small villages, and never very far from the water, which is their only means of transport. There are some roads in the delta, built by the French when they colonised this country, and the Americans during the war. Most road transport depends on the ferries, but travelling this way is not easy. Because of lack of space, the farmers lay out the rice to dry along the roads, making it very difficult for traffic. So, the Mekong has become the only real way to transport goods. The small boats, in turn, supply the much larger ones, which travel to the most remote villages of the delta. It’s nine o’clock in the morning, and in the floating market of Phong Dien, a few kilometres to the south of Cantho, it’s almost impossible to move. At times, it’s difficult to know where the land ends and the water begins. The delta was, until the eighteenth century, part of the Khmer Kingdom of neighbouring Cambodia, and was the last region to be annexed by Vietnam. The Cambodians have not forgotten this territory, which still today they call Lower Cambodia. It is one more reason for the mutual hatred between the two countries. Like the river, the streets of Cantho are bustling with people. We mustn’t forget that 77 million people live in Vietnam, with a population density of 230 inhabitants per square kilometre. Around ten o’clock in the morning, the Lee family gets ready to return home. Today they have sold fish worth ,405$ an absolute fortune if we consider that the average salary of a civil servant is not even 30$ a month. They are a typical upper middle class family, with annual net income of almost a 5400$. The Lees live quarter of an hour from the market, on the other side of the main branch of the Mekong, in a group of floating houses. Their life revolves around the water and fishing so much so that Tuang, the grandfather, spends his spare time trying to catch the odd little fish. As soon as they get back, the women have to take care of the children, while the men prepare the fish for the next day. The technique they use to breed and store the fish is very simple, but very effective. The fish are kept inside cages underneath the houses, and all they have to do to catch them is lift the trap doors in the floor, and put down a net. The current of the river constantly renews the water inside the cages. Then, the fish are taken to the fish–farming boat, where they are sorted by size. The smallest are returned to the cages. In another room, Na Trang prepares the food for the fish, a paste made with flour and dried fish. ThenuDanh, Hue’s son, and his cousin distribute it through the cages. As soon as they have finished feeding the fish, Danh goes off to school. At twelve o’clock, all activity stops. It’s time for lunch. Normally, the women and children eat first, in a separate room. For the Lee family, lunch is almost a sacred ceremony, especially for the men. This is the only time in the day they can relax and chat. Surrounded by a delicious variety of dishes of rice, vegetables and fish, they start eating, all the time laughing and discussing their favourite subject, the family business, the atmosphere helped by the rice liquor. The women, in the background, make sure they have everything they need. Soon, it will be night again, and little by little the inhabitants of the Mekong delta return to their homes. Danh and his friends spend the last hours of the day watching television. Tomorrow, they will again have to get up at four o’clock in the morning to help their mother in the market, then return home to feed the fish, before rushing off to school. But Danh doesn’t mind, he well knows that, in a few years this flourishing business will be his.

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100 thoughts on “Mekong. Floating Markets | Culture – Planet Doc Full Documentaries

  1. Ideal way of life except for all those dams China, Laos, Thailand, & Cambodia are building upstream. The Vietnamese don't have and don't seem to want any friends.

  2. This is cool living as long they keep them places and rivers clean..and have finer things like better products,equipments..better foundation to fix things build things..make them things looking good easy for them to live and go places.

  3. Love this video Those people are healthier than most of us Americans eat and straight out of the water first fish every day and vegetables they don’t have all the necessities we have but at least they are a living comfortable

  4. Thank you very much for the information about the life of the floating markets people's.
    Best wishes from Bangladesh!

  5. Comment from London, real hard working men and women & children. Working within a clear division of labor, and successfully for the same goal, the family livehood. The rush hour is truly amazing to watch. Not like London Liverpool Street at 8am. Truly inspiring people & documentary
    .thank you

  6. If I have money I will turn Sahara desert into a new country so Vietnamese could come to live because Vietnam is so crowded,I will install solar panels and create artificial rain by using silver iodine for seething cloud and build desalination plants !

  7. I wish I had been Asian. Chinese, Japanese or Korean. Of the three, any would be great. They are the most magnificent of the Asians.

  8. This reminds me back to the Vietnam war. I was in the US army a ranger stationed in a small hamlet on the Mekong river Tan Than with Vietnamese Rangers. Everyday a boat would come by with fruits, veggies and dead animals to sell us. There we 11 Americans and 52 Vietnamese, I loved eating watermelons, leeches, pineapples, small bananas, mangos,wild boar, once even bought a water buffalo for 55 dollars for a barbecue. Did a lot of business with the floating boat stores. Yeah also many mixed fish and snakes traded for cigarettes and canned food.

  9. They are very industrious people working hard all day. And at night eating. Talking laughing and then sleeping. They work hard not lazy as some Americans here in USA But my grandfather and grandma worked hard as our mom and dad. Us girls worked hard too in the late 50's 60's in the summer before school again.Thanks

  10. you should do a documentary about this :

  11. They are over fishing in Mekong Hardly any fish left on top o building new dame there will be nothing left for the next generations.

  12. That's the best parts of Asia fresh food, fresh vegetables every morning, fresh fish and not expensive. Only Japan is expensive

  13. 3:55 the ear cleaner said "I remove dirt, wax collected in the ear" However, the subtitle is totally different and aimed at enhancing the video….fake subtitles….lol

  14. Who wants to buy food with ashes all over it. Did you see the guy with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth catching the cabbage.

  15. Every where in Asia foods is no problem, a lot of vegetables, a lot of fish's and then very cheap with 1-2 dollars you can buy a lot of vegetables

  16. 红色社会主义弱势群体的生活场景,正在受到全世界善良人们的关注······!——范仲淹同志《七绝》:江上往来人,但爱鲈鱼美;君看一叶舟,出没风波里!!!!

  17. 信仰《马克尸主义》的可悲下场·······!红色越南统治下的劳动人民,永远挣扎在生死线上!!!!极权阶级们永远当官做老爷,骑在人们头上作威作福!!!——其红色四代既得利益狗崽子们永远是:尸位素餐,衣架饭袋!!肠肥脑满;灯红酒绿的寄生虫!!!

  18. Beautiful country they very poor people work very hard worst work is the people who is planting rice people should not wast rice just think how hard for those poor to plant them I always eat the last grin thinking of the poor people have the worst job planting them thank you. God. Bless you all

  19. I always like watching these hard working people. I wonder what they are doing now. May God Bless.💒🐬🌏

  20. My family worked hard. Grandparents parents Us girl when we were growing up and on the farm. And driving tractor and picking beans strawberries etc in the late 50's 60's. But there are lazy people here. Teenagers too.

  21. This is such a beautiful documentary. I've booked my trip to Vietnam November this year and will be sure to travel to the Mekong Delta

  22. สวัวดีจ้ะสวัสดีชอบมากจ้ะขอบคุณผู้ทำคลิปนี้ที่ไดรู้ได้เห็นโลกทัศน์กว้างไกลไปถึง เวียตนาม ที่มี การค้าขายที่ น่าสนุกทุกที่ๆมีคลิปให้ได้เห็นได้ชมได้รู้ น่าจะมีแปรเป็นภาษาไทยบ้างเนาะคนทำคลิปที่เคารพรัก แปรภาษาไทยให้ได้อ่านด้วยได้ใหมจ๊ะ

  23. This area has not changed in the 50 years since I was there. Not like the cities, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, Wow! I would not recognize them…

  24. haii..i am from brunei..rice is very important for us..the rice from 2 camodia and vietnam was suppty from the 2 countries….thnks camodia and vietnam.👍

  25. All the people who live in the river discard trashes and human wastes back to the river. Anywhere in the world, not just Mekong.

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