Bac Ha Market: A Riot of Color
The only things brighter than the beating sun are the garments of the Hmong.
Wade into the bustle and brightness of the Bac Ha Market to watch and participate in the weekly trade. Part shopping center for the village tribespeople, part tourist attraction, nothing will make you feel so foreign as a morning at the Bac Ha Sunday Market.
Reeling in tourists with the beautiful colors of their dress, tribeswomen do their best to sell a little piece of the color that makes them so unique.
Puppies, chickens, pigs, even water buffalo — Nothing is off limits when it comes to making some money at the markets. This poor guy was drooling it out in the vicious midday heat.
Babies strapped to the backs of their impossibly small, impossibly young mothers sleep serenely through the fevered negotiations, the shouts of merchants, the screech of chickens.
Richly-colored thread — now made in China — is sold to the locals so they can embroider their intricate designs. Every possible hue is available for purchase, and many craftswomen haggle for the tools of their trade in the dusty mid-morning light. Afternoons are spent eating, socializing, and googling at the tourists.
How to Visit the Bac Ha Market:
When: The Bac Ha market is only on Sundays, so plan your Northern Mountains Travel accordingly.
How: There are plenty of bus and tour connections available from SaPa. Booking a day in advance is best, since the market is a good 90+ minutes from SaPa town. Tours will take a full day, so plan accordingly.
Cost: It will vary, but about $19 should get you a day tour to the Bac Ha Market, with a village stop and a visit to the bustling Chinese-Vietnamese border thrown in as a bonus.
Why: Pick up our own piece of tribal art by getting a handmade throw or article of clothing. Each brightly-colored design is specific to the tribe of the craftswoman.