Travelers who have visited Sapa, a former French’s hill station in northern Vietnam, the colorful hill tribes and their weekly markets often recall them special impressions. On the market days, the steams of people of the mountain, coming from the mountains and valleys, flock to the market and make it an amazingly bustling place. Here Incense Travel introduces some of the famous mountain markets, where you can visit while you are in Sapa.
Coc Ly Market (Tuesday only)
On Tuesday you can visit Coc Ly Market which belong to Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province. This is a small gathering of Flower H’mong, Black Dao, Nung and Tay minorities. Among the goods for sale, you will find vegetables, livestock and local textiles, all the subject of some lively bargaining. We also recommend a boat ride along the Chay River followed by a short walk to the Tay minority village of Trung Do, although in July and August the boat ride is often not possible due to high river water levels.
Cao Son Market (Wednesday only)
Wednesday is market day in the hamlet of Cao Son, in the Muong Khuong District of Lao Cai Province. An early start is a must to reach this market, but we think it is worth it. The trip takes you through beautiful scenery ranging from tea plantations to pine forests, and on arrival you will find a bustling market packed with buyers and sellers from all the main communities who live in this area, including Flower H’mong, Phu La, Dao and Tu Di.
Relatively inaccessible until recently due to its remote location, this small market is arguably the most unspoiled markets in this area, and so comes highly recommended by Incense Travel. What it lacks in size is certainly made up for by the stunning rural location close to the Chinese border, along with the extremely photogenic display of traditional costumes from the White H’mong, Black Dao, Tay and Giay. This is also one of the best places to gain a true sense of the importance of the social role of these markets, as young and old take the opportunity to catch up on all of the local news and gossip.
Can Cau Market (Saturday only)
One of Vietnam’s most interesting markets, the small but unique gathering at Can Cau takes place every Saturday by the side of no. 153 road, which is the only one way to get to Si Ma Cai from Bac Ha town. Groups such as the Flower H’mong, Black Dao, Red Dao, Tay and Phu La come from near and far to trade and socialize with each other, and with their neighbors from across the Chinese border. The Flower H’mong in particular is known for their elaborate costumes, which ensure the market is always a riot of colors. Keen photographers will enjoy the chance to capture the picturesque scenes of local life, as well as the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
Bac Ha Market (Sunday only)
At every weekend with perhaps the most famous of all markets of this region, held at Bac Ba, around 3 hours from Sapa. Bac Ha is also voted in the top 10 of the most unique markets in South East of Asia. This huge gathering of minority people offers everything, from local produce to some of the intricate textiles and handicrafts for which the area is so well known. You can also see many other interesting facts of local life, such as the practice of traditional medicine or learn about how couples dating. This area has a particularly large Flower H’mong community, so called due to the bright and striking colors of their traditional costumes.
Where to stay?
Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa is a beautiful place, locating on a hill overlooking the Sapa lake and the famous Fansipan Peak. This tranquil hotel is the ideal venue for a those looking for great hiking during the days and comfortable stay at nights. Especially, the predominantly stone and wood interior decorations at the hotel reinforce the warm atmosphere of the chalet, as well as its colonial style atmosphere.
Contact Incense Travel luxury travel expert to customize a itinerary of your own, you can include Sapa and its market in your tailor-made Vietnam holiday.