Bac Ha market is around 70km from Lao Cai and 108km from Sapa where tourists can visit an interesting market of the ethnic minorities in the region on every Sunday.
Bac Ha market is special and colorful. From very early morning, you can hear the footsteps of people walking to market, but the best time to explore this market is from 9h-12h. At the market, you can see lively picture of home-made and handmade stuffs like embroideries, cakes, rice wine, tobacco, farming tools or livestock such as water buffalos, dogs, cats, horses, etc.
The market is once a week and it is just like a happy day or weekly festival for women to talk, men to drink, the young to find future husband and wife. Bac Ha is definitely a must if you travel to Sapa during your Vietnam holiday.
In Bac Ha, there are a few mini hotels and guest houses which are basic, but comfortable enough with private bathroom, hot/cold shower, air-condition, fan and Vivutravel advises you to stay in Bac Ha on Saturday's night so that you have time to explore the market from early morning and surrounding villages.
Recommended hotels in Bac Ha: Sao Mai hotel, Ngan Nga hotel, Cong Fu hotel. You can also stay at a homestay with a local family.
Restaurants in Bac Ha: Local restaurants serve Vietnamese food such as rice noodles, fried rice, pork, beef, but it is recommended to eat as local at open market as it will be a an unforgettable experience.
What else to do: You can walk to visit palace of H'Mong King, Ban Pho village of the Nung and flower H'Mong minorities or if you have more time, Bac Ha is the base to visit Can Cau market on Saturday, Coc Ly market on Tuesday and extend your Vietnam discovery tour to Ha Giang, a hidden but beautiful northeast.
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Suggested tour itinerary - option 1:
Day 1: Hanoi - drive to Bac Ha (Saturday)
Day 2: Bac Ha - drive to Sapa
Day 3: Sapa discovery
Day 4: Sapa - drive to Hanoi
Suggested tour itinerary - option 2:
Day 1: Hanoi - drive to Sapa (Friday)
Day 2: Sapa discovery
Day 3: Sapa - drive to Bac Ha
Day 4: Bac Ha - drive to Ha Giang
Day 5: Ha Giang - Dong Van
Day 6: Dong Van - Bao Lac - Cao Bang
Day 7: Cao Bang - Ban Gioc - Cao Bang
Day 8: Cao Bang - Ba Be lake
Day 9: Ba Be lake
Day 10: Ba Be lake - Hanoi