It takes 2 hours by road from Lao Cai town (68km) and 3 hours from Sapa 95km
Located in the northwest, Pha Long market sees minority groups from distant villages coming to sell or exchange animals, agriculture products and especially textile products.
Pha Long is famous for Gau Tao festival in spring. “Gau Tao” means climbing mountains, and it starts from 3th to 6th in lunar calendar. People, who live in vicinities such as Bac Ha, Mu Cang Chai, and Chinese border, also come to Pha Long market. There are a lot of ceremonies and traditional game in this festival.
It opens every Saturday morning and is swamped with Mong, Tay, Dung, Pa Di and Tu Di groups who are up bright and early to jump on a motorbike or horse to make their way to Pha Long.
They carry pigs, hens, puppies and agricultural products like peanuts or kohlrabi in handicraft baskets and the popular colorful brocatelle products for sale or exchange at the market.
The market, located in Lao Cai Province which borders China, is one of the most popular tourist spots in the province.
For minority groups the market is now their main income stream as they sell brocatelle clothes, scarves and other hand-made products and most speak English which also helps to attract the customers.
A sign of changing times, though, is that the colorful brocatelle clothes which used to be made from natural materials now consist of synthetic fabric which is imported from China to adapt to the fast-growing demand.