This tour will offer tourists fond memories of experiencing daily life of ethnic minority, viewing the natural beauty and exploring special markets held by local hill tribes.
Can Cau market and Bac Ha market are the tow biggest markets in this region. Once visitors come here, they will be attracted by colorful clothing of the local as well as the specialties of this mountainous town.
Markets in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai not only give ethnic people a chance to meet socially, they're also a colourful experience for tourists who get to watch the locals at close quarters and perhaps take a trophy photograph.
The mountainous market fair is known for its colourful displays by various ethnic groups. Each one is a "living museum" of community cultural activities containing a group's unique culture. However, the impact of present-day markets and tourism development means many fairs in the mountainous northern province of Lao Cai are losing their pristine beauty.
Bac Ha market is located about 76km from the train station, about 3 hours way, it is a remote district of Lao Cai province and the market takes place every Sunday is famous for the originality and authenticity that the traders still preserve. It is not simply a place for buy and sells but also 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 costumers and even for youngsters to find their dates. To reach the market, many ethnic vendors have to walk a long distance passing mountain and hills. Yet distance has never discouraged them from joining the Sunday colorful market.
Location: Bac Ha Market is in Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province; about 80km from downtown Sapa
Can cau market
Sprawling near the banks of a river, Can Cau Market is a clearly defined shantytown, packed with crude stalls covered with thatched roofs. The start of a few simple settlements can be seen high above; many of whose residents now make their weekly pilgrimage to the market.
This tour will offer tourists fond memories of experiencing daily life of ethnic minority, viewing the natural beauty and exploring special markets held by local hill tribes. Can Cau market and Bac Ha market are the two biggest markets in this region. Once visitors come here, they will be attracted by colorful clothing of the local as well as the specialties of this mountainous town
Visit ethnic markets
Night 1: HA NOI – LAO CAI
8.00 pm: We depart Thien Tan Travel Sales Office to Hanoi Railway Station to catch the night train (soft sleeper with air conditioning) to Lao Cai.
Day 1: LAO CAI – BAC HA – CAN CAU MARKET (B, L, D).
5.00 am: Arrive in Lao Cai and be transferred by shuttle bus to Bac Ha, which gives yours eyes a massage with the endless blue sky and colorful terraced paddy field. The road is curved around the mountain and you will just go from one surprised to another. The further you go, the closer you are to the sky and to nature.
On arrival, you will stop by our office and leave your luggage and possibly take a shower in our partner hotel’s waiting room.
7.00 am: Have breakfast at a local restaurant, 9.00 a.m: Go to Can Cau market, set in the mountains near the Chinese border. Can Cau Market on Saturday have formed a kind of week end festival of local ethnic peoples in Bac Ha District. It's 20km North of Bac Ha and just 9km south of the Chinese border. There are peoples from some other tribal groups such as Black Zao, Tay, Zay to attend, but the colorful traditional costume of the Flower H’mong dominates this market, and their colorful dresses makes is a beautiful sight. Combining the market activities with visiting to some tribal villages set amongst beautiful nature for new culture discovery the trip is really memorable and yields good chance for photo hunters. Travel is often made by horseback as a way of carrying the heavy loads to and from market. Can Cau also attract a large number of Chinese traders, evidenced by the booming dog trade here. Not as the Bac Ha Sunday Market and the Coc Ly Tuesday Market, Can Cau market is held every Saturday. Set in the mountains, the market attracts tourists also because of the cool weather in the summer, the surrounding immense terraced fields, and the rolling pine forests.
In the afternoon: 1.00 p.m: Have lunch at local restaurant, 2.00 p.m: Back to Bac Ha and check in Hotel in Bac Ha. trekking to Thai Giang Pho village, this place was airport of French during the war. 7.00 p.m: Have dinner and walk around Bac Ha town. Overnight at Bac Ha.
Day 2: BAC HA - SAPA (B, L, D)
In the morningg 7.30 a.m: After having breakfast, go to visit market market, all the activities of the locals are just natural and they enjoy eating ice creams, checking out and bargaining various things, talking with each other, eating noodles and "thắng cố" food which are a mixture of all parts of horses and drinking corn wine. For local men, Bac Ha market is also a place where they gather to drink together. Wine can be considered as a specialty of the H’Mong people. In the market session, you may hear the sounds of traditional songs and musical instruments of the local boys and girls. Foreign tourists are especially excited with the daily lives and the custom of hill tribe people. In the commercial age when most highland markets are influenced by modern style, Bac Ha is still a traditional market which reserves its unique features. This is a great place for those who love nature and love to explore the local traditional characteristics of the friendly hill tribes.
In the other area of the market, there are horses, buffaloes, pigs and even dogs on sale. The pigs raised on the farms are of small size. You can see a man holding the tail of a buffalo when asking the owner something in their local language.
12.00: After spending the whole morning exploring the market, your lunch will be served in a local restaurant.
In the afternoon: 1.00 p.m: Leave the market for the H'mong King's house (King Hoang A Tuong) built by the French colonists and the Chinese in 1920. It is a unique construction work, which harmonizes the Asian and European architectural styles. Over 80 years of existence, the old palace still stands imposing and outstanding in the town center. Its owner was Hoang Yen Chao of Tay origin. He was the father of Hoang A Tuong, a tribal mandarin under the domination of the French colonialists.
2.00 p.m: Spend time visiting another village (BanPho village, 4km from the market) and visit a couple of houses of H'mong people. In the kitchen of one house, the guide will explain how to make corn wine and in another house the owner will invite you to try this wine.
3.00 p.m: Say good bye to BacHa and get back to Sa Pa. On the way back, drop in to see the Vietnamese and Chinese Harbor Mouth in Lao Cai.
6.00 p.m: Arrive Sa Pa, check in hotel in Sa Pa and have dinner. Overnight in Sa Pa
Day 3: SAPA – LAO CHAI – TA VAN – BAN HO – HA NOI (B/L/ D)
In the morning: 7.00 am: Have breakfast at the hotel, 9.00 a.m: take 7 km by jeep to Lao chai, the first part is on the road but we soon turn to the right and walk on a small path down the valley to the Muong Hoa River along Y Linh Ho valley and from here lead to the Black H’mong village Lao Chai. There we are experiencing the richest traditional culture of Black H’Mong people in the region. The trekking route offers a breathtaking view of vegetable gardens and rice terraces with green mountains rising above. There will be time for visiting with local families and learning about their traditional fiber processing
10.00 a.m: After this you continue to Ta Van village (1.200 m) to visit Zay people. Zay is a fairly small minority group of about 38.000 people who live mainly in the mountains in Northwest Vietnam. Ta Van is a small village set within a picturesque valley not far from the northern Vietnamese mountain resort of Sa Pa. The area is renowned for its colorful ethnic minorities, and Ta Van is home to two such groups, 12.00: Picnic Lunch by the side of the river.
In the afternoon: 1.00 p.m: Take the bus back to Sa Pa. Take a walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black & Flower H'Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, vegetable, bamboo shoot, mushroom, medicinal herbs and souvenirs……
Tip from Thientan travel:At your free time, you could go up to Ham Rong peak where you are able to experience a stunning vista over the charming Sapa town. This is a great chance for some unforgettable photos! This is recommended for the good weather afternoon only (Entrance fee is not included).
6.00 pm: Back to Lao Cai Station.
7.00 p.m: Dinner at Lao Cai station.
8.20 p.m: Night train back to Hanoi
5.00 a.m: Tour ends at Hanoi Railway Station.