The mountain markets in Ha Giang: the colours of the karst mountains
- on Dec 31, 2019       By: BN
Among the large and small markets that dot the rugged landscape of the extreme north, there are some in particular whose uniqueness demands a stop during your trek in the mountains. Note this for yourself if you have the idea or desire to explore some of the colourful markets in Ha Giang, the true places of tradition of seventeen ethnic groups.
Mountain markets are usually held once a week. Note that most of the mountain markets in Ha Giang are weekly, and there are four that stand out. Simply put, these are the "cho lui" literally meaning the markets which fall by one day each week. Held every six days, this kind of market hardly exists anywhere else in Vietnam. If you go there on Saturday this week, it will be on Friday in the next week. Follow us to not miss anything about the small mountain fairs bursting with colours and tradition.
Whatever its size and activity, a mountain market awakens from early morning around 5 a.m. and continues normally until 3 or 4 p.m. in the afternoon. On a motorbike, on foot or with your horse carrying very small things, you set off in the misty sail to the market. Alone, with family or friends, everyone prepares for the meeting of the week with anticipation. In the company of a rooster, scarves, knives, bundles of vegetables or even a sounder of pigs, people come here to exchange poultry and small materials for family production.
Recognisable from afar, the women and girls of the Hmong, Dao and Giay ethnicities parade along the dirt roads with their shimmering traditional costumes. We may meet a man from time to time who is more or less drunk, on his way back from the market. Like other mountain regions, the markets in Ha Giang are a place to live, socialise and meet ethnic inhabitants.
Dong Van market, one of the liveliest in Ha Giang
Weekly market calendar in Ha Giang
+ Trang Kim market, Quang Ba district, ends around noon.
+ Quyet Tien market, Quan Ba district
+ Coc Pai market, Xin Man district
+ Ma Le market, 10 km from Dong Van district
+ Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac and Hoang Su Phi markets which are located in the eponymous districts.
Having a drink between men at the local market is a custom
4 specific weekly markets
Lung Phin, Sa Phin, Pho Bang and Pho Cao stand out from the rest because they take place every six days. Like the locals, one can very well rely on the lunar calendar to know when to go to these markets which are found only in Ha Giang.
Lung Phin market: tiger and monkey day.
Sa Phin market: snake and pig day.
Pho Bang market: mouse and horse day.
Pho Cao market: dragon and dog day.
Lung Phin Market
Where and when? 35 kilometres from Dong Van village and 15 kilometres from Meo Vac village, it is accessible via the 4C axis connecting Dong Van, Meo Vac and Yen Minh. Active from 4:00 a.m. to 3 or 4:00 p.m., Lung Phin is one of the tallest and bustling markets in Ha Giang.
You can meet many inhabitants of a dozen clans living in Ha Giang, such as the Hmong, Dzao, Tay, Lolo...
Local specialities: mint honey, Lung Phin tea, corn alcohol, dried beef, thang co or local soup and brocade.
Sa Phin market
Where and when? 140 kilometres from the county town of Ha Giang, it is on the way to the famous residence of the Hmong king. You should come early because it starts very early and empties around 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
You will mainly meet the Hmong there.
Local specialities: daily foods and medicinal plants are sold there.
Pho Cao market
Magic bracelets are supposed to cure any disease
Where and when? 25 kilometres from Dong Van village, along the national road 4C. It is in full swing early and ends at noon.
You will mostly meet groups of four ethnic groups, Hmong, Dao, Chinese and Pu Peo, who inhabit the terracotta houses with the typical yellow walls.
Local specialities: corn alcohol, soy, man thau cake of Chinese style cuisine, five-colour sticky rice and brocade.
Pho Bang market
Where and when? It is located in Dong Van district, near the border between Vietnam and China, some 120 kilometres from Ha Giang city and 5 kilometres from the Yen Minh - Dong Van loop. Uncrowded compared to other Ha Giang markets, it is held until noon.
You will meet there the Hmong and Chinese especially who populate the quiet borough of Pho Bang. The colours and smells of the stalls put on the ground are enough to brighten up the mountainous village even more.
Local specialties: brocade, wild honey, sticky mountain rice, soy, corn...
The special market of the year: Khau Vai love market
Of course, these are the places where we go to do our shopping, but the mountain markets in Ha Giang are also meeting places for future and ex-lovers. This is another story that fills your curiosity with the legend of the Khau Vai love market. It welcomes you to its traditional festival held on the 27th of the 3rd lunar month which falls this year on the 19th of April.
on 28 Feb, 2021
on 28 Feb, 2021
on 27 Feb, 2021