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Culture, Photography, Travel

An Afternoon in Bac Ha, Vietnam

Bac Ha is a quiet highlands town in northern Vietnam, about 120 km from Sa Pa. On Sundays, a market transforms this once peaceful place into a crowded bustling center of commerce. There are 10 different Montagnard (Hmong) ethnic groups scattered around this area of Vietnam’s northern highlands and every Sunday they come together to buy, sell and trade everything from dogs and water buffalo, to corn-made moonshine and ethnic garb.

Haven’t experienced a market quite like this one before. Tourism hasn’t yet tamed it down. It was raw, uncensored and truly beautiful.

Travel Tip: If you plan on spending some time in Sa Pa and have a flexible schedule, try arrange your departure date to land on a Sunday. This way if you catch the night train back to Hanoi, the bus can drop you off at the Lao Cai train station after the tour to Bac Ha Market. The trains usually don’t depart until after 8:00 p.m. and this gives you a busy day trip to ensure a good nights rest on the train.


10 thoughts on “An Afternoon in Bac Ha, Vietnam

  1. Great photographs! I like the fact that local people still wear their traditional cloths. So colorful and original.

    Posted by Bama | January 23, 2012, 8:42 AM
  2. wow… i love raw emotions.. this is great

    Posted by Robi Jiz | January 23, 2012, 9:02 AM
  3. the colors are incredible and the portraits are b-e-a-u-tiful!! did you guys buy anything? perhaps a chicken to take along on your scooter?

    Posted by ashnjames | January 23, 2012, 5:23 PM
  4. Good pictures. Normal life. Very colorful. I hope you asked permission from them to take the pictures.

    Posted by Francis Lemke | January 24, 2012, 11:18 AM
    • Thanks! Yes, we asked for permission. The guide actually told us not to ask for permission and just go ahead and take the pictures anyway. The reason being, he said, is that they’re not going to understand what you’re saying and will probably just shake their heads no in confusion or because they don’t understand. But yeah, when Ashley approaches a person with the camera she gestures at the camera and smiles and they understand what’s being asked and generally they’re ok with it. If they are not, we smile and walk away.

      Posted by B. Lemke | January 28, 2012, 9:56 PM
  5. LOVE the sequence of he little girl eating.

    Posted by Jessica Clausnitzer | February 1, 2012, 6:32 AM
  6. yes, i love the baby!

    Posted by Lan | February 9, 2012, 12:35 AM
  7. What wonderful photos! Gorgeous. Those women are so beautiful. I love all of their colors and their baskets. :)


    Posted by thewanderingballoon | March 19, 2012, 10:36 PM

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