Bac Ha Market is one of the most well-known and biggest in Northwest Vietnam. This market is held every Sunday and alive with the extravagant costumes and vibrant colours of the local minority people.
Bac Ha is firstly a local market town, but it is still able to attract a weekly assault of tourists on the Vietnam holiday packages. Most of the tourists arrive as day-trippers from Hanoi or other nearby towns.
A trip to Bac Ha Market on the Vietnam tour makes it possible to meet Phu La, La Chi, Nung, Tay, Black Dao, Flower Hmong (Red Hmong), and other minority people. They travel to the market to buy and sell their wares, while also renewing friendships and exchanging news. The colour and energy of the Flower Hmong people help to give this market its unique vibrancy and one of its main drawing points.
Bac Ha is a popular market for trading livestock. This market was once a centre for horse trading, but with the growth in motorbike use, the majority of the livestock trade has turned to buffalo, fish, goats, cows, and others. Also, there are quite a few stalls selling traditional goods such as handbags, elaborate textiles, saddles, and other trinkets. Many of these items are hand-made by the local tribe’s people.
How to get there
Bac Ha Town is easily reached on a day-trip from Sapa with a journey time of approx 3 hours by car. It opens at about 7:30 am and closes about 12:00 pm; it is practical to visit the market as early in the day as possible to see it in full swing. It is usually best before 9:00 am. This helps to bypass the tourist buses that start to arrive between 10:00 am and 11:00 am. So, this may mean starting the journey from Sapa at about 5:00 am, or even to overnight in Bac Ha on Saturday night for the easier early start.
By arriving early at the Bac Ha Market it is possible to see the local minority people bring in their rice wine, wares and livestock to sell. Plus, there are a few items of souvenirs and handicrafts, but the best quality items of this nature are usually sourced in Sapa.
For the travellers planning to stay overnight in Bac Ha, there are several acceptable accommodation options. Plus, it is quite easy to find food places serving the delicious local cuisine – although there are also a few tourist orientated restaurants.
In addition to this Sunday market, there are a few other reasons to visit this beautiful region of Vietnam like the less-travelled homestay and trekking trips. A particular favourite trip is visiting one of the ethnic villages, including the Flower H'mong. A short excursion to a flower Hmong village after a morning at the market is great to get an authentic feel of the local community, and these villages tend to get very traffic of visitors.
Bac Ha Market isn’t the best place for the tourist to go shopping on the Vietnam travel packages, but is perfect for those that want to take in the vibrancy and energy of the occasion, or even happy just to people watch.