The Simplicity and the Colours of Bac Ha Sunday Market, Lao Cai Province, Northern Vietnam
Visiting to tribal Sunday Market is such bringing yourself to a movie set with ethnic minority women attired in complex and colourful traditional dress, small little stalls, scruffy tents and umbrellas. This was totally a different world for people who already get used with city life.
The Tribal Market
Bac Ha Sunday Market is located in Lao Cai province and claimed as of the most attractive market in South East Asia. On every Sunday, various hill tribes from the mountainous district of Bac Ha such as Hmong, Zay and Red Dzao will present in this market. Every weekend, they need to hike or cross the mountain or hill by walk or on horse to bring their goods such as vegetable, sugarcane, fruits, wine and other jungle products to the market.
Besides, they are also selling buffaloes, cows, pigs, poultries, dogs and some exotic animals too. Not to mention, they are not only sell the dog alive as some of them are selling dog meat which is one of popular dish among local people.
The Bac Ha’s Specialty
Local wine and Chao Thang co (Horse meat soup) are among specialty in this market. The local wine was brewed locally and made from rice or corn and the alcohol level is stronger than common beer. Some says that, they are drinking like no more tomorrow and this is very common to see drunken man lying down or sleeping on the ground while the wife busy selling in the market.
Meanwhile, Chao Thang co is a specialty of Hmong people. This soup consisted of horse meat, blood and inner parts of the animal which the horse are slaughtered first at village before brought to the market and to be cooked by using large pan with firewood. According to local, they never wash the cooking pan to cook the Chao Thang co in order to keep the flavour.
Smoking stalls, Sugar Cane and Clothing
There are many smoking stalls can be found in this market with lots of tobaccos on the floor for sell. You also will see some bamboo pipe where smokers will come and squat besides puffing from the pipes before leaving with happy smiles. Besides, you will see a lot of sugarcane available in this market. Most of the merchants here need to cross or hike the mountain and hill with their buffaloes or horse. Having sugarcane can prevent them from dehydration and also as an energy source.
In this market also you can find many handicrafts and fabrics. This is including silver jewelleries, wood cravings, handbags and tribal traditional costumes. As a visitor, don’t forget to bargain before purchasing anything here. You can start your bargaining by asking for half from their starting price for a better deal. Barter system is still common for local goods. However, now they are gradually learn to sell their goods to visitors and make more money.
A Place to find Mr. & Mrs. Right
This is not a joke. Living in hillside and mountainous area make them have low chance to meet someone as a partner. So, attending this Sunday market is a good channel for them to meet potential husband or wife, sharing stories, making new friends besides to deliver their trading business. You can presume the ladies will put their best look and outfit for this once a week market in order to search for their Mr. Right.