Bac Ha Market Sapa - Experience the rhythm of life in Lao Cai

Phuong Uyen - Updated July 20, 2019

Every place has its hidden pearl, and so does Bac Ha Market. It stands out as a cultural symbol of Lao Cai - the land filled with spellbinding sights.

Located in the northernmost of Vietnam, Lao Cai looks like a hidden gem with vivid colors from the cultural beauty of ethnic minorities. 

This area is famous for the fresh and serene atmosphere, the green mountains behind the white clouds, the stunning natural landscapes, and the picturesque villages.

Bac Ha Sapa Overview

Passing by picturesque villages on the way to Bac Ha market

During your memorable journey to Lao Cai, it will be a pity if you don’t spend time on exploring Bac Ha Market - one of the most colorful and vibrant Sapa markets (besides Can Cau market, Coc Ly market and Muong Hum market).

So here we will give you a detail Bac Ha Market Guide - just everything you need to know!

From Hanoi, you will have to take a 300-kilometer-drive to reach Bac Ha Market!

Table of Contents


1. An Overview of Sapa Bac Ha Market

Bac Ha Market is a fair in Bac Ha Town, Lao Cai Province, 100 kilometers from the center of Sapa.

The market is well-known because it retains its pristine appearance and beauty and bears the typical characteristics of the highland ethnic groups in Vietnam.

Bac Ha market in Sapa

Bac Ha Market is not just a place for commerce like other markets.

Since the establishment of Lao Cai province, this has been formed in Chau Bac Ha. Since then, it always meets only one session per week on Sunday.

In the old days, Bac Ha Market Sapa was held on a large and comfortable hill. But today, the market has been built nicely and divided into four main parts, including ​​brocade area, grocery and jewelry area, cattle area, and food area.

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2. Is Bac Ha Market Vietnam worth visiting?

Bac Ha market takes place every Sunday when the lanes fill to the choking point, and people flock in from the Sapa villages with a wide variety of items. 

When visiting, you will find yourself pleasantly overwhelmed by strange and unique products of ethnic people, and enjoy highland specialties, such as Thang Co, corn wine, rice wine, or triad tea.

In addition, when taking part in Sapa Bac Ha market, people have an opportunity to meet and talk with each other through commercial activities.

If you have the opportunity to see the market from above, you will be amazed at the breathtaking beauty of the market. The vibrant colors on the costumes of the ethnic people stand out in an area, which seems like a multi-flower garden in bloom. 

People in Bac Ha Market Sapa

Meet Sapa girls with beautiful smiles!

As a meeting point that cannot be missed every week, Sapa Bac Ha Market is full of smiles and happiness, with a splendid collection of products that are incredibly delicate and beautiful.

One of the most impressive charms that attract tourists is the rare ancient culture as well as the pure and simple lifestyle here.

When entering Bac Ha Market, you will feel like stepping into a fairytale and majestic world where you can see unrecognizable magical plants and animals.

After a while of shopping in Sapa market, watch the flow of bustling business people, you should stop by at a small shop. Enjoy the hot bowl of Thang Co, sip the cup of aromatic corn wine, and listen to somewhere the flute of the girls and boys calling each other. That feeling will surely be an unforgettable memory in your heart.

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3. Bac Ha Market Opening Hours

Bac Ha is a Sapa weekend market so you can explore this place from 7:00 a.m to 9 p.m every Sunday.

4. Top Things You Should Not Skip When Exploring Bac Ha Market Sapa Vietnam

Eat snacks

From 7 am, people have served goods around corners of Bac Ha market. 

When entering by the main entrance, visitors will immediately see a tremendous number of different cakes and candy presented on both sides of the road as well as in the market.

Snack at Sapa Bac Ha Market

Try it out! This is a good way to explore Bac Ha food!

All kinds of snacks in Bac Ha market are priced under 5,000 VND. You should try at least once these unique and delicious taste of snacks in Sapa Bac Ha Market.

Enjoy Thang Co

Thang Co, a traditional food of H’mong people, is a type of soup whose main ingredient is the horse. 

This dish usually includes meat, organs of horses, vegetables, and 12 unique kinds of spices such as Amomum Tsao-ko, cinnamon, lemongrass, ginger, “Thang Co” plant (a special taste named after this food’s name) and so on. 

In the past, H’mong people only cook Thang Co for special occasions such as Tet and crop festival. But now, when the tourism industry is developing rapidly, Thang Co becomes more popular and you can enjoy it whenever you visit Bac Ha Market Sapa. 

thang co at Bac Ha Market Sapa Vietnam

For many tourists, Thang Co is not only delicious but also is the representative of the ingenuity and cultural beauty of ethnic – H’mong.

A bowl of Thang Co costs about VND 30,000.

Have breakfast with sour noodles

Another famous delicacy of Bac Ha people is sour noodles.

The noodles here are not as white as usual but slightly brown, because they are coated from the special local red rice, grown in Lung Phinh commune. According to the people, this kind of rice cooks very hard, but when making noodles, it is soft and fragrant.

A bowl of sour noodles includes freshly-made noodles, char siu, finely chopped raw vegetables, peanuts, and a little sour water. 

Bac Ha Market noodle

Pho stall always crowded with locals and tourists coming here!

You need to pay 20,000 VND if you want to enjoy this delicious dish.

Try corn wine

One of the popular drinks of the Northwest region is Ban Pho corn wine - a specialty of H'Mong and Dao people in Bac Ha. The area selling corn wine concentrates right next to the walkway leading to the selling space of ​​brocade. 

Although not interested in this drink, you also feel lightheadedness when going over here and smell the aroma of wine yeast faintly.

Corn wine selling at Bac Ha Market Sapa

Before cook, corns will be hung on the rooftops for weeks - this is a special technique of locals here!

Buy ornamental plants, forest orchids, herbs, and precious medicinal plants

At the gate of the market is a sale of wild orchids with different types. Each orchid root here only from a few dozen to 100,000 VND. 

If you are an orchid lover, Bac Ha Market Sapa will fulfill your dream of discovery.

The medicinal plants such as ventricular, multiflorous knotweed, etc. are harvested by local people from all over the region and sold to many markets. It will be a great idea to buy these items as a gift for your beloved.

Also, you can find many kinds of jungle herbs there

Chat and take photos with local people

The local people in Bac Ha and around this land have a chance to go to the market each week to dress their beautiful clothes, go shopping, and trade-in available goods. They are willing to smile and share their exciting stories with you. Also, it is the way they share their happiness and love to life.

Taking photos with locals

If you want to keep the memories, don’t hesitate to talk and ask for a photo with these friendly people!

Buy Sapa souvenirs made from brocade

Local women in mountainous areas are usually good at weaving traditional brocade. Silk fabrics with rich colors and raised patterns they produce is an art. 

Firstly, they begin with harvesting silkworm cocoons and then reel the silk from the cocoons. The third step is dyeing the threads using natural colors, and finally, they bring their excellent product to markets and sell at reasonable prices.

Handmade brocade products from locals

All steps require expert hands and long experience with many time practice.

Bac Ha market Sapa has a large area only for brocade shops so visitors should pay attention to learn carefully when buying to avoid counterfeiting and poor quality goods.

Visit cattle and poultry market

This area is located at the end of Sapa Bac Ha market, on a high hill separate from the area selling brocades, dishes or fresh food. Here visitors can see people selling from dogs, chickens, pigs to buffalos. 

Dog selling places are often filled with passersby because, besides local people, many guests from far away also go there to find their pets.

Dog at Bac Ha Market Sapa

This cute dog is definitely worth the long journey!

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5. How to Get to Bac Ha Market From Hanoi

There are different options for you to choose when moving from Hanoi to Bac Ha Vietnam Market. 

Located about 70 kilometers from Lao Cai city center in Yen Bai direction and 300 kilometers from Hanoi, you can choose a passenger bus in My Dinh to go from Hanoi to Lao Cai or from Hanoi to Sapa and rent a motorbike to visit Bac Ha.

Or you can catch a coach directly to Bac Ha then move to other locations.

If you opt for the first selection, you can consider some companies like Sapa Express, Inter Bus Lines, etc. It takes about 5 - 6 hours from Hanoi to Sapa with over 200,000 VND per ticket.

From Sapa, after passing Coc Leu bridge, you go straight on Highway 70. You will see a clear signpost at Bac Ham crossroad; then you turn left to get to Bac Ha.

However, you also get to Bac Ha directly if you choose sleeper buses in My Dinh with about 15 - 20 USD / ticket. Keep in mind that you need to spend around 8 hours moving. It will be a long and tired duration; make sure that you are strong enough to withstand it. 

Private car fro Hanoi to Bac Ha Market

A private car will be the best mean of transport for family

If you seek for an easier and more relaxing way, let’s local experts from AZ Local Trip arrange your trip with best accommodations and transportations. Contact us or see some BEST Tours in Sapa now! 

6. Small Tips for Big Trip!

  • When wandering around Bac Ha Market, you should ask for the price before buying to avoid overpaying. 
  • Instead of high heels or tight pants, you should wear sports shoes, large cloth pants, and hats. 
  • If you don’t visit Bac Ha Market Vietnam in winter, it is not necessary to dress too warm clothes during the day (because at that time the temperature is not too low and you need to walk a lot). Just pay attention to wearing warm in the evening. Winter clothes, gloves, wool hats, and other warm accessories should be well-prepared.
  • You should bring a camera to keep the most beautiful moments in the lens; however, be polite by asking someone gently before taking a photo with them.

If you are in love with the brilliant colors of Bac Ha Market, don't miss out this place for your upcoming trip to Spa

For any further information, feel free to contact AZ Local Trip! We are happy to help you!

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