The huge fair usually held on weekends in Bac Ha is an interesting cultural meeting point for both domestic and foreign tourists when visiting Lao Cai province.
Let’s discover the special Bac Ha Fair Market
Bac Ha Cultural Market is held every Sunday in the center of Bac Ha town, Bac Ha district, Lao Cai province, about 60 km from Lao Cai city. This market is the most famous and largest in the Northwest highland border area.
I first heard about Bac Ha fair market from the introduction of a friend living here. In my spare time on weekends, I would catch a local bus to travel to the Northwest mountains, experience the simple and rustic life of local people here, and of course, capture the fascinating cultural beauty of this land in lenses.
My first impression of the market was the bustling, colorful and bold atmosphere of the upland area. Many different ethnic groups flock in to purchase and exchange of goods, forming a rich diversity of identity. Highland traders and ethnic women, mothers and girls go to the market in their colorful traditional brocade costumes, creating a unique feature of the market.
The thing I remembered most about this market is when I was holding up my camera and trying to take a photo of some old ladies selling hot sticky rice but also being chased away by them. However, I still stubbornly took a photo of an old lady opening the lid of a steamed sticky rice box. The photo made me feel warm in the cold winter of the highland.
Visit Bac Ha fair in the early morning, you will be amazed by the idyllic landscape here when the morning light shines gently on the costumes of the locals and colorful upland goods.
Each corner of the fair market has its own charm. A wide variety of traditional items from animals to objects are all for sale. Of all my visits to the Bac Ha fair, I was especially impressed by the horse market. The horses here are traded as the main means of transportation for many ethnic minority groups.
Besides, dog market is one of the busiest places in Bac Ha fair. The mischievous, chubby mountain dogs are waiting for their new owners here.
Tourists visiting Bac Ha market certainly cannot ignore the vivid souvenir stalls. When leaving the fair, every guest will bring back a few small gifts as a memorial of an experience trip into the Northwest mountainous culture.
Foreign tourists particularly love dolls in traditional costumes of the ethnic groups.
Brocade stalls sell all kinds of handmade products and clothes made by highland mothers. Visitors can buy an ethnic costume, colorful woven towels, and blankets as gifts for your friends and relatives.
Silver jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are indispensable items in the traditional costumes of many ethnic minorities living in Lao Cai. These silver items are all handmade.
Ethnic children with blond hair, red cheeks, and blotchy faces following their mothers to the market is a common image in Bac Ha fair.
Although it is a cultural market area, the local people’s activities still occur as normal.
The largest fair in Lao Cai attracts many international visitors to come and experience. For me, Bac Ha fair is always charming with the bustle, simplicity, colorful and boldness of the Vietnam Northwest highland.