The colorful market of the Flower Hmong people in a symphony of colours.
Bac Ha (Bắc Hà) is a town and district in Lao Cai province, and many tourists from Sapa and Hanoi come here to visit the big Sunday market of the Flower Hmong people. The market starts on Saturday evening when there are several cultural performances and people sell tasty specialties. You can meet with the people of the local ethnic minorites from the neighborhood, mostly with the Flower Hmong and Tay. Bac Ha is also known as the “little Sapa“. About half the people here are the people from the Flower Hmong ethnic group and the rest is Tay, Dzao, Tu Zi, Nung, Phula, La Chi, Lo Lo, Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phu La.
Many tourists come only on Sunday – to visit the Bac Ha market.
Bac Ha is not as frequented by tourists as Sapa, except this Sunday Market. There is not as much tourist services provided. Bac Ha is suitable for trekking around the neighborhood and also with the children you can explore the cultures and customs of ethnic groups living here. If you like trekking, you can go to the Ta Van Chu village (about 10 km north of Bac Ha town, homestay is possible here), or you can visit the Thai Giang Pho, Na Hoi and Nam Mon villages.
Bac Ha is mainly a business town of the ethnic minority groups.
You will not find the breathtaking scenery and views of the mountains that are in the province of Ha Giang, but you can see a beautiful landscape full of hills and rice terraces. You can get here from Lao Cai town (the train from Hanoi stops here). From here you need to take a bus, the trip takes 2.5 hours. Every Saturday you can visit Can Cau market, this market is 20km from the town, it is a little bit of a smaller market. You can also go to the Tuesday’s market in Coc Ly, about 35 km from the city. In Coc Ly you can visit the local dam and huge Chay river, on which you can take a boat trip.
You can buy almost everything you can think of in Bac Ha market.
Villagers sell their animals (cattle, horses, pigs, and even dogs) and also the products of the local people. For example, different textiles, saddles for horses, bags, cushions, figurines and other handcrafted items. Most of the local people are from the Flower Hmong ethnic group. You can try local food in these markets in Bac Ha.
The Royal Palace of Hmong people – Hoang Tuong in Bac Ha.
A good option is to visit the village of Ban Pho, 2 km from the town of Bac Ha. Many Hmong flower people live in this village. In the spring plum trees are grown here and a lot of trucks come to purchase them and the people deliver these plums to other provinces. The Royal Palace of the Hmong people – Hoang Tuong is also located in the town of Bac Ha. It still retains the original architecture of the old time. The Royal palace was built by the Chinese in 1920 during the period of French colonization.
The palace was built in the Asia-European architectural style. Hoang Tuong palace was owned by father and son, Hoang Yen Chao Hoang Tuong, Tay ethnic people, who ruled and controled the area. Hmong comprise 70% of the population in this area. Hoang Tuong was king of the region and controled all business activities in the region, and people were subordinate to his government.
icon-exclamation-circle The Sunday market is one of the most visited markets in Bac Ha area. But there are also another ethnic markets in this area, check the map. When you want to visit these markets, you need to go with a motorbike or mototaxi. There are also other tens of ethnic markets in northern Vietnam, read article about ethnic markets.
How to get to Bac Ha:
From Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) by train – use a search engine of transport links on Baolau or 12go.asia, here you can buy train tickets to Lao Cai. You need to take a local bus directly from Lao Cai town to Bac Ha. If you stay in Sapa, use local and tourist buses to Bac Ha. There is no train connection in Bac Ha town.
From Sapa to Bac Ha by bus – several tour bus-operators go on Sunday market. You can ask at the hotel in Sapa, or some of them you will find on 12go.asia and buy e-tickets online.
You can also take buses from Hanoi to Bac Ha. Buses run from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi. The best time to arrive is on Saturday, the market of the Flower Hmong people starts on Sunday early morning.
🏡 Accommodation in Bac Ha and Lao Cai:
Bac Ha can also be a short stop if you continue to Ha Giang province. Bac Ha town offers hotels of lower category, guesthouses (Nha Nghi) but perfectly adequate for a few nights. Prices start from 8 Usd / per person.
➜ Accommodation in Bac Ha – AGODA.com
📷 Places of Interest in Bac Ha:
• The Sunday market in Bac Ha (every Sunday)
• The Fairy cave at the town of Bac Ha
• other markets in Can Cau, Coc Ly, Sin Cheng, Lung Phin, Muong Khuong
• Ban Pho village and Hoang Thu Pho district
• Coc Ly dam and Chay river
• The Royal Palace of Hmong people – Hoang Tuong
• trekking in the region (the villages of Ta Van Chu, Thai Giang Pho Hoi Na, Nam Mon)
Bac Ha – map: