Bac Ha ethnic market
Bac Ha ethnic market

Bac Ha - Lao Cai

Bac Ha is a district of Lao Cai Province in north-western Vietnam. For long, Bac Ha has been overshadowed by Sapa, a popular tourist attraction only 100km away. Some travellers to Sapa would take a day trip to Bac Ha for the colorful ethnic market on Sunday morning, when virtually all local ethnic groups get dressed up in their traditional costumes and travel to town for trading and for socializing. Bac Ha still preserves the untouched natural and cultural beauty.

Bac Ha Sunday market
The ethnic minorities gather of a market once a week every Sunday morning

Nowadays, Bac Ha is getting more attractive to the travellers who would like to stray from the well-beaten paths and touristy areas. There are various tours around Bac Ha ranging from trekking tours, motorcycling tours or easy sightseeing holidays. The trekking tours here provide you with ample opportunities to take in the breathtaking natural beauty and to take travel photos which are not often seen by other travellers. There are decent hotels with basic facilities in town. In the villages, there are ethnic families providing homestay experiences to the visitors.

Bac Ha Sunday market
Hmong ladies bring chickens and agricultural produce to the market

The plateau of Bac Ha has the average altitude of over 900m above sea level with cool climate all year round. The district is inhabited by 14 different ethnic minorities such as the Flower Hmong, the Phu La, the Tay, Nung, Dao... All of them maintain a lifestyle relatively off the mainstream society.

Bac Ha Sunday market
Broom sellers at Bac Ha Market

Tourist attractions in and around Bac Ha Town
The ethnic market on Sunday morning from 0630 A.M to 1200 P.M provides you with an opportunity to engage in the local life of different local ethnic groups who travel to the market by horse, on foot from early in the morning... They go to the market not only for trade, but also for socializing and even for meeting with their potential soul mates.

Hoang A Tuong Residence
: Hoang A Tuong was the chieftain of Bac Ha during the French rule in Vietnam. His residence was built in 1914 and completed only in 1921 with architecture like those of castles in Europe.

Ethnic villages
: Just outside of Bac Ha Town, you can have a walking tour to Na Lo Village (1km) and Pho Village (4km). Further from the town, there are Ta Trung Do Village (Tay), Ta Van Chu Village (Hmong), Lung Phinh,... The local communities here are just friendly and curious about foreign travellers visiting their village. Some villagers have taken part in courses on sustainable tourism and are good enough in making your stay with their family a great experience.

Bac Ha Sunday market
Joss-stick sellers at Bac Ha

What to do in Bac Ha
Trekking: Paradissa offers trekking adventures around Bac Ha with accommodation at hotels in the town or with homestay at various ethnic villages. The tours can range from 1 night to 3 nights.
Boat trips to visit ethnic communities: The Chay River offers boat trips to some ethnic villages around Bac Ha.

Bac Ha Sunday market
Shoe stand

Accommodation in Bac Ha
There are no luxury hotels in Bac Ha. In the town, there are decent hotels with basic facilities. For those who embark on trekking adventures in the region, you can have a great homestay experience with the local ethnic families.

Former residence of Hoang A Tuong
Former residence of Hoang A Tuong

How to get there
Bac Ha Town is 70km from the provincial capital of Lao Cai and 43km from Pho Lu Town. From Hanoi, you can take the road trip to Bac Ha which is 370km, the drive is 9 hours with good road condition. Alternatively, you can take the overnight train and get off at Pho Lu Train Station for further road trip to Bac Ha.

Pho Village (Flower Hmong) in Bac Ha
Pho Village (Flower Hmong) in Bac Ha