09 Nov 2020
Located in Ngoc Uyen, Bac Ha, Lao Cai, Vietnam, nearly 100 km to the northeast of Sapa, Bac Ha market is the highlight for any trip to northern Vietnam.
There is a saying that if you want to know the culture of the people in a region, have a look at their market. Serving as the trading center of diverse and vibrant ethnic communities in the whole area, Bac Ha is where you can find the hustle yet peaceful atmosphere of Vietnam’s northern mountainous tribes.
Due to Bac Ha’s isolation, the only way to get there is by using a car or motorbike.
Motobike in Bac Ha
Usually, you can easily hire one by contacting a travel agency or a local transport company in Sapa. But find an authentic one as it’s common to encounter scams.
The distance from Sapa to Bac Ha market is about 100 km, which is quite far. But it’s worth it. The road to Bac Ha leads you to one of the most breathtaking and romantic routes in Vietnam.
The landscape is magnificent with hundreds of almighty limestone mountains sandwiched between crystal clear rivers and lovely green vallies.
In ideal weather condition, it will take you 3 hours to get from Sapa to Bac Ha.
When reaching to Bac Ha, you will astonished by a great deal of goods waiting for you there.
Even though Bac Ha is called “Mountainous market”, it’s full of different types of products both locally produced and transported from somewhere else.
Colorful Bac Ha Market
The market is divided into different quarters and each quarter is specialized in a different type of product. These includes textile quarter,animal quarter, vegetable quarter, food quarter and souvenir quarter.
Textile quarter sells cloth, brocade, embroidery and other related things. Brocade and embroidery in Bac Ha are very unique and often bought by tourists as gifts for their beloved or souvenirs.
They are also praised for their beautiful vibrant colors and textures. Making these is an elaborate and time-consuming process as a Bac Ha woman often has to spend months creating these arts.
Animal quarter and vegetable quarter, as their names suggest, sell agricultural products like different types meat including butchered and alive animals, vegetables and fruits.
Many among these goods are locally farmed and can’t be found in nowhere else.
A very special fruit in the region is Bac Ha plum, a mildly sweet and purple variety of plum that is cherished by people throughout Vietnam.
Food quarter is always full of local dishes, many of which you will have no idea what they are. Bac Ha food is famous for their wild flavour thanks to the use of spices and herbs.
Spices and herbs boost our immune system and increase the functions of our sense, which is very essential in a mountainous area like Bac Ha.
Some very special and even bizarre food you may find in Bac Ha includes:
Souvenir quarter, on the other hand, is the most popular quarter among tourists as it’s packed with tons of eye-catching stuffs.
They are very diverse and therefore it’s hard to put them into categories. You can find so many things to buy as souvenirs for your trips.
Most popular ones are jewelry, toys, potters, pictures and fashion items. One very important note is that you should bargain with the sellers as many of the stalls often sell their items 3-4 times of their original price.
You may find it strange at first but bargaining is actually fun and doesn’t seem complicated as what it seems.
Also, learning some basic expressions as you buy is helpful as many of the local cannot speak English and they can use it to bargain.
As mentioned above, Bac Ha offers so many chances to explore the vibrant life in this land-above-mountains.
Landscape in Bac Ha
Tourists can wander around narrow spaces between stalls, witness the pace of life, facial expressions of the local people in a foreigner’s angle and see how life works in different cultures.
And of course, Bac Ha is a very photogenic spot. It’d be fun taking some photos so that you might have something to show and to remember when you get back home.
Taking a selfie would be also fantastic. The local are very friendly to tourists and would never refuse to take a photo with you.
Another fun thing is of course eating. There are so many bizarre types of fruit, vegetables or food you shouldn’t miss and even if you may might find some of them strange, it’s fun to experience the diversity of food across the globe.
Last but not least, don’t forget to buy some souvenirs. These beautiful and inexpensive stuffs can be a great way to freeze your memories in Bac Ha.
There are different ways to get yourself a trip and enjoy the charms of Bac Ha as travel agencies out there that would offer you tons of choices and you even can plan it by your own.
But to enjoy a safe, authentic experience, it is recommended to try our product. We offer you a one-day tour to Bac Ha market with best price with two different choices:
Join group tour: Travel in a group of 10-15 tourists with English-speaking tour guide and transfers by bus provided. Everything at $25.
Private tour: Enjoy your privacy as you can travel alone and customize your itinerary. English-speaking tour guide, transfers by private car and lunch are also provided. The price depends on your group size.
You trip will begin in Sapa as we drive you to Bac Ha in the morning.
Arriving at Bac Ha, you have the chance to visit the market and explore colorful life of ethnic minorities, who gather here to buy and sell their handicrafts.
After spending the morning exploring the market, your lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
The trip also includes a visit to Trung Do Village, home to the Tay minority when you finish your lunch. Here you can have a close look at the architecture of the Tay’s traditional house as well as their daily life.
Late afternoon, you will be transferred back to Sapa or Lao Cai station at your request.