My last day in the Sa Pa region was a Sunday. And the reason I stayed the extra night was a big local market in Bac Ha. Pick up was suddenly way earlier and at 7:30 After I had my usual Pho for breakfast
I was downstairs waiting for the guide. I met Marsha from the long trek in front of the hotel and the off we went, collecting other tourists along the way.
It was a three-hour ride to get to the market and once we arrived at Bac Ha it was clear that it was very popular.
Our guide led us through a side street to the market and walking there we passed the horses and the birds.
In this busy side street was our restaurant for lunch and from here on we explored the market by ourselves.
Marsha and I walked around together and we had our first stop after two minutes to a bean drink/dessert. It’s basically ice with red beans and then all kinds of jelly, shredded and toasted coconut, peanuts and more, topped with bean juice. Very tasty!
Other impressions from the market.
Look at this variety of greens/herbs.
When we passed the fish market we saw a customer choosing a fish. So if you’re squeamish please look away.
And here is one who got away. I didn’t know if we should say something but then I could see that the sales lady had already noticed the runaway. When we left the stall it was still alive.
At this market you get everything from buffalo to your next dress.
I tried one of these fried balls, it was not overly sweet and filled with a yellow bean paste. Yummy!
And other food stuff I didn’t try (so far).
Then we went back for lunch which was boring and bland after everything that we had seen at the market. So let’s just forget about it.
After lunch we stopped at a local minority village to see how the tribal families lived in the area. The house that we visited had one room, the sleeping area was quartered off by curtains but the rest was one big space in which they worked and watched tv. There was a small table, probably for the meals and homework, but only one chair.
A short bus ride later we got off at the Hang A Tuong Palace just north of the market in Bac Ha. It was swarming with the tourists but you still see the beauty of the building. Designed by a French and Chinese architect and built according to Feng Shui guidelines, the palace was the home of the ‘Kings of the north’. Father and son from a Tay ethnic people ruled the north with a 70% H’mong share. They exploited what the could but at least the palace is still left, now for everyone to see.
There was a small shop in the palace where I saw an old woman weaving.
Back on the bus we made our way to Lao Cai to catch the train. One last stop in Lao Cai for all though. What I hadn’t realized when I had arrived here three days ago was how close the Chinese border was. It was just across the river.
After the last stop three other girls and I got off at a small hotel near the train station, shared dinner and then took the night train back to Hanoi. Yours, Pollybert
PS: The food tasted how it looked, boring and bland again.