Bac Ha Market

Bac Ha Market

Bac Ha Market is often recommended as the highlighted cultural fair you should enjoy in northern Vietnam. Known as the biggest ethnic market in Lao Cai province, Bac Ha is a big feast for eyes every Sunday. 
bac ha market
Photo: Karin Eye

Bac Ha Market Facts

The market takes place in Bac Ha district in northeast side of Lao Cai Province. It is located right at the central town so you`ll find it easily. 
Time and date : the market starts early from 5.00 am till 14.00pm and sometimes even at 15.00pm.
Bac Ha market occurs only on Sunday. 
Please note that during Vietnamese New Year, the market does not operate. 
Local expert tip: after the harvesting time ( October or November ) is the best period to explore the market. 

Participants: the market attracts all the local minorities in the area including Flower Hmong, Tay, Nung, Phu La and Dzao peoples. 

Market Tour Options

Tour to Bac Ha market is very common. There are 2 main types of trip that you can take: day trip from Sapa town or an overnight trip from Hanoi. The experience is certainly more rewarding if you can spend more time to uncover the local landscape than just having a glimpse at the market`s color. 
Bac Ha Market is probably best combined with a trek to the remarkable hillside of the district. It offers more chances to interact with local minorities, seeing their daily activities as well the traditional work. 

Bac Ha Day Trip from Sapa

The trip kicks off early around 7.00 am from Sapa town with a scenic road trip for 3 hours to reach the main site of Bac Ha. You`ll enjoy a guided walk from one corner to another with a further explanation from your tour guide. 
Then you are free to shoot and taste local foods. Depends on what type of service you take, you`ll have lunch with a group or free for lunch ( there are many choices ). 
The market visit then will be followed by a short walk to a traditional Flower Hmong village. 
If you take a private tour, there is a possibility to embark on a river cruise on the Chay river before returning to Sapa town or Lao Cai train station for those who plan to come back to Hanoi.

Bac Ha Market and Trek 2 days

Our ideal option is to arrive in Bac Ha on Saturday to enjoy the less-visited path of the Bac Ha mountains. From secret waterfalls to secluded hamlets, the trek provides a very interesting side of the area. The secret Vietnam Trekking site is also home to numerous picturesque rice terraces and photogenic forests. 
Spend an evening with a local family is a highlight of your trip here.
On Sunday, you`ll join the local people to the market from very early in the morning. By this way, your visit is more interesting that just a quick exploration. 
Special offer: we invite you to drive a little further from the town to see the Lung Phinh market - a small size fair but really authentic. 

Visit Bac Ha market Your Own ?

Yes, you can certainly do this without tour guide or group tour. Here are some practical information:

Getting to Bac Ha

From Hanoi, there are direct buses from Ha Son - Hai Van company. The buses leave Hanoi in the late evening and arriving in Bac Ha town early in the morning. It is advisable to reserve a hotel/ homestay so they will welcome you for such an early arrival. 
You can also take the overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai city then getting on a morning bus from Lao Cai to Bac Ha. This option gives you some time for breakfast and relaxing since the train arrives around 6.30am while the bus starts around 7.30am. The bus station is very closed to the train station ( 5 minutes walk ). 

Where to stay in Bac Ha

Bac Ha houses many hotels and homestay ranging from 3 star standard to a basic one. 

vietnam embroidery
Photo: Annie Cotnoir

What to buy in Bac Ha Market

It is recommended to support the local`s work once you are in Bac Ha. Certainly, thing you can not bring home like a buffalo is not on our to-buy list. 
The most famous thing is the eye-catching Flower Hmong dress or Skirt. If you are skillful at sewing then you can take some beautiful pieces of silk. 
A little bottle of corn wine can be good to put in your family`s wine collection. 
Women may find more things to purchase like ear wearings, hand wearings or some bags too. 


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Insider Travel Tips 

 Vietnam is diverse. For first time visit, the Best of Vietnam is luring enough with not only beautiful cultural exploration but also unique touches to local life. 
Dzung Nguyen - Vietnam Travel Expert

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