Bac Ha Sunday Market in Sapa, Vietnam

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: November 8, 2019

Opening every Sundays from morning till 2:00 pm, Bac Ha Market (80km from Sapa) is an ideal place for every visitor to take a Sapa tour exploring the pristine looks and characteristics of Vietnamese ethnic minority groups in the northwest region.

Bac Ha weekend market is the biggest fair, which is often held every Sunday near the mountainous highlands and the Chinese border. It is considered as the largest and most colorful market in the area. On Sundays, throngs of villagers from the surrounding hill tribes walk to the market to purchase and exchange food, animals, clothes and household goods.

Not only being the place for buying and selling, Bac Ha Market is also a meeting point for cultural and sentiment exchanging. When you have chance to catch  the upland fair, you can see lines of people and horse pouring to the market through all paths and mountain roads. Sitting in groups, eating a hot soup pan (Thang Co) and talking to each other, all are what the locals normally do when they come to Bac Ha.

The Bac Ha Market sees the attendance of variety different ethnic groups including Flower H’mong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay and Nung minorities, who gather together to buy and sell their own products (ranging from everything made from hand-embroidered skirts to all manner of 4-legged animals) that cannot be found elsewhere. That’s why the market is frequently very crowded and bustling. 

At Bac Ha Market, one can easily find every item they need for the daily life of the ethnic minority people, from hoes and shovels to brocade, buffaloes, horses, etc. which are sold in different zones. The largest of which is used for selling brocade products for women such as cloths or clothes.

On the contrary, the buffalo market is mainly for male traders and buyers. It is located in a very spacious and sufficient land and serves hundreds of people. Nearby are the dog market of the Mong and Dao ethnic people and a market for poultry.

In particular, one visiting Bac Ha Market cannot miss its specialty of  the Mong’s traditional dish, called Thang Co, which is processed from horse meat; however presently from buffalo meat and pork. There are over 20 stalls selling this kind of dish in the Bac Ha Market.

A weekend trip to Sapa and Bac Ha Market is highly recommended, depending on your time budget in Vietnam. 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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