For many years, the market has become an indispensable cultural activity in the lives of people in mountainous areas in Ha Giang. Market, or fair is not only a place to trade or exchange goods but also a cultural exchange of locals, representing the diverse and profound culture of the ethnic communities. Tourists who once visited the markets in Meo Vac, Dong Van, Quan Ba, Hoang Su Phi, Xin Man… can hardly forget the special features of the markets here.
Ha Giang is famous for its ‘backward’ ethnic markets which usually take place in the communes. These markets are called ‘backward’ as they are not held on a specific day of the week; instead, the gathering day will descend each week. For example, this week the market gathers on Sunday then next week it will take place on Saturday, and the following week on Friday, etc. However, the markets surrounding the district center usually take place every Sunday.
From the early morning, the Mong, Dzao, Giay, Nung, Lo Lo …gather to the market. Women in colorful traditional dresses carry heavy basket on their back. Local men bring chickens, pigs, horses or even the cows to the market. Although they have to walk a long way, their faces still show their joy and eagerness.
The goods sold in the market are quite various, but mainly are home-made, home-grown by the people here such as honey, mushroom, fungus, rice, corn, soybean, vegetables, brocade, etc… In some markets, people do not use money to exchange but use their products. They can exchange a chicken or dozens of eggs for a pickaxe or a pair of buckets, what is necessary for their daily life.
The busiest area in the market is the place for selling cattle and poultry such as chickens, pigs, dogs, horses, goats and cows.
In addition, the market also has the area of food stalls with steaming and aromatic Thang Co – a special soup cooked in a giant cast-iron pan containing lots of innards, bones, fat and meat from a cow, buffalo or horse. Locals go to the market not only to buy and sell goods, but also to meet and chat, drink a few shots of corn wine while gathering around Thang Co pot.
Joining these ethnic markets, visitors will feel the hidden beauty of local people and their cultural lives. Along with the majestic scenery of nature, the unique ethnic markets will surely leave unforgettable impression of Ha Giang in the hearts of visitors.
Below is a list of markets and their session that Vision Travel recommend for reference when travelling to Ha Giang:
In Dong Van District:
- Dong Van Central market: every Sunday morning
- Sung Trai market: days of Buffalo and days of Goat (lunar calendar)
- Lung Phin market: days of Tiger and days of Monkey
- Pho Cao market: days of Dragon and days of Dog
- Sa Phin market (near Hmong King’s Palace): days of Snake and days of Pig
- Pho Bang market: days of Mouse and days of Horse
In Quan Ba District:
- Tam Son town market: every Saturday morning.
- Quyet Tien market: every Saturday morning.
- Cao Ta Tung market (of 3 communes: Cao Ma Po, Ta Van, Tung Vai): every Friday.
- Trang Kim market: days of Goat and days of Buffalo.
In Yen Minh District:
- Yen Minh market: every Sunday morning.
- Bach Dich Market – There are two market sessions in a week including Bach Dich market or Milestone number 9 market (new milestone number 358) – Sunday morning at the border and Muong market on Saturday
- Du Gia market: every Friday morning.
- Duong Thuong Market: every Friday morning
- Mau Due market: every Sunday morning.
In Meo Vac District:
- Meo Vac market: every Sunday morning.
- Sung Tra market: every Saturday
- Niem Son market: every 5 days on the 5th , 10th , 15th , 20th , 25th , 30th of lunar calendar
- Khau Vai love market: once a year on March 27th of lunar calendar.
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