Recommended by Lonely Planet, Bac Ha Market is held every Sunday and is the biggest minority peoples market in Northwest Vietnam. Alive with the bright colours and extravagant costumes of the local people, here you will meet Flower Hmong (Red Hmong), Black Dao, Tay, Nung, La Chi, Phu La and other minority groups who come from far and wide to buy and sell a wide variety of goods and livestock, to exchange news and to renew friendships. In the past the market was a centre for trading horses but now that motorbikes have replaced them it is more common to see buffalo, cows, goats, fish and other livestock being traded. The market opens at around 7.30am and closes mid-afternoon, so an early start is advisable. A typical private tour itinerary for a day at Bac Ha would include:
- Drive to Bac Ha (110km / 2.5 hours from Sapa, or 72km / 1.5 hours from Lao Cai).
- Take time to wander around the market, enjoy the atmosphere and have fun trying out your trading skills with the friendly local people.
- Have lunch in a local restaurant where a variety of foods are available for your delectation and delight. You can even try the traditional local lunch of Thang Co (horse stew) and strong corn wine!
- After lunch you will be driven to Ban Pho village where you can take a short walk around the village where Flower Hmong, Tay and Nung minorities live.
- Enjoy an hour long horse carting trip from Ban Pho village to Na Hoi village. *NEW*
- Drive back to Lao Cai
We also cater to guests who do not mind visiting the market with a large group tour. A tour guide will be provided for the whole group. You will visit the Bac Ha market as well as Ban Pho village.
Of course we are more than happy to try and arrange an itinerary which is tailored specifically for your needs. For example, you may wish to visit Can Cau Market on Saturday, have a homestay with local people on Saturday night and then attend Bac Ha Market early on the Sunday morning? Do feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.
Our guide and driver pick you up at your hotel in Sapa or Lao Cai station in the early Sunday morning for driving to Bac Ha town. The road is relatively flat from Lao Cai to Bao Nhai bridge. After crossing the bridge, we begin our journey up to Bac Ha with beautiful views over the valleys. Bac Ha market is located in the heart of Bac Ha town. Every Sunday, the different and colourful ethnic minorities come all here to sell their homemade products or buy something for the family. They are Hmong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay or Nung minorities. Some of these ethnic minorities can’t be met in any other areas. Your lunch will be provided in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we drive downhill towards Lao Cai for about half an hour. We stop on the way (before reaching Lao Cai) to take a short walk to Trung Do village inhabited by Tay people. Stop by a traditional Tay house for a cup of tea before taking a boat cruise downstream the Chay River. The scenery is very beautiful on both sides of the river. The boat trip will end at Bao Nhai where your vehicle will be waiting for you for the journey back to Lao Cai or Sapa.
Approx: 5 hours driving/ 1.5 hours boat cruise/ 0.5-hour walking/ 1-hour lunch.