Nestled in the northern hills of Vietnam exists one of the best ethnic markets in all of Southeast Asia. Just 50km from Sapa, Bac Ha makes a good base to explore the northern highlands and hill tribal village. The town has a certain charm, unhurried and friendly atmosphere which is very different to Sapa. There are 11 hill-tribe groups that live around Bac Ha: the colourful Flower H’mong are the most visible, but other groups include Dzao, Giay (Nhang), Han (Hoa), Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phula, Tay, Thai and Thulao.

This Sunday market is a riot of colour and commerce, and while the influx of day trippers from Sapa is changing things fast, it’s still a worthwhile and relatively accessible place to visit. The ethnic minorities from surrounding villages and hills come by foot, by motorscooter, by horse, and by water buffalo to meet, drink alcoholic home brews (rice wine, cassava wine and corn liquor). The ruou corn hooch produced by the Flower H’mong is so potent it can ignite. There’s an entire area devoted to it at the Sunday market.

What To See:

Hoang A Tuong Palace


Can Cau Market


Muong Khuong Market


Ban Pho Village

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