Bac Ha Market
"The visit to the Bac Ha Sunday market was one of the highlights of my trip to Vietnam. It was part of a four day tip to the Sapa area. Not sure who the company was - it was part of the usual Vietnam tour experience where you are shuffled from one guide to the next and everything somehow connects.
The lady's traditional outfits were beautiful with a wide range colours and patterns. The market sold everything from food and cooked food to fabric and cloths to Water buffalo. Our guide said you could buy a good water buffalo for $2000. This was primarily a market for the locals and you were not harassed by those try to sell you stuff. However, once you showed an interest to buy something, everyone wanted to sell to you."
The Bac Ha Market is held every Sunday and is the largest market in the area, where you can admire the population of the ethnic minorities.
In the market you will see the bright colours and extravagant costumes of the locals. Here you will meet Hmong Flower (Blue Hmong), Black Dao, Tay, Nung, La Chi, Phu La and other minority groups. They come from far and wide to buy and to sell some of their liking. There is a wide variety of goods and cattle. They exchange news and renew friendships.
You can reach Bac Ha market by booking a van or a tour from Sapa, then it is about 3 hours to the Bac Ha Market.
It is not just a place to buy and sell, but it's also an opportunity for family members to reunite, after they lost sight of each other a long time. For women it's the place to show their beautiful handmade costume. For young people the chance to look for a date.
On the market are many ethnic suppliers and they had to walk a long distance across mountains and hills. However, the distance has never discouraged them to come every Sunday to the colorful market.
The central square, where the market takes place, is divided into smaller parts, which is specialized in a particular product, such as crafts, food, horses, poultry and blacksmith. Each has its own property and it's worth it to see everything.
In the past the market was a center for the trade in horses, but now that motors have replaced them, it is interesting to see how buffalo, cows, goats, fish and other animals are traded. The market opens around 7:30 and closes mid-afternoon, so an early start is recommended.
The city itself is quite boring for each visitor, but if you want to see something more than Sapa, this is a relaxing place to escape to tourists. Even if you are just fond of taking unique photos, you can come to the market in Bac Ha.
Once the barter, buying and selling is behind us and the day trippers with buses have left the village, the town is quiet again and goes back to bed for the rest of the week.
The road from Sapa is winding and challenging, even after a significant improvement in the road. It's definitely worth it.
From a travelogue:
"But then of course there are the beautiful tribal women selling their handmade bags and clothing. Expect to be surrounded by women saying "buy from me". You just have to jump in and buy. If you walk away they will drop the price. We bought hand bags, pillow cases, stuffed animals and a gorgeous tapestry for our wall. We had lunch at a local restaurant then headed out to a small farming village and tea field near by before making the long drive back to Sapa.
I highly recommend experiencing Bac Ha Market but if you can, stay Saturday night in Bac Ha. See the market early in the morning then head to Sapa. "
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