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Can Cau Market

Address: Sapa, Vietnam
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Ranked #9 of 27 things to do in Sapa
Type: Shops, Shopping & Fashion
Owner description: Can Cau is predominately a livestock market and not the sort of place to buy some choice gifts for...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: Shops, Shopping & Fashion
Owner description: Can Cau is predominately a livestock market and not the sort of place to buy some choice gifts for the folks back home. Beyond the fenced-in perimeter, pot-bellied pigs, chickens and water buffalo wait patiently by the river to be sold. They rub shoulders with magnificent wild horses, some of whom will be transporting their masters back over to China. But the market also sells the basics: traditional clothing, sacks of rice, bundles of coarse, raw wool and ironware. Some stalls sell fresh tobacco and a rather sad array of root vegetables. Many women sell their wares from large, wicker baskets and sit weaving whilst waiting for a sale. I note that there are many giant plastic containers lying around with attached tubes. I mistakenly think this is gasoline, but it is in fact the omni-present rice wine and some folk are spotted wisely filling up their water bottles for the long ride home. Food stalls serve bowls of steaming fat noodles in broth and indescribable plates of what I can only assume are some sort of animal innards. It is almost like being transported back in time. There are few traces of the outside world, save the occasional soccer tee-shirt cast off and digital watch. As I observe the incredible costumes, deep shyness and the dark, weather-beaten skins, it is hard to imagine that this is the same country as freewheeling Saigon City in the south. It might as well have been on another planet.

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20 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Top Contributor
325 reviews 325 reviews
121 attraction reviews
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2015

Quite refreshing to be ignored by market people. Women in fantastic traditional outfits buy and sell their wares. Bulls are sold, and sometimes fight. There are locals busy eating and bargaining. The amount of colour and activity is amazing. Fabulous experience.

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Peyia, Cyprus
Top Contributor
382 reviews 382 reviews
129 attraction reviews
229 helpful votes 229 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2015

This is the local Saturday market and yes it is only every Saturday. The colors are just amazing. You will see many different tribes here and you can buy everything from cloth, shoes, bags, flowers, there are restaurants where the locals eat but it did not look that it was for me. A bit down the hill was the buffalo... More 

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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2015

A place where local tribes come to sell their handicraft, food, wares and cattle. Very local and colourful. Dislike (intensely): the sight of butchered dog meat for sale but that's part of the local scene, uncensored. Dislike: the need to haggle prices to at least 50% less.

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Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
31 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2014

The market is set up in a field next to the road. There are tourist souvenirs, which I don't think are totlally handmade. There are also medicinal herbs, incense, fruit, vegetables and popcorn. Of course, there is tourist taxes as our guide purchased his popcorn more cheaply than my husband. There were plenty of photographic opportunities as the traditional dress... More 

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Paal, Belgium
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2014

Best market to visit , wonderfull location 20 km north of Bac Ha, go by yourself by rented motorbike, after visit market in the morning, you can do further ride to Chinese border.

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Andy N, General Manager at Can Cau Market, responded to this review

Dear FarangBE! Thank you so much for your sharing your experience on Trip Advisor. With this trip : After visit the market the tourist can do more active as Travel by boat on Chay River, Visit Flower H'mong Village, do the the Buffalo cart tour etc. All the best ! Nguyen Minh Tien .Mr Sales Manager sales@vietnamtomtravel.com More 

spring mountain queensland
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2014

I think to get the best out of Can Cau and Bac Ha markets is not to hurry there by car or bus but to ride bikes, push bikes on a three day market ride from Sapa to Bac Ha. You get to take in the sights and get to feel the build up. You see many of the locals... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Andy N, Guest Relations Manager at Can Cau Market, responded to this review

Dear PB852014! Thank you so much for sharing your experience ,Can Cau Market is one the biggest market in the northern Viet Nam. We hope to have an other chance to welcome you back to Indochina All the best ! sales@vietnamtomtravel.com More 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3 reviews 3 reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

Headed to the Can Cau Market in June 2014. It was about 3 hours' drive from Sapa, and in my opinion it wasn't worth making a special trip from the main town of Sapa. The roads are windy and I got carsick which may have contributed to my lack of enjoyment of the market. Most of the stalls sell either... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Edmonton, Canada
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
23 attraction reviews
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2014

I'm shocked that anyone actually thinks anything here is handmade. The person carving on rocks is actually defacing one sample from the crate received from China. Every textime is made abroad. Only a couple of driftwood carvings are made there. It's the same stuff to be found from Hanoi to Saigon to Siem Reap to Bangkok.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Seoul, South Korea
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2014

We booked Bac Ha Market Tour with Vietnam Cuture Travel and it was an amazing experience. All the services were impeccable and very good value for money. Our guide was kind and helpful. We were well looked after throughout the trip. Bac Ha is one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been to. Its scenery was so beautiful and... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Au, Austria
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
54 attraction reviews
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2014

It was super fun and im so in love with all the handmade stuffs in here and guess what the price is super super cheap!

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