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Whenever coming to Lao Cai and Sa Pa, Bac Ha Market is a famous destination for not only Vietnamese travellers but also foreign tourists. You will never understand the charms of Bac Ha Market if you don’t drink bowls of corn wine, have fragrant rice wine, or taste the savour bitter of the ventricular tea. All of them have created various colourful features that visitors only can find in Bac Ha Market.
Let’s discover more about these attractive charms of Bac Ha in the following article.
All you need to know about visiting Bac Ha Market, Sapa
Bac Ha Market is one of the largest highland markets in Vietnam. It is usually open on Sunday morning (6:00 AM to 3:00 PM) in Bac Ha town, Bac Ha district, Lao Cai province.
The market is not only a place for exchanging and trading goods but also a meeting place for local ethnic minorities in the region as well as ethnic people in the surrounding areas.
Every Sunday morning, many groups of people come together to Bac Ha town and join in the market. The fair shopping has become a culture with various charming characteristics of the Northwest highland people.
From the overhead view, with many beautiful ethnic women dresses which are in harmony with the fresh colour of the market stalls and numerous kinds of goods, Bac Ha Market is like a fantastic colourful flower garden. For the first time, Bac Ha Market was divided into small and different types of sub-markets such as brocade market, food market, horse market, poultry market, bird market, veggies market, wine market or blacksmith market.
Later, the market was newly built on concrete ground and divided into 4 main areas including the cattle-selling area (selling horses, buffaloes, cows, etc.); the grocery area (selling knives, hoes, shovels, etc.); the area selling brocade, wool, cloth, jeweller, and food area with many food stalls.
Each market area is rich in diversity with various kinds of typical local goods. It is the place to sell all the products of the highlands and the necessary things for the ethnic people like ploughing, hoes, shovels, knives, vegetables, fruits, honey and more just like the name of each market. The local people and sellers are friendly; they are neither picky nor complicated. There is nothing like price-dragging or bargaining stress as well as chaos or noisy.
For Northwestern mountainous people, going to the weekend market is like going to the festival. They often wear colourful traditional dresses and attend the fair with happy and excited feelings.
However, the market area that attracts the most tourists and ethnic women is the one selling colourful, eye-catching jewellers, skirts, shirts, and brocade and rattan baskets. In this market, you can freely choose from many kinds to various shapes of brocade products. Prepare yourself that you may feel dizzy with all of the colourful colours of jewellers or dresses which is not only from the stalls but also from the skirts of ethnic girls from the Mong and Red Dao ethnic groups.
Among all the goods and products in Sapa, especially in Bac Ha Market, foreign tourists and visitors often admire the hand-woven paintings with attractive vivid motifs, harmonious and beautiful colours.
Moreover, Bac Ha Market is a perfect place for people to gather and have fun. It is the best dating place for young men and women of ethnic minorities. They usually meet each other in the market after a hard-working week. Because there are many people come to the market from the surrounding areas, and the road to the market is not easy, so that to keep up with the market, they have to get up very early and walk or use some simple transport to come here.
Getting to Bac Ha Market from Sapa:
The most convenient way to reach Bac Ha Market from Sapa is to book onto a guided group tour.
After being collected by your guide from your accommodation in Sapa at 7:30 AM, you will depart by bus to Bac Ha Market. The journey from Sapa to Bac Ha Market is 110 kilometres, and you will arrive in Bac Ha by approximately 10:45 AM.
Some people even have to go here from the previous day to noon the next day to reach the market. This market is also an ideal place for highland men to hang out and have a drink with each other. After a hard-working week, they will come to the market to meet and share their stories while drinking and enjoying their most famous local dish – Thang Co (Thắng Cố).
Thang Co dish is mainly made from the horse’s intestine with herbs and spices. Thang Co can be cooked from many types of meat and organs such as buffaloes, cows or pigs, but the best taste is made from the horse. The way to cook this may look simple, but you must know its secret to make it delicious. All of the ingredients will be cooked in a large pan. The dish tastes best when it’s still hot and enjoys with the famous local wine. It is true that Thang Co has a strange smell and is very specific.
At first glance, it looks a bit afraid because there are all kinds of horse intestines in the pan, but when you try it, you will like it immediately. This unique typical dish of Sapa is a-must try whenever visitors come here. It’s one of the undeniable charms of the Northwest high mountains.
Recently, Bac Ha is considered as one of the rare places that still retain the traditional and unique characteristics of the old markets. The gentle, naive and kind nature of the highland people mingled with the rustic beauty of the surrounding landscape makes Bac Ha Market become a distinct charm that impresses and attracts any visitors when coming here.
If you have a chance to discover the northwest highlands of Vietnam, try not to miss out on this amazing Bac Ha Market. This place will bring you a lot of interesting experiences. Let’s have fun while travelling and enjoy your great time to explore the charm of our lovely country.
I am Nina Nguyen. I was born in Vietnam – a country with many unknown beaches, historic sites, and tourist attractions. Understanding that Vietnam nowadays is a famous destination, I established the blog site vina.com to introduce the elegant beauty of Vietnam to friends around the world. If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, our blog will provide you with essential information on where to go and what to do in our country.