Located about 60km from Lao Cai City, Bac Ha cultural market is held every Sunday in the center of Bac Ha Town. This is the biggest and most famous fair market of the border highland people. On the journey to Bac Ha you will admire the majestic mountains, chasms, meanders and terraced fields,etc. If you fancy photography and adventure, then perhaps this road is suitable to those majestic natural sceneries, etc. On the way, you will occasionally see people guiding horses and coming toward Bac Ha market, people have to go very early, even go from the previous day to reach the market by noon of the following day.
In particular, observing any shoulder basket of the market-goer, there always have the latest, most beautiful ethnic clothes. But they only put those on when reaching close to the market, and then they put on makeup, put on silver necklaces and bracelets,etc. because according to the concept of the local people, going to the market also means going out. The market is not only the site to buy and sell goods, but also a cultural and spiritual place to meet, exchange and confide. Crossing 60km of high mountain road, you enter the famous Bac Ha market where they sell all famous highland products such as: Shan tea, fruits, honey, wine, brocade dress and coat, silver jewelry, orchid, seedlings; or guide the horses, cows, pigs, or heavily carry corn and potatoes bags.
There are zones selling jewelry, brocade dresses coats and cloth, and charming rattan baskets. Right there, you can choose at your own the brocade products, be dazzled with the bright colors of dresses of ethnic women of Mong, Red Dao, etc. Those may attract visitors the most. In the noise of buying and selling, there are the boys’ pen-pipe (khen) sound and chants are like to charm the girls. Tourists coming to Bac Ha, especially foreigners, are very interested in new discoveries about the life and customs of the people here.
Participating in the vivid market will become less interesting and lack of the unique characteristics of Bac Ha market if you only visit the shopping area and forget that Bac Ha is also a place to explore the characteristics of the cuisine of the ethnic people,etc. There is nothing more interesting than coming Bac Ha and drinking wine with thang co dishes. “Thang co” dishes as well as wine are endless. Specialty wine of Mong people from Pho Village is well known by many people because of its alcoholic strength and characteristic taste.
Nowadays, under the trend of commercialization of highland markets, Bac Ha is one of the rare places which still retains the national identity and unique features of the old markets. Being in Bac Ha, you will not see the situation of forcing to buy goods,you onlymeet the simple people in colorful brocade clothes. Beyond the purpose of buying and selling, they come to the market to play and socialize with visitors. In the afternoon, the market begins to have fewer guests; then there appears the vivid image for visitors of drunk men faintly sitting on horseback, and women taking the horse to the village.
Additionally, coming to Bac Ha, visitors also have the opportunity to visit the Meo King Palace – Hoang A Tuong. This palace was started constructing in 1914 but completed in 1921. Over 100 years, the palace of the Meo King is still high and majestic and becomes a famous tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists. With the design of two French and Chinese architects, the palace is a mixture of Eastern and Western architecture. Nowadays, the authority has restored and renovated this palace for a formerdesign, but there are details of no originality. However, coming here, you will be able to see the intact memorabilia of Hoang Yen Chao. It is a set of truong ky (antique couches) and a Chinese hanging mirror.
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