Bac Ha market (wanderlusttips)
About 70 kilometers to Northeast of Lao Cai province, you will arrive in Bac Ha district which is also called “dreamlike white plateau”.
In Bac Ha district, you will have chance to join a unique Sapa market which is known as the biggest and most popular market at the border land. That is Bac Ha market ranked as one of the most 10 famous market fairs in Southeast Asia.
Bac Ha market Sapa is open on Sundays from the morning till 2 pm.
Bac Ha market was ranked as one of the most 10 famous market fairs in Southeast Asia (timeoutvietnam)
Apart from the noise of people trading, sometimes you will hear the sound of pan-pipe which is a very famous instrument in the North of Vietnam. The pan-pipe sound mixing with young boys’ singing voice which is up and down like flirting young girls.
Many foreigners coming there are very interested in discovering Vietnam life and custom and tradition of ethnic people.
People in Bac Ha market, Vietnam do everything with enthusiasm, even when they work or entertain. Their life just keep going, they come home, go to work really hard on the fields in the mountains, then when the next week comes, they meet and talk with each other at Bac Ha market.
Let’s take a Sapa Bac Ha market tour to enjoy the life of ethnic area.
Eating snacks: From 7 am, people start to display their goods everywhere in the market. At the main gate, you will reach food stalls right at two sides of the market or along the street. Every snack costs just less than 5000 VND (~ 0.3 USD).
Enjoying mixed soup “thang co”: “Thang co” is one of the specialties in Bac Ha district and also famous all around Northwest area. It’s made from meat and internal organs of horse, cow, buffalo and pig. In your Bac Ha market tour, you should eat this dish. Steaming “thang co” hot pan is also the thing attracting almost tourists, especially in winter. One bowl of “thang co” is about 30.000 VND (~1.4 USD).
Having breakfast with sour “pho” (famous Vietnamese noodle soup): Another food of Bac Ha people is sour “pho”. A bowl of this will contain meat, sour vegetable, herbs, chili, salt and noodle “pho”. One bowl costs 20.000 VND (~1 USD).
Buying ornament trees, wild orchid flowers: Right at the market gate is the section for selling wild orchid in many different types with very cheap cost.
Buying herbals, medicinal plants: There are many medicinal plants here, for example false ginseng, codonopsis, multiflorous knotweed, etc. All are collected from the nature and sent here to sell. If you take a Bac Ha market day tour, don’t forget to buy these plants since many people give them to their family and friends as a gift.
Chatting, taking photos with the local people: People there only go the market once a week. So they take this chance to dress up, or buy and sell stuffs. Tourists from inbound or outbound are both enjoyable to discover and understand more about local people here. They also take many photos with Bac Ha people.
Shopping brocade souvenirs: Bac Ha people cannot only make house hold items but also create a lot of beautiful souvenirs from brocade fabric. Tourists can find many tiny, beautiful and lovely things here. Bac Ha market has a large separate area for selling these brocade things. You should concern before buying these things to avoid fake and unqualified products.
Drinking corn wine: One famous drink in Northeast area is Ban Pho corn wine – a specialty of H’Mong and Dao ethnics. You can find the shops selling corn wine right by the passage to brocade selling area. If you are not hooked on this drink, you may still feel a little drunk by some alcohol yeast odor when passing by.
Visiting poultry and cattle area: This area is at the end of Bac Ha market, on a high hill that is separate from the other sections. Tourists can find animals on sale such as dogs, chickens, pigs, buffalos, cows, etc. This section is often crowed because a lot of people come here to look for a pet.