Friday, March 14, 2014

Discover Vietnam: Bac Ha Market, feast for the eyes!

Being a minority ethnic people market, the town of Bac Ha is famous for its Sunday market  which is a trading centre and meeting place for couples, friends, and relatives every Sunday.

Bac Ha Market 1

Every Sunday, Bac Ha hosts the biggest fair near the mountainous highlands and the Chinese border. It is the largest and most colourful market in the area and attracts throngs of villagers from the surrounding hill tribes. Some walk several hours for the weekly opportunity to trade and barter food, animals, clothes and household goods.

Bac Ha Market 2

80km from Sapa, Bac Ha Market is not only the place for buying and selling, but also a place for cultural and sentiment exchanging. On the market days, right from the early morning, all paths and mountain roads are full of people and horses pouring to the market. People usually sit in groups around a soup pan ("thang co") eating and chatting.

Bac Ha Market 3

Many different ethnic groups such as Flower H'mong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay and Nung minorities gather to buy and sell local products that cannot be found elsewhere. The market was very crowded, local products for sale or barter are carried on horseback. Besides the usual items like pigs, cows, chickens, and ducks, Bac Ha Market sold dogs.

Bac Ha Market 4

As dogs were available as cuts of meat, they were also available live, right next to the live pigs, chickens, and other livestock. There was a brisk trade at the market for everything from hand-embroidered skirts to all manner of 4-legged animals. The “fresh” meat section is not for the faint of heart and might steer more than a few visitors in the direction of strict vegetarianism.

Bac Ha Market 5

Though tourists were not in short supply, they were not the focus. Most locals paid little attention to them, rather choosing to focus on their business and the short Sunday-sized window of opportunity. Rounding the corner and pungent fumes of alcohol accosted your senses of smell, from corn whiskey, a Bac Ha specialty.

Bac Ha Market 6

At the fair, adventurous gastronomes can try “thang co” blood porridge, a popular dish of the H’Mong and other local people. The Flower H’mong minority is the most common here, and their colourful dresses makes is a beautiful sight.

Bac Ha Market 7

The potent moonshine is decanted by vendors from large white plastic jugs to used bottled water containers. If you doubt the ability of a vendor's hooch to peel paint or light your senses on fire, you can try a shot for free.
Bac Ha Market 8

In conclusion, I would like to mention here the comment by Mr. Ikuyo, a tourist from Tokyo (Japan): “The trip to Bac Ha Market was amazing! On the way, the scenery was beautiful and the local people were so friendly. I will come back again!”. Let’s once visit Bac Ha Market and you will be able to experience a wide range of different colorful ethnic minorities and more interesting things of life in the mountains...
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And Bac Ha Market Travel Video :

And Continue:

Hoang A Tuong Castle (Vietnamese: Lâu đài Hoàng A Tưởng), 300m from Bac Ha Market, is located in the heart of Bac Ha Town. It is a unique structure depicting combination of Western architecture and Oriental Feng Shui principles. The owner of this two-storey building is Hoang Yen Chao of Tay origin whose son is Hoang A Tuong. Hoang Yen Chao was a powerful local mandarin who safeguarded by the French colonialists. The Hoang A Tuong Castle covering an area of 4,000m² was built between 1914 and 1921 on a low hill overlooking the Bac Ha Valley. The two-storey building has a total floor space of 400m², entailing living rooms, bedrooms, meeting rooms, and an accommodation area reserved for maids and guards. On the place is a defence system with fortified walls and bunkers serving as watchtowers to spot movements hailing from all directions to the building. A relic of the French colonialism, the Hoang A Tuong Castle remains quite intact.

Hoang A Tuong Castle 1
Several years ago
Hoang A Tuong Castle 2
And Now
Hoang A Tuong Castle 3
Several year and Now

Bac Ha Temple is also located in Bac Ha Town. The temple is dedicated to Gia Quoc Cong Vu Van Mat – who brought fame to Bac Ha land and the nation’s northwestern border under the Mac and Late Le dynasties. On the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, a festival is held at Bac Ha Temple for the locals and people from far and near to pay tribute to Gia Quoc Cong, who made great services to the nation and the people. 

Bac Ha Temple 1

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