Bac Ha is a highland town which is about more than 100km away from Sapa. The town certainly is not suitable for comfort travelling because of its infant stage of tourism. If you do not mind a modest accommodation, long walking distance and some dirt, you will enjoy Bac Ha for its sense of authenticity. The town hosts two famous weekend markets -Bac Ha market on Sunday and Can Cau market on Saturday.
With its scarce, the town is rather deserted on weekdays. Only on weekdays, the hill tribes scattered around a large chunk of mountains walk dozen miles to attend to the largest markets. They are different ethnic groups -Hmong, Zao and Tay. Bac Ha market is the biggest, most commercialized market where spices, cattle, vegetables, farm tools, food and especially wines. The northern hill tribes are "notorious" for their large consumption of home-made wines. The wines are usually brew from corn, cassava and cat apple. Their flavor is mellow and mind-blowing. They are a certainly a must try if you can handle strong alcohol.
Smaller in the size but with the same commodities is Can Cau market on Saturday. The market setting is located among scenic mountains. A visit in September would guarantee a nice watch of beautiful terraced paddies. The group of Flower Hmong are the most frequent patronage of the market. It is easy to recognize them as they are the most colorfully dressed ethnic group.