Bac Ha is a rural district and a border with China, located about 76 km from Lao Cai city.
Traveling is not only about sightseeing but also learning about new cultures. If you are the kind of exploring travelers, then Bac Ha Market is definitely your must-go checkpoint when visiting Sapa. Held only every Sunday, Bac Ha Market is the biggest market of minority people in Northwest Vietnam. However, the distinctive market is famous for its primitive characteristics of traditional trading culture between different minority groups, especially H’Mong and Dao people.
Bac Ha Market
It takes about 2 hours or more to travel from Sapa town to Bac Ha Market. Along the way, tourists are exposed to amazing landscapes of wide rice paddle fields and greenery. Arriving at the market, bright colored and extravagant costumes of local people will take over the green view before. Here you will meet the Red H’Mong, Black H’Mong, Black Dao, Tay, Nung, La Chi, Phu La, and other minority groups. Just like an unskippable date, these ethnic locals come from different locations every Sunday, some are pretty far from the market, not only to trade goods but also to exchange news and renew friendship.
Bac Ha Market is bursting with vibrant colors, from the trading goods to their traditional ethnic outfits. As crowded and busy as it is, there is no uncomfortable invitation with insistence to buy their goods towards anyone, including tourists. A wide variety of goods and livestock are sold, which encourages tourists to wander the whole market to explore and get some souvenirs. In the present day, motorbike trading has replaced horse-trading, which is a simple sign of development. Buffalo, cows, goats, fish, and other livestock are also traded in the area. You can expect the busiest ethnic market that you have ever visited.
Visiting Bac Ha Market without trying Thang Co – H’Mong’s famous traditional dish made from horse meat is incomplete. Locals usually eat Thang Co while drinking wine for the best taste. The very particular taste of well-cooked horse meat dipped in special seasoning from herbs will undoubtedly surprise your sense.
The market is opened at an early hour in the morning and closed at 3 pm on Sunday. You would need to start your trip sooner than normal to attend the whole market tour (because it takes 2-3 hours from Sapa town to reach the market). Travelers can reach Bac Ha Market themselves by motorbikes or book a full day tour for other nearby attractions and interesting information provided. The tour guides or some locals can help you choose a good place for lunch in the market. If you are riding on your own, make sure you pay enough attention to the stiff zigzag roads.
You can book the Bac Ha Market tour at Sapa with Bac Ha Market 2 days