Top Unique Highland Markets in Sapa

Nga Do
A trip to the Northern highland of Vietnam could not be perfect without a visit to its local markets. The Sapa market has long been an indispensable destination for exploring Sapa. With Vietnam typical Tours step by step explore this unique market to feel the everyday life in Sapa:

#1: Bac Ha Market

Bac Ha Market is located in Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province, which is 70 kilometers from Sapa town. This market is regarded as the largest and the most colorful market in the Northwest region.

You have to pass the beautiful valleys, go through tortuous paths to come to this market. For the ethnic groups, they have to wake up in the early morning or the night before to carefully prepare for their trading goods in the next morning.

Bac Ha Market provides almost every products of the highland such as vegetables, foods, spices, plough, pick, and even the toothpick, and thread. The foods at this market are very special and delicious. It is a pity if you don’t try them. Drinking a cup of aromatic corn wine, or enjoying the hot “thang co” dish, etc. are must-do things when coming to Bac Ha Market.

#2: Can Cau Market

Can Cau is a busy market which is held every Saturday. Located just below the Chinese border, it is a colourful, vibrant market where you will encounter minority peoples such as the Flower Hmong (Red Hmong), Nung, Phu La and even Chinese people from across the border.  All kinds of goods are traded here, from fabrics to various types of livestock to the powerful local corn wine.

Can Cau Market is divided into separate areas. It also provides you with a wide range of products such as vegetables, herbs, spices, utensils, and brocade products. Besides, there are also many food stalls serving traditional dishes, which also attract a lot of locals and tourists.

#3: Pha Long Market

It takes 2 hours by road from Lao Cai town (68km) and 3 hours from Sapa 95km. Located in the northwest, Pha Long market sees minority groups from distant villages coming to sell or exchange animals, agriculture products and especially textile products.

It opens every Saturday morning and is swamped with Mong, Tay, Dung, Pa Di and Tu Di groups who are up bright and early to jump on a motorbike or horse to make their way to Pha Long. They carry pigs, hens, puppies and agricultural products like peanuts or kohlrabi in handicraft baskets and the popular colorful brocatelle products for sale or exchange at the market.

#4: Cao Son Market

Cao Son Market is a small sized market of ethnic Hmong, Phu La living in the four largest villages of Muong Khuong district held every Wednesday. It takes nearly 3 hours to drive from Sapa. There are many ways to get to Cao Son market. If visitors want to have the opportunity to go by the river way and view the romantic and poetic landscape, you can take part in tours on the Chay River.

Early in the morning, people from villages come to the market sequentially. They go into each group, in pairs or one by one. People use horses to pack the goods or motorbike, bike…. Cao Son Market seems to be more beautiful by people, goods and natural landscape. They all happily buy and sell and exchange goods with others. Like some other fairs, Cao Son market is divided into several zones.

#5: Lung Khau Nhin Market

On trip to Sapa, visit one of the smallest local markets in the area, located in a rural landscape. The market still keeps its original character ever since it was first opened. Here, you will meet members of the Flower H’mong and Black Dao ethnic minorities. Enjoy an afternoon drive through the picturesque valley to Coc Ly, and take a motorboat ride on the Chay River.

Lung Khau Nhin market almost untouched by modern life, the small Thursday market provides a intimate glimpse of members of the Nung, Flower H’mong, Black Dao, Tu Di, and Giay ethnic minorities who gather to purchase local agricultural products, textiles, and other goods.

#6: Muong Khuong Market

Lying on the centre of Muong Khuong, Muong Khuong market is located about 50km of Lao Cai city. The market is only held on Sunday from early morning. Coming here, tourist will understand fully traditional culture of ethnic minorities.

The minorities gather here to sell, buy and trade goods such as: vegetable, cattle, brocade, farm tools, traditional incense made from the bark and resin of scented trees…in their traditional cloths. There is a food area where you can taste the most popular specialties. In Muong Khuong, be sure to try the local rice variety called "San Kou", its light nutty slightly sweet surely charm you.

#7: Coc Ly Market

Takes place only on Tuesday, the Coc Ly market locate on a hill side lying along the famous Chay river and surrounded by two lush mountain ranges, this market is quite small but very colourful, you will meet here several ethnic minorities such as Flower Hmong, Black Zao, Phu La, Nung and Tay. The trip offers you go to Ta thang-cao son-muong khuong village,rice terrace field.

#8: Muong Hum Market

This market is a favorite destination for those who travel to Sapa. Located in Bat Xat District, Muong Hum Market only hold on Sunday every week. On Sunday, the market is as busy and excited as a large party of Ha Nhi, H’Mong, Giay, Dao Do and Dao Tuyen people.

Because this market is located in a small valley with a lovely and gentle stream passing through, the scenery here is very spectacular and picturesque. You can easily catch sight of people and horse passing the viaducts endlessly in colorful and unique clothes of their community. This image is so lively that you may want to take a beautiful photo immediately. The girls and the kids wear the most beautiful clothes, which not only impress the boys but the tourists as well.

On top of this, the highland market in Sapa is famous for its business activities which always garners a lot of attention. As well as the amazing sights, you will be charmed by the jovial atmosphere of the market. The sound of people greeting friends and family, joking and catching up on the stories of the week is accompanied by singing and dancing, making the markets feel almost like a festival. 

Experience these exciting activities with the explorations of highland markets in Sapa of Vietnam Typical Tours. You can find out the cruise details at:

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