Bac Ha Market can be visited as a day trip from Sapa or Lao Cai and is a pure visual treat. The surrounding villages are inhabited by the Flower Hmong people, one of the many tribes that live in the mountains and they set up shop in the market selling everything from clothes and spices to brooms. The Flower Hmong people are dressed differently than the other tribes such as the Black Hmong or Dzao people. Their clothes are very brightly coloured and the women wear a lot of tribal jewellery. I love the colorful head scarves worn by the women and bought a bright blue and pink one myself. The market is frequented by a lot of tour groups but I have to admit that the prices were better than what I saw in the Sapa market where sellers often refused to bargain much. Some of the embroidered clothes, bags, handicrafts and other items were also very different in terms of design and quality (often better) from what is available in other tourist shopping areas in and around Sapa and in Hanoi.
Exploring the market can easily take between three to five hours, even longer if you are looking to buy souvenirs or gifts for home. There are separate lanes or areas for handicrafts, clothes, bags, food, spices and even animals. Dogs, roosters, cattle, pigs and even horses are sold in the market and the chaos in there can get quite interesting or annoying, depending on your mood. I absolutely love markets and wandering in them for hours because they tingle all the senses with their sights, sounds, tastes and scents and just have this great energy from all the people, noises, colours etc. I ended up buying a few bracelets for my girlfriends, some scarves, pillowcases and other small gifts.
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Wanting to capture all the buzz and activity, I took many pictures, some of which were taken inside a traditional Hmong home. Here is the photo essay, enjoy! 🙂
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For ideas on what else to do in Sapa, read about trekking to Lao Chai and Cat Cat Village. You may also find my list of top 5 places to eat in Sapa useful. For general tips and info, check out my Vietnam travel blog.
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