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Bac Ha Market, Vietnam

A visit to the very colourful and still largely traditional hill-tribe market at Bac Ha

An opportunity to post a few pretty photos from our recent visit to the fascinating, highly colourful and still very traditional hill-tribe market at Bac Ha. Every Sunday this otherwise quiet and somewhat remote little town in the mountains of northern Vietnam bursts into life as vendors from outlying villages flock into town to sell their wares; farm produce, household goods, clothing and of course some embroidered bags, scarves etc to the foreign visitors who also arrive in town on a Sunday morning to visit the photogenic and famous market.

Local girls will always wear their Sunday best for market visits
Local girls will always wear their Sunday best for market visits

The market had decidedly expanded since our last visit some 2 years back but it was good to see that, while tourist numbers and handicraft stalls had certainly increased, the market remains predominantly local and traditional in both nature and clientele.

Definitely a certain competitive feel at times as women check out neighbours' embroidery skills
Definitely a certain competitive feel at times as women check out neighbours’ embroidery skills

A highlight for us is the cattle or animal section with water buffaloes, cows, horses, chickens, pigs and dogs all on sale though don’t worry, the latter are sold as guard dogs, not potential lunch!  Market-goers are overwhelmingly from the colourful Flower Hmong group who inhabit the surrounding hills but you will also see occasional Black Dzao and Dzay as well as some Black Hmong and Red Dzao from Sapa.

Home-made brooms
Home-made brooms

After a guided introductory tour of the market followed by plenty of free time to explore at our own leisure, we grabbed an excellent local style, noodle soup before it was time to head off to back down the hill to Lao Cai Town and on to the old French hill-station, and our evening’s destination, Sapa.

Noodle soup lunch in Bac Ha
Noodle soup lunch in Bac Ha

Bac Ha market features on our Vietnam and Yunnan tours such as  The Red River Valley and South of the Clouds, Yunnan Province.