Overview Of Bac Ha Sunday Market
The Bac Ha Sunday Market is a weekly market held every Sunday in the Lao Cai Province near the mountainous highlands and the Chinese border. It is known for being the largest and most colorful market in the area, attracting villagers from surrounding hill tribes to purchase and exchange goods such as food, animals, clothes, and household items. The market has existed since the foundation of Lao Cai Province and operates from morning until 2:00 pm.
Bac Ha Market is divided into several smaller zones, each with its own specialized products. The market is known for its diverse offerings, including a brocade market, food market, horse market, poultry market, and bird market. The horse market is a unique feature of Bac Ha, as it is the only market that specializes in horse trading. On each occasion, hundreds of horses are sold and discerning traders can find the most vigorous horses at great prices. Visitors can observe locals coming to the market on horseback and gathering in groups to eat hot soup (Thang Co) and socialize. Bac Ha Market offers a unique and colorful glimpse into the local culture and traditions.
Ethnic People At Bac Ha Sunday Market
Bac Ha Market attracts a diverse group of ethnic minorities, including the Flower H’mong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay, and Nung. These groups come together to buy and sell their unique products, which range from hand-embroidered skirts to animals. This results in the market being very crowded and bustling. The market not only serves as a place for commerce, but also as a hub for cultural and sentimental exchange.
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In the highlands of Lao Cai, the Mong Hoa ethnic group has the highest population within the Mong ethnic group specifically and the minority ethnic groups in general. The Mong Hoa people are concentrated in the mountainous villages of the districts, with the highest concentration being in 3 districts: Bac Ha, Si Ma Cai, and Muong Khuong. This is an ethnic community with a strong cultural heritage, highlighted by the costumes and sculptural art on the traditional costumes of women. The traditional costumes of young Mong women are brightly colored, decorated with intricate patterns, creating a deep impression for tourists.
Handicrafts Of Bac Ha Sunday Market
Bac Ha Market offers a wide range of items needed for daily life among the local ethnic minority people, including tools like hoes and shovels, animals such as buffaloes and horses, and brocade products. The largest and most prominent zone is the brocade market, where visitors can find an array of colorful and traditional clothing, including H’mong and Red Dao dresses, as well as intricate items like tote bags, shoulder bags, scarves, and wallets. These products make for great souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. If you’re unsure about which ethnic group a piece of clothing belongs to, you can always ask the sellers for clarification.
Cattle Bac Ha Sunday Market
The cattle and poultry trading zone is separated from the main market and is located on a high hill. This area offers a diverse selection of animals, including pigs, cows, buffaloes, birds, dogs, and horses. The buffalo market is specifically for male traders and buyers and is located on a large and spacious piece of land, serving hundreds of people. There is also a dog market for the H’mong and Dao ethnic groups and a poultry market in the vicinity.
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Food At Bac Ha Sunday Market
It would be a shame to visit Bac Ha Market without trying its street food and local delicacies. A must-try dish is the Mong’s traditional dish, Thang Co, made from horse meat, but now often made from buffalo meat or pork. There are over 20 stalls selling Thang Co in the Bac Ha Market. Another local specialty to try is the Corn Wine of the H’mong and Dao people in the highlands of Sapa. This wine is also known as Ban Pho Corn Wine or Bac Ha Corn Wine and has a strong but aromatic taste that is not harsh or sour. It is highly recommended to enjoy Thang Co with a few cups of Corn Wine for a complete Bac Ha Market dining experience.
How to Get to Bac Ha Sunday Market?
A weekend trip to Sapa and Bac Ha Market is highly recommended, depending on your time budget in Vietnam. You can choose one of the following options if departing from Hanoi:
By train: Vietnam Railways offers two express trains from Hanoi to Lao Cai every day. It may take you 5 hours to reach Lao Cai Train Station. Then you can catch a bus at Lao Cai Bus Station to get to Bac Ha Market and join the dynamic atmosphere here.
By sleeper bus: On a daily basis, there are two sleeper buses which depart for Bac Ha from My Dinh Bus Station. This way will take you around 6 hours.
Spending 3 days 4 nights on your trip, you will be impressed by the beauty of natural and local ethnic people along with their unique culture in the Northern mountainous area.
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Best Time to Visit Bac Ha Sunday Market
A visit to Bac Ha Market during the spring season is highly recommended. The season is known for its beautiful plum blossoms that paint the hills and mountains white, creating a stunning and exotic landscape. Additionally, spring is also a time for festivals, so visitors can experience the festive atmosphere and interact with locals. Overall, visiting Bac Ha Market in the spring provides a unique and memorable experience.