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Bac Ha Market
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Full-Day Bac Ha Cultural and Market Tour from Sapa
Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Bac Ha
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Bac ha Market Nestled in the northern hills of Vietnam exists one of the best ethnic markets in all of Southeast Asia! On Sundays, the ethnic minorities from the surrounding villages and hills come by foot, by motorscooter, by horse, and by water buffalow for their chance to socialize, eat, drink, smoke, get a haircut, and buy produce and meat for the next week. It is a blur of colorful plaids and stripes.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed November 14, 2013

This market is a must when visiting Sapa. Great atmoshere, thriving with activity and colourful locals going about there usual business....great photo opportunities!!
We organised a guide to pick us up from the train station on arrival (saving confusion at station re transport options)and take us straight to market to get there before the day trips from Sapa arrived. This was a good call and it also avoided having to backtrack the next day, and the guide dropped us off at our hotel in Sapa at the end of the day-perfect! We were also able to visit a nearby village and have a lovely boat trip down the river!

8  Thank Earthwalker5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 26, 2013

We spent about 3 hours at the Bac Ha Market as part of our custom made tour of Vietnam and Cambodia (review to follow). We arrived in Lao Cai by overnight train from Hanoi on Sunday where we were met by our delightful guide, Ha Ta and driver, Diep. We heard lots of interesting information from Ha on the 1-1/2 hour drive over a road winding through beautiful scenery, arriving in Bac Ha around 8:45 am. The timing was fine to see the market in full swing and see so many colourfully dressed tribal women selling and buying. This was an amazing place to see the various ethnic minorities (Hmong, Tay, Phu La, Nung and Back Dzao) interacting. We lucked out as this was an extra special Sunday as it was also horse race day which only happens once a month and it was a real treat to be able to witness the excitement of the event first hand (thanks to our amazing guide, Ha!).

While we saw other tourists, we were few and far between in comparison to the huge turnout of Vietnamese and the ethnic minorities. We didn’t have a problem taking photos, we tried to be discreet and would not take photos if they didn’t want us to…most people were happy to have their photos taken especially if you weren’t in their face with the camera (that’s the beauty of a larger lens)—our guide was very helpful here.

The market has everything from clothing and jewellery to alcohol and toys, produce and butchered meats to live stock (water buffalo, pigs, horses, chickens, dogs, etc). About 10 local hill tribes come together once a week to sell, shop, meet, socialize and drink—it may take them 2 days of trekking to get to the market. There was a lot of milling about in the livestock area—if they don't get the right price, they won’t sell, they'll take the animals back home with them and keep bringing them back until they get a satisfactory price.

The dining area was very busy with various food stations and the tribal peoples socializing and eating items that would turn a Westerner’s stomach. Many of the diners had a good sense of humour 'generously' offering to share their juicy tidbits with us. Thanks, but no thanks!! We had lunch at one of the restaurants on the main street, our guide ordered and it was very good food.
(After lunch we enjoyed a quiet, peaceful walk through the nearby picturesque Trung Do Village.)

An amazing experience full of colourful photo ops—we found it helpful to have the input of the guide!

10  Thank endlesstravelwishes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2013

Whether you go independently or in a tour you should engineer the trip to make sure you arrive before 8.00 a.m. At this time the market is very much a local affair and thoroughly enjoyable to walk around and interact with the local people.
As the day wears on a steady stream of tourists come in which detracts from the local flavour because one is then treated to appalling scenes of tourists marching up to the local ladies and pointing cameras directly into their faces. We thought basic manners and the ethics of responsible tourism dictated that we at least ask if we may picture people but such niceties were clearly not in evidence on the day we visited this colourful market.

3  Thank april f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2013 via mobile

Bac Ha Market open for Sunday Only. There is a big market for the local people that ca buy everything and also the tourism can know more culture of the local buy. However, I don't like the food in there and it's not hygiene and not tasty.

2  Thank Bonnie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

We took the 3 1/2 hr bus ride to Bac Ha Market not so much to buy anything but to get some good photo's of the different H'mong tribe people in their traditional clothing. We found ourselves just standing in one spot and taking so many wonderful photos of the Flower H'mong and other local tribal people.

2  Thank Timothyhanic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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