Visit Bac Ha in 1, 2 or 3 days, what to see and do?
- on Mar 19, 2020       By: BN
A mountain village located 3 hours drive from Sapa town, Bac Ha perched at more than 1000 metres above sea level is famous as the capital of the Hmong region and for its colourful market which is held every Sunday. If most travellers only go to Bac Ha for its weekly market, Bac Ha deserves an extension of its stay, especially for its magnificent hiking trails that rival in beauty with those of Sapa. So how long to stay in Bac Ha? Is it 1, 2 or 3 days?
What to do in Bac Ha in 1 day?
It is the duration most often chosen by travellers. This day allows them to discover the Sunday morning market which brings together very many ethnic minorities who came from the surroundings to come to trade. The dominant ethnic group in the region is the Hmong, recognisable by the flamboyant costumes elegantly worn by women. You can also meet the Giay, Han, Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phula, Tay, Thai and Thu Lao ethnic groups. The Bac Ha market is a large market that begins to come alive at dawn and end in the early afternoon. You will find there fruit and vegetable stalls, meats, herbs and plants but also tools, very famous rice liquor and traditional clothes. There is also a cattle market held by men. The market is also a means of meeting for these peoples, some of whom live in very isolated valleys. On the pretext of doing some shopping, some come to the market to find a soul mate. Men like to have a bottle of rice liquor and a few other local specialities.
If you cannot attend the Sunday market, you can go to the Can Cau market about twenty kilometres from Bac Ha which is held every Saturday morning. Smaller than that of Bac Ha, but it does not mean that this market is less coloured and interesting. Still, take note that it is less touristy than that of Bac Ha. Generally, discovering the market can be combined with a short walk in the surroundings and/or a visit to the Hoang A Tuong Palace, once considered the most powerful residence in the North West region. This little palace was started in 1914 and was completed in 1921, then it was given as a gift by the French for the chef Hmong Hoang A Tuong. We particularly appreciate the mixture of eastern and western architectural styles which gives the whole a very beautiful look.
What to do in Bac Ha in 2 or 3 days?
Choosing to stay 2 or 3 days at Bac Ha will allow you to discover more in depth this magnificent area. And to do so, nothing like setting off to conquer the many hiking trails to discover isolated villages of mountainous ethnic groups and exceptional landscapes. You can then reach the superb Ban Gia and Ta Cu Ty valleys which offer sumptuous rice terraces. The spectacle is magnificent in late September and early October when the rice fields are bright yellow and the rice harvest begins. In 3 days, you can do a 2-day hike with one night at the locals. A great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Staying a little longer in Bac Ha will allow you to discover certain ethnic markets in the region. There is a market almost every day. These include Coc Ly, Sin Cheng, Lung Khau Nhin, Cao Son or Muong Khuong markets. Going to one of these markets allows you to admire magnificent landscapes, especially when you go to the Coc Ly and Cao Son area with the Ly river which will give you a marvellous picture. These markets are more confidential, less touristy than that of Bac Ha or Can Cau. It’s a real pleasure to walk around and observe the intense commercial activity dominated by women dressed in their finest clothing.
>> Read more: Top 7 ethnic markets in North Vietnam
Which months to go to Bac Ha?
To make your stay at Bac Ha a successful one, we recommend that you favour the months of April, May, June, end of September, October and November. During these months, the climate is pleasant and from May to early October, you will have the chance to admire the beautiful rice terraces.
In February, although it can be a little cold, do not miss the flowering of plum and peach trees. We nicknamed Bac Ha the high white plateau because during the flowering of plum and peach trees, the town is then covered with white flowers. A superb spectacle much appreciated by both locals and foreign visitors.
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