Not only is the biggest minorities’ people fair in Sapa but Bac Ha Market is also well-known for its poetic scenery and peaceful atmosphere. Tourists could hardly find a place that still remains the unique characteristics of ethnic culture like Bac Ha Market.
Located in Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province, about 2.5 hours traveling by bus from Lao Cai City, Bac Ha Market, which is held on every Sunday morning, is the occasion for various local ethnic minorities to gather and exchange their local goods as well as their cultures with those of neighboring provinces. When coming to this market, visitors may be overwhelmed by the sea of colorful ethnic costumes and the delightful atmosphere. Local people there do consider Bac Ha Market as a festive event and try to maintain this custom until now. Everyone looks really excited on this day.
Bac Ha Market is divided into different sections offering different types of goods. Each section has its own atmosphere and sounds. The section where buffaloes, oxen and horses are sold is located in the high hill separated from the other sections. This is the most crowded place in the market especially the selling dog spot since it attracts a lot of people from other distant places with the wish to get a pet.
Local brocade weaving products, which are hand-made by local women, are greatly desired by customers. Brocade fabric is not only used for the needs of ethics in daily life but also made into various souvenirs to meet the high demand of tourists. Bac Ha Market has a really big area to sell only brocade; therefore, you should fully check everything and refer to more information beforehand in order not to buy the low-quality products.
At Bac Ha Market, you can try many specialties with a quite low cost for instance like Thang Co (Thắng Cố), Pho Chua ( Phở Chua or sour pho), corn wine and many types of snacks.
In the early morning, in every corner of Bac Ha Market, all food stalls have already prepared to welcome customers. You can easily spot these stands placed on both sides along the main way to the market. You can also find many stalls that have Thang Co, one of the most famous dishes in northwestern Vietnam. This specialty is a traditional dish of the Mong ethnic group cooked with horse meat and 27 kinds of spices. Because of its unpleasant smell, not anyone could try this unique food. Despite this, Thang Co is indeed delicious and has an unforgettable taste. It costs about more than $1.5 (30,000VND) for one dish.
Besides Thang Co, traditional Bac Ha pho or well-known as sour pho is also widely spread. The special thing about the dish is that its noodle is brown due to the special local red rice grown in Lung Phinh commune, which makes the dish outstanding from other types of pho. The aroma of fermented black soybeans, the greasiness of the noodle mixed with spicy sauce and pickled cabbage have created Pho Chua, a perfect combination of flavor and color of its ingredients. There are different tastes in different pho stalls. You can try this food with only $1 (20,000VND).
Tourists could have more memorable experiences with ethnic people by taking pictures with them and talking about their unique culture. This is a great chance for anyone who comes to Bac Ha Market to have a deeper understanding of ethnic cultural customs and explore their daily life as well.
Don’t hesitate to pay a visit to Bac Ha Market in your future trip to Sapa, it won’t let you down.