Bac Ha Market in Lao Cai

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Visitors who travel to Sa Pa should not be missed an interesting tour – the Bac Ha fair, a famous highland markets throughout the North West area. About 80km from Sapa, Bac Ha Market is not only the place for buying and selling, but also a place for cultural and sentiment exchanging.


Every Sunday, Bac Ha hosts the biggest fair near the mountainous highlands and the Chinese border. Previously, Bac Ha market took place on a sloping hill, afterwards, the new market was built on a concrete floor and is split sale areas. Therefore, it is partly lost its pristine beauty.

Along the way to Bac Ha Market, visitors will see the high mountains, the deep abysses and the terraced fields; meet ethnic people leading the pack horses to the market. To reach the market, they have to go early; even many people have to go from the previous day to the noon the next day.

Local family on the way to the market

Many different ethnic groups such as Flower H’mong, Phu La, Dao,Tay and Nung minorities gather to buy and sell local products and the requisites for the ethnic people such as: plow, hoe, shovel, knife vegetables, fruits, honey… However, the most attractive products to ethnic women and tourists are jewelry, dresses, shirts, brocade and even the graceful rattan baskets. In the market, you can optionally select Brocade products, be dazzled with the brilliant colors of dresses of Hmong, Red Dao ethnic. Foreign tourists often admire the hand-woven paintings with vivid patterns, harmonic and beautiful color.

At the fair, adventurous gastronomes can try “thang co” porridge, a popular dish of the H’Mong and other local people. People usually sit in groups around a “thang co” soup pan, eating and chatting. Rounding the corner and pungent fumes of alcohol accosted your senses of smell, from corn whiskey, a Bac Ha specialty.

Besides the usual items like pigs, cows, chickens, and ducks, Bac Ha Market also sold Bac Ha dogs. Area where sells horses attracts most men come from remote villages, even those from other provinces such as Bac Giang, Ha Tay…

In the trend of commercializing the highland market today, Bac Ha is one of the rare places still retain the traditional identity, unique features of the old bazaar. People go to Bac Ha market only for buying and selling purpose but also for getting fun. Bac Ha Market in Vietnam finishes around 3 pm.

By Mai Phuong

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