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Hill Tribe Markets in Sapa

Every week, Flower Hmong, Dzao, Tay and Nung tribes gather at these markets to buy and sell goods and socialize. For visitors, these markets can be a great chance to glimpse the local life, though the booming tourism industry has turned many of them into tourist attractions.

hill tribe market

Muong Khuong Market (Sunday)
At this colorful market, you’ll stumble across people from the Flower H’mong, Black Zao, Nung, Pa Zi and Tu Zi tribes who inhabit the border district of Muong Khuong. Magnificent landscapes await with lush farmland, studded with tea plantations and fruit farms.


Bac Ha Market (Sunday)
There are 14 ethnic minorities in this area, with the Mong accounting for nearly half. Their signature handmade brocades are sold everywhere; you can even see village women sewing them in the market itself. Look for Tam Hoa plums, a local specialty, as well as the ubiquitous alcohol made from fermented corn.


Muong Hum Market (Sunday)
Situated along the Chinese border, this is the biggest cardamom market in the area. Ethnic minorities living up in the hills come down to sell cardamom and other spices, a trade that has been going on since French colonial times. For an unusual drink, seek out paddy rice brandy, made with unhusked rice from the Dao village of San Lung.


Coc Ly Market (Tuesday)
At this colorful mountain market, the Flower H'mong gather to exchange homemade products. Coc Ly is more remote than Sapa, so the dress and way of life is more traditional than in the larger centers. Here you will find fruit, vegetables, pigs and chickens for sale, in addition to colourful fabrics and traditional clothes. Buffalo, still widely used for agriculture in mountainous regions, are also sold here.


Cao Son Market (Wednesday)
Cao Son might be the most visually stunning part of Lao Cai province. With spectacular views of lush valleys and the mighty Chay river, it’s worth visiting as much for the scenery as for the market itself - a typical ethnic market selling all kinds of goods and produce.


Lung Khau Nhin Market (Thursday)
Hidden amongst the mountains and forests of the far north, about 10 km from the border with China, Lung Khau Nhin Market plays an important role in the spiritual life of local ethnic peoples such as the Flower H’mong, Black Zao and Zay, as well as those from smaller local ethnic groups like the Pa Zi, Tou Zi, Tou Lao. They live in small, isolated villages around this area; for them, the market is a critical social center.



Can Cau Market (Saturday)
This local market still retains its authentic atmosphere, with horses, dogs, cats, pigs and textiles on sale. Photo opportunities are endless; while you’re touring the area, make sure to try a glass of the local brew made from rice or corn.

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