A Day at the Market – Bac Ha, Vietnam

Sugar Cane Stalks - Bac Ha, Vietnam
Bac Ha Market, Vietnam

Visually, we were blown away by Bac Ha market in northern Vietnam. During our winter visit, the women and their brightly-colored clothing provided the perfect contrast to the muted winter landscape. Most of the women who make the trek to Bac Ha market from their hill villages are from the Flower Hmong ethnic group. As you can see from our photos, they dress in colorful head scarves and beautifully embroidered skirts and tops.

This Sunday market attracts throngs of villagers from the surrounding hill tribes. Some walk several hours for the weekly opportunity to trade and barter food, animals, clothes and household goods. Most of the locals ignored us (i.e., tourists) and focused on the task at hand: buying, selling, and trading goods, as there’s much to accomplish in this once-a-week opportunity.

Young Indigenous Girl - Bac Ha, Vietnam
Young Indigenous Girl at Bac Ha Market, Vietnam

There was a brisk trade at the market for everything from hand-embroidered skirts to all manner of 4-legged animals, including water buffaloes, pigs, dogs and cows. The “fresh” meat section is not for the faint of heart and might steer more than a few visitors in the direction of strict vegetarianism.

Photo Essay – Bac Ha Sunday Market, Vietnam

Video of the Bac Ha Sunday Market, Vietnam


Arranging a Trip to the Bac Ha Sunday Market

How to get to the Bac Ha Market: Hotels in Sapa arrange tours to Bac Ha for around $10 per person, including transport, a guide, and drop off at Lao Cai to catch the train back to Hanoi. Take your motion sickness medicine before the minivan ride from Sapa…it’s a windy road and locals derive great pleasure from descending at breakneck speed.

Enjoy this?

Then sign up for more travel wisdom & inspiration from 8+ years of traveling the world.


  1. says

    Great post about a truly beautiful area, we were there last year and your pictures have brought it all back for me, they are stunning! I wish I could have spent a bit more time there but we were on a tight schedule unfortunately, I did a picture post about Bac Ha also, I’d love to get your thoughts.

    Aaron from HappytimeBlog

  2. Chris says

    It must be a wonderful place! The thing that I like most while travelling, is the opportunity to find places like the one you described in your post where tourist are just visitors, not a business opportunity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *