I remember Can Cao market as one of the highlights of our Vietnam trip. When in North Vietnam, visiting a farmers markets is a must. It is a great way to experience the daily lives of the local hill tribes. The sounds, the smell, the colors, the faces… this sticks to your memory.
Hill tribes from surrounding villages, such as Flower Hmong, Red Hmong, Black Dao, Nung, Dzay and Tay, come to the weekly market and dress up at their best. Since homes and villages are spread apart and lack supermarkets, market day is an important event in the mountainous area around Lao Cai and Sapa.
Local men wander around, looking to buy or sell some new life stock, including Oxen, pigs, ducks, etc. Ladies in all kinds of ages try to sell vegetables, fruit, herbs, dried fish, fabrics in all colors, clothes, handicrafts, etc. The perfect opportunity to get yourself a handmade, unique souvenir like a scarf, purse, apron or dish for example. So do not forget to bring cash!
I do not consider myself a real photographer but I found this market really a nice place to take photographs. I hope the photo gallery below will give a good impression of what it is like to wander around a local market like this. Get ready for some good old people watching, one of my favorite hobbies!
Can Cao market is an authentic market held every Saturday. We saw only a few other tourists. The market of Bac Ha, held on Sundays, is well-known, larger and attracts more tourists. Other local markets worth visiting are Po Sa on Mondays and Cao Son on Wednesdays. On Wednesdays there is also the Sin Cheng Market, 1 hour from Bac Ha.
Come early and spend a few hours to watch the market unfold. Don’t come too late; these markets are mainly in the morning.
Have you been to a local market in Vietnam? What is your favorite photo of this colorful, vibrant spot?
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