Every Sunday the little town of Bac Ha in Northern Vietnam springs to life as the local hill tribes descend upon the city. The Market is one of the most popular in all of Vietnam, which is instantly apparent as vivid color surrounds you at every turn. The Flower Hmong, in particular, help to create one of the most dazzling displays we have seen. The market is a cornerstone of the community and plays a vital role in the lives of the locals. Droves of shoppers and merchants arrive at sunrise to trade any number of goods including animals, produce, textiles, crafts, and meat. This market is no secret, and most of the serious shoppers are done by 9 am; 10 at the latest. Buses of day-tripping tourist come from Hanoi and Sa Pa to see this spectacle, which interestingly enough start to arrive after nine. Bac Ha has more to offer than just the market, and my suggestion is to stay a few days and explore the countryside.
The easiest way to get to Bac Ha is to take the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cia. From there you can take the bus or any of the private transportation options. A taxi will cost you about 800,000 VND. Be aware if your intention is to take the bus for money reasons, it is advised that you wait and buy your ticket from the driver directly.
The market is at its best from sunrise until about 9 am when the tour groups start to arrive, making the market overly crowded. Looking to see the market at its best, you should come the night before and head out first thing in the morning. We recommend Ngan Nga Hotel. They have an excellent staff and as a bonus breakfast is included. For a room with a view, ask for 502, want something a little quieter get 507 or 508.