Located about 76 km from the train station, Bac Ha is a remote district of Lao Cai province. Bac Ha market which takes place every Sunday is famous for the originality and authenticity that the traders still preserve. One can reach Bac Ha market by booking a van or tour from Sapa, which is about 3 hours away.
It is not simply a place for buy and sell but also an opportunity for people from different ethnicities to come and meet, for relatives to reunite after a long time missing, for women to demonstrate their beautiful handmade traditional costumes and even for youngsters to find their dates. To reach the market, many ethnic vendors have to walk a long distance passing mountains and hills. Yet the distance has never discouraged them from joining the Sunday colorful market.
The main square where trading takes place is divided into smaller section, specializing in a particular product such as handicrafts, food, horse, poultry and blacksmith. Each has its own trait and worth joining. The town itself is rather dull for any country surfer but if you want a relaxing place to get away from the tourist crowd in Sapa, or simply fond of taking unique photos, Bac Ha can be your option. Most tourists get return tickets to Bac Ha by contacting the enormous number of tour companies in Sapa or Lao Cai. Tours to Sapa from Hanoi may or may not include the trip to Bac Ha market so check well in advance. Buses offered by these tours companies are of much better quality though with moderately higher price. It’s worth investing for the road is curvy and challenging, even after significant improvement.