When you wander on a Ha Giang road trip, you will enjoy the charming scenery of Vietnam, with majestic mountains and romantic rivers. In addition to the beauty of nature, this place has a strong traditional national identity with unique Ha Giang markets.
Ha Giang markets not only attract the attention of curious tourists but also provide them with insight into the daily lives of local people. Furthermore, visitors can find many traditional specialties of the Northeast region in these bustling markets. Below is a list of the 5 most beautiful markets in Ha Giang for everyone to visit in their upcoming journey.
Because Hoang Su Phi market is located in Vinh Quang town, Hoang Su Phi district, Ha Giang province, this place also has another name: Vinh Quang market. Through many generations, the Hoang Su Phi market is one of the oldest events with an age of over 200 years.
Hoang Su Phi market takes place early on Sunday morning, only once a week, and starts at around 4 a.m. Local people will sell their goods along Vinh Quang town road with a length of several kilometres. So from early morning, tourists in Ha Giang can see ethnic people carrying goods to the market on time.
When visiting the market, visitors will discover the daily lives of the majority of the Tay, Nung, Dao, and Mong ethnic groups. During the bustling market day, they will wear traditional costumes, exchange goods, and interact with each other.
In addition, the market is also a place to meet and make friends with people in the surrounding areas. Because the high mountains are divided by many rivers and streams, houses are extremely sparse. So, they can rarely meet and talk to each other.
Hoang Su Phi market in Ha Giang
With the complex terrain typical of rocky-mountains, visitors should travel to Hoang Su Phi by motorbike or manual clutch to ensure trip safety. Ha Giang also has many places to rent self-driving motorbikes with prices around 180,000 VND - 600,000 VND/motorbike, depending on the type of vehicle.
Hoang Su Phi market will take place in the centre of Vinh Quang town. So, you can easily participate by following these instructions: From Ha Giang city centre, go back on Highway 2 and go to Tan Quang town, then turn onto DT177 road to get to Hoang Su Phi.
Delicious food is one of the factors that attract visitors to Hoang Su Phi market. When entering the market, visitors will smell the delicious flavours of grilled dishes, and behind them are many types of Ha Giang specialties at affordable prices, only from 25,000 VND - 30,000 VND/dish. We can mention Thang co, Thang den sweet soup, Bac Me bamboo rice... with typical appetizing flavour.
Nung ethnic girls bring jewellery down the mountain to trade and exchange, which is also a unique point that attracts tourists to the Hoang Su Phi market. They dress in colourful costumes and wear jewellery on their heads, necks, or anywhere on the body so that customers can easily see them. The girls will walk along the market area to sell them.
In addition, visitors can also witness with their own eyes the scene of Mong and Dao ethnic girls carrying vegetables, corn, cassava, and dozens of chickens from their homes to the market. In particular, the chickens are all extremely firm and naturally raised wild chickens.
Women are mainly those who participate in business in the Hoang Su Phi market, so it is difficult to find wine stalls like those in the Meo Vac market. Instead, visitors can easily encounter handwoven brocade fabrics when exploring this Ha Giang tourist destination. Usually, it will include indigo fabrics of the Tay and Nung people and Mong ethnic costumes. Because of these characteristics, Hoang Su Phi is considered the cradle of Vietnamese brocade art.
The closer you get to the main road, the easier it will be for you to see the boys of Ho Thau commune selling mountain goats. This place also sells specialties such as black chicken and Lon Cap Nach - pigs “carried under arm”. Sometimes they will run riot when someone comes to see the goods. Not only that, the typical cardamom scent of Mong girls in San Xa Ho commune also makes tourists want to visit again and again.
If Hoang Su Phi market is the oldest, Meo Vac is the largest market in Ha Giang province. Every year, this place welcomes many domestic and foreign tourists. Located in Meo Vac town, this market is steeped in the traditional culture of the Dao, Mong, and Lo Lo ethnic groups.
To have the opportunity to experience interesting things at Meo Vac market, visitors should prepare early because the market starts operating at 4 - 5 a.m. The market's operating hours are regular every week on Sunday mornings.
For young people, self-driving motorbikes are the most popular means of transportation to explore the Meo Vac market. Tourists rate this motorbike rental price as cheap, ranging from 100,000 VND to 500,000 VND/vehicle. So, according to our Ha Giang travel experience, you should ask someone with a strong handlebar to drive. Or you can use a driver rental service to have a safe trip.
A day of Meo Vac market in Ha Giang
From the city centre, you can choose 1 of the following 3 itineraries to participate in the famous Ha Giang Meo Vac market:
The first option is getting to Meo Vac market from the city centre. This can be done by driving along Highway 34 to Meo Vac town centre, then continuing along the road for another 400m to reach the market. The total estimated travel time is 4 hours 35 minutes.
Another option to get to Meo Vac market is from the city centre to follow Highway 4C, go through TL182, then continue on TL176 and end with DT182 road into Meo Vac town centre. After that, you can continue going the same way with an estimated travel time of about 4 hours and 45 minutes.
The last way to get to Meo Vac market is from the city centre, go along Highway 34, pass TL176, and then continue on DT182 to reach the medical station of Meo Vac town. Here, you turn right and continue straight for about 850 metres to reach the market. Estimated travel time is 5 hours 10 minutes. This distance will be the longest, so you need to consider carefully before departing.
In addition to the crowded atmosphere, specialty cakes also make visitors unable to take their eyes off when traveling to Ha Giang. The market mainly sells grilled corn cakes and donuts. The cakes are prepared by local people according to secret recipes with fresh ingredients from the fields that you will never forget.
And these fragrant cakes are often used by men with a little fermented corn wine. After harvesting corn from the fields, people will ferment them with more than 20 typical forest herbs for a minimum of 6 months. Then, when arriving at the Ha Giang market, ethnic women will store wine in giant 20L white cans and sell it. Before deciding to buy, you can taste the wine.
Right behind the wine bar is the livestock and poultry trading area. The farmer will tie a rope or carry dogs, chickens, pigs, etc. under his arm to exchange. Buffaloes and cows will wear bracelets to mark them.
In addition, women certainly love the stalls selling traditional costumes. They have quite eye-catching colours and extremely meticulous handmade embroidery. Along with them are silver jewellery accessories sold everywhere. These are definitely the most suitable gifts to buy as souvenirs.
If you come to Ha Giang market, you should taste Thang Co - the soul of the cuisine of the rocky plateau. In addition to the internal organs of buffaloes and cows, the dish will be simmered with many wild herbs such as lemongrass, Doi seeds, and cardamom…, creating a new rich flavour. People often eat it with a little wild vegetables to avoid cloying one's appetite.
Located in the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, Dong Van market is located in a prime location so it is very well known. Specifically, the exact location is in Dong Van Old Town. Since ancient times, this place has been considered the largest exchange, trade, and cultural point in the province. In addition, this Ha Giang market showcases the unique cultural beauty of some ethnic minorities in the North.
Built between 1925 and 1928, the Dong Van market is designed in a U shape, making trading convenient. In addition, this market also retains a bold Vietnamese-Chinese style with large pillars that have stood firmly for decades. The beams and pillars are decorated with meticulous and intricate patterns.
The market sessions take place every Sunday morning and last up to 8 hours, and this is one of the earliest market sessions, starting at 5 am and ending at 1 pm. However, because the market attracts a lot of tourists, people will start packing up their stalls around noon. Therefore, visitors should come early to fully experience this Ha Giang market. Besides, this is also the gathering place of many ethnic groups such as Dao, Mong, Tay, Nung, Giay, Lo Lo...
Selling cows at Dong Van market in Ha Giang
At Dong Van market, tourists not only enjoy the bustling trading atmosphere but also have the opportunity to experience unique activities such as exchanging, making friends and even going on dates with many local couples. According to our Ha Giang travel experience, this event is almost only found at Dong Van market.
When visiting Dong Van market on the 14th, 15th, and 16th lunar month, visitors will experience many unique cultural activities of ethnic groups such as bird fighting competitions and traditional brocade weaving performances. In addition, the ceremony is also accompanied by a savoury party, where visitors can enjoy a delicious glass of corn wine and a Thang co dish.
The region's typical dishes not only attract the attention of tourists but are also highly appreciated for their taste. Many dishes such as Thang co, au tau porridge, corn wine, pancake with egg rolls, five-colour sticky rice, Bac Me bamboo-tube rice, and buffalo meat often run out of stock quite early. Besides, Ha Giang specialties bought as gifts will quickly become difficult to buy.
You will experience the beauty of traditional costumes when visiting the brocade fabric sales area. Here, each stall will have typical ethnic costumes with prices ranging from 300,000 VND to 1,500,000 VND, depending on the material and embroidery on the fabric.
Fresh agricultural and poultry products, such as pigs and chickens, can also be found in the area behind the clothing stalls. This is a product that people bring from home to sell so it is extremely guaranteed. Besides, visitors also have the opportunity to witness the extremely interesting and novel exchange of goods and things for things instead of using currency like everywhere else.
Quan Ba market has become a familiar destination for tourists when they visit Ha Giang. Located in the center of Tam Son town, this market attracts tourists with fresh agricultural products, specialty foods, and traditional costumes. In addition, unique cultural activities are also held in parallel with the market.
Local people at Quang Ba market in Ha Giang
Quan Ba market is held every Sunday morning. The time from 6 am to 7 am is the most exciting time, when everyone, from old to young, male or female, participates in buying and selling activities at this Ha Giang market. To fully experience this market, visitors need to pay attention to the time of their visit so as not to miss this opportunity.
Typical products of the Lo Lo, La Chi, Nung, Dao, Mong, Tay... ethnic groups are sold on stalls, attracting the attention of domestic and foreign tourists. However, the stalls are just small shacks built from bamboo, extremely simple and rustic like the people here.
When coming to Quan Ba Ha Giang market, tourists often choose clothes, dresses, and brocade scarves as souvenirs. Colourful, hand-woven head scarves and brocade bags with elaborate patterns are always popular items among women.
On your journey to explore Quan Ba market, don't miss the typical culinary area. Dishes, such as quiche dipped in honey, five-colour sticky rice, Men men, donuts, and rice flour cakes wrapped with meat, all have their own unique recipes and affordable prices. From only 5,000 VND to 50,000 VND per dish, you can comfortably enjoy the natural flavours from the mountains and forests.
The agricultural products area of Quan Ba market is a destination not to be missed, with walnuts and Tao meo (Docynia indica) considered typical foods. These products are fresh, delicious, and naturally nutritious, attracting the attention of international tourists. Besides, you can also see black pigs being carried under people's armpits to sell, creating an extremely interesting atmosphere.
In addition, you will easily see guys gathering together to sip cups of fragrant corn wine. Or an ethnic woman is diligently spinning flax and embroidering colourful clothes to sell. All create a unique scene that cannot be found anywhere else.
Du Gia is the last market in the list of top 5 famous markets in Ha Giang. Although located more than 60km from the centre of Yen Minh town, this market still attracts a large number of tourists because of the bold traditional beauty of the Tay, Mong, and Dao ethnic groups.
To get to Du Gia market, people may have to spend up to 3 days going through Dong Van and Meo Vac because the distance is quite far and the rugged mountain terrain. Tourists can rent self-driving motorbikes for about 200,000 VND - 600,000 VND/motorbike.
Locals at Du Gia market in Ha Giang
To get to Du Gia market, you can start from milestone 0 - Ha Giang, then turn onto Highway 34, and continue to turn onto Provincial Highway 176 when you encounter Minh Ngoc gas station, Bac Me. From there, you are only about 45km away from Du Gia commune.
The Du Gia market is usually held every Friday and starts early, at 5 am. However, due to high demand, goods are often sold out early at noon. Therefore, visitors should plan to explore this place carefully and start early in the morning to avoid missing out on interesting activities and products.
In addition, on the 15th day of the third lunar month every year, Du Gia also organizes a special festival, called the "Phong luu" (prosperous) market. This is where people can interact, find friends and gather. This festival originated from the story of two Hmong brothers who got lost and had to separate because of village customs. After that, the younger brother became a Tay person. Since then, the two brothers agreed to meet on the 15th day of the third lunar month every year to reunite and relieve their nostalgia.
In particular, visitors coming to the market will be impressed with the delicious and unique flavours of dishes such as sticky rice with coconut milk, priced at only 5,000 VND. In addition, steamed Dong leaf cake for 1,000 VND and a bowl of pho for only 10,000 VND are also dishes loved by many tourists.
Here, people also have the opportunity to witness the bustle and busiest of this Ha Giang market in the livestock sales area. This is where the Dao people bring their buffaloes/cows to sell and negotiate. In addition, Tay women and girls also contribute to the diversity of the market by bringing agricultural products such as potatoes, cassava, galangal root, or bags of upland sticky rice.
What should tourists keep in mind when visiting Ha Giang market?
In general, the Ha Giang market is a highlight in the national cultural identity of ethnic minorities in the high mountains of the Northeast that are hundreds of years old. Currently, the tourism industry is developing, leading to this event being expanded and known to more people. However, to have the most complete experience, visitors need to note a few things listed below:
- Tourists should use the self-driving motorbike rental service. This helps visitors be proactive in their time and maximize travel costs. In addition, this vehicle helps people visit more markets than cars.
- Everyone should be conscious of maintaining general hygiene, especially near water sources.
- If on the way you see "green leaves" or "marker stakes" placed on the road, you should stay away from that location. Because this is a sign of restricting strangers from visiting.
In addition to the beauty of majestic nature, Ha Giang market is also an important highlight in the unique national identity of this place. The above article by Ama Journey aims to introduce the top 5 most beautiful Ha Giang markets along with important notes. Wish you a safe road trip. See you again in the upcoming articles.