October 2, 2016
Bac Ha Sunday Market
Bac Ha's market is frequented by roughly 10 of the local hill tribes and offers a large range of local produce and some tourist gifts. Many of the items are still hand crafted, unlike most other markets in SE Asia, where they are 'made in china'.
Ethnic Minorities: Take a look here for a brief description of some of the local minorities. While Sapa had many Black Hmong tribespeople, Bac Ha was home to the Flower Hmong, which wore much more colorful clothing.
Street Food: We stayed at a guesthouse which overlooked the market so it was easy for us to get to the market bright and early. We had read that many tourists come for the day from Sapa so it's best to arrive at the market before the hoards of people make their way in. We bought some street food--colorful sticky rice, fried purple potatoes, and other interesting things. We watched people butchering livestock in the market and people stuffing blood products into sausage casing by hand using a broken beer bottle as a tool.
Inside the Market: We bought a few souvenirs. The hand painted drawings we bought were from a lovely woman who made a point to tell us that we were the first sale of the day. Here, in South East Asia (similarly in Nepal), having an early sale is brings good fortune for the rest of the day. Many vendors will lower their price if it's their first sale because they think it will bring them higher fortune later on. We paid 30k dong per drawing whereas later we were being quoted as high as 200k dong per painting.