Location: Sapa Market is in Sapa Town, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province.
Characteristics: This market of the H’Mong and Red Dao minorities takes place every Saturday night. The market is a place for trading and exchanging local goods and products, as well as a meeting place for young people who seek partners by singing love songs and playing pan-pipes and mouth organs.
When the sun goes down, the H’Mong and Red Dao boys and girls cluster together in groups of five to ten. Looking and smiling at each other, they sit side by side in the dim yellow light and sing and talk through the night. When they have met their soul mate, they exchange gifts and make plans to see each other again the following week.
This cultural activity has a long history and is still significant in the modern life of the minority people. The Sapa Market is an attractive place for visitors who are keen on exploring traditional cultures.
Bac Ha Market
Location: Bac Ha Market is in Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province; about 80km from downtown Sapa.
Characteristics: It is a trading centre and meeting place for couples, friends, and relatives every Sunday.
There are many trees around Bac Ha, and in the spring the countryside is white with blossoms.
Every Sunday, Bac Ha hosts the biggest fair near the mountainous highlands and the Chinese border. It is a trading centre and meeting place for couples, friends, and relatives, and it is a typical weekly activity for the H’Mong and other minority groups living in the locality. Local products for sale or barter are carried on horseback.
At the fair, adventurous gastronomes can try thang co blood porridge, a popular dish of the H’Mong and other local people.