What is so special about the highland markets in Sapa?

Nga Do
The northwestern region of Vietnam is not only famous for its scenery from rice terraces, buckwheat flower season, simple ethnic villages, festive dresses, and especially The market is crowded, extremely unique. Discover the special from the most famous markets in Sa Pa to get the most detailed view of the culture of the local people here!

Bac Ha market (Sunday)

Bac Ha Market is held on Sunday only 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.

Can Cau market (Saturday)

Can Cau market is located in Can Cau commune, Si Ma Cai district, Lao Cai province, 100 km north east away from Lao Cai city. This weekly market is held on the side walk of road 153 the only entrance to connect this commune with Bac Ha town. As many other market in mountainous area, Can Cau is surrounded by magnificent range of mountain and beautiful terraced fields.

This market was originally held by Chinese Hmong people and Giay people, but the way they trade and barter follows Dao people. It is held every Saturday and on festivals and lunar new year.

May be the most attracted part of the market belongs to the castle zone. Ethnics really care about the quality of their co-workers, so they choose castle to buy very carefully. Besides, food zone is always the favprit part of any people. After a busy day buying daily tools, castles and clothing, stoping for a while, enjoying a bowl of "Thang co" (a traditional dish made from horse's parts) and tasting a cup of local wine may be the best way to end their weekly market.

Pha Long market (Saturday)

Pha Long is famous for Gau Tao festival in spring. “Gau Tao” means climbing mountains, and it starts from 3th to 6th in lunar calendar. People, who live in vicinities such as Bac Ha, Mu Cang Chai, and Chinese border, also come to Pha Long market. There are a lot of ceremonies and traditional game in this festival.

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.

The market, located in Lao Cai Province which borders China, is one of the most popular tourist spots in the province. For minority groups the market is now their main income stream as they sell brocatelle clothes, scarves and other hand-made products and most speak English which also helps to attract the customers. A sign of changing times, though, is that the colorful brocatelle clothes which used to be made from natural materials now consist of synthetic fabric which is imported from China to adapt to the fast-growing demand.

Lung Khau Nhin market (Thursday)

Lung Khau Nhin is a small market very close to the border with China, close to Muong Khuong town. The Black Dao, Giay, Tay, Flower Hmong (Red Hmong) minority peoples all attend this market.

Lung Khau Nhin market is held every Thursday starting around 7.30am and closing in the early afternoon. The market is set in beautiful scenery and is very remote. It is a very ‘authentic’ market with few tourists visiting. The market mainly sells vegetables, seeds and livestock for the minority peoples.

Coc Ly market (Tuesday)

Coc Ly Market is the colorful market in a mountainous area where the Flower H’mong mainly gathers to exchange their homemade products. This Tuesday market is about 35km from Bac Ha. You can get here via a good road, or by road and river; hotels in Sapa and Bac Ha can organize trips. Coc ly is a small village on the Chay River inhabited by the Flower H’mong Minority people. The Flower H’mong traditionally wears a distinctive and bright colored costume.

Sapa highland market is the convergence of culture and the most characteristic of the ethnic minority in Sapa that you should count to discover, purchase souvenirs. Hopefully through this post you can find some useful information as well as discover the great places on this list to travel to the Northwest Highlands. Make sure you have a memorable and enjoyable time at these destinations.

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