16 Mar 2021

Markets in Sapa have long been a traditional & cultural beauty of local ethnic minorities. The markets are held on weekends or special occasions for celebrating the festivals. The Love market, Sapa night market, Can Cau market and Bac Ha market are the most worth-visiting places.

Table Contents
Market in Sapa
Source: Nicolas Ma

Sapa is a picture of majestic mountains and forests, hiding wild beauty, mysterious but no less poetic. Upland people are friendly, rustic, and hospitable. Perhaps, for that reason, Sapa is a promising destination for most tourists. Sapa market opening hours are normally all day on weekends. Some typical markets are held on special holidays focusing on cultural & traditional events. There are many different types of goods for sale such as agricultural products, livestock, unique dishes...                   

I - Top 6 fair markets in Sapa        

Sapa market

Bac Ha Market - Source: Focusasiatravel

Fair markets here are now held on weekends. In the past, these markets were held every day like the lowlands, but due to the effects of war, the operating hours gradually changed to weekends, important occasions, and holidays. Some famous fair markets that you should visit in Sapa: 

1 - Bac Ha - amongst the most famous markets in Sapa

Bac Ha Market is about 135km away from Sapa town (takes about 4 hours to move by motorbike). This fair market usually opens on Saturday and Sunday weekly, starting from early morning to 2pm. In addition to selling essential goods for daily life, this Sapa Sunday market Vietnam also has about 20 food stalls selling famous specialties of the land here such as Thang Co - stewed horse's meat and offal (typical dish of ethnic people in northern Vietnam), mum, five-color sticky rice, cast cake…

2 - Coc Ly market

Coc Ly Market is located in Bac Ha district, about 90 km from Sapa town. As a rule, this market takes place every Tuesday. This Sapa market is not only a place to exchange goods but also a gathering place for ethnic Mong Hoa, Black Dao, Nung,... At the same time, you can immerse yourself in the shopping space and find for yourself some suitable souvenirs such as brocade towels, brocade shirts,... In addition, the market is also a unique culinary space with specialties such as sour pho, men men, stewed horse’s meat,... 

3 - Central market in Sapa

Sapa Central Market is located on Luong Dinh Cua street, Sapa town. The market is held on weekends or special holidays of the year. The market often sells products made by the locals from agricultural products (livestock, cattle,...) and handicraft products (brocade fabric, wood comb,…). You have an opportunity to enjoy the specialties of the Sapa mountainous region such as Thang Co, corn wine, and cat cider made by the locals in accordance with traditional recipes.

4 - Muong Hum market 

One of the most bustling markets in Sapa that tourists should not miss is the Muong Hum market, which is about 45km from Lao Cai city. The market usually takes place on Sunday, from 7am to 1pm. Muong Hum market is located in a small valley next to a stream, so you can feel the harmony between nature and people. You will see the image of horses leisurely grazing by the stream, the suspension bridge, the girls - boys in traditional costumes. There are lots of traditional dishes such as corn wine, traditional rice noodles, traditional noodle soup,... The typical flavors such as pepper, cocoon,... and unique processing methods certainly make you extremely excited.

5 - Can Cau buffalo market - one of the most unique markets in Sapa 

Sapa Vietnam market

Can Cau Market - Source: Gettyimages

Can Cau buffalo market is about 120km from Sapa town. This is the most touristic market held for the purpose of buying and selling buffaloes for the locals. The Can Cau buffalo market takes place every Saturday, public holidays, and New Year from early morning until noon. 

Every time this Sapa market is held, hundreds of buffaloes, carefully selected from the villages of Bac Ha and Si Ma Cai, flock to each other so that buyers can choose as they please. In addition, the market also has a number of stalls selling handicrafts, herbs, vegetables, Sapa food & specialties. 

6 - Cao Son market

It is about 90.9 km from Sapa town to Cao Son Market. This is a market for the Hmong, Phu La, Dao, and Han Black ethnic minorities living in the Muong Khuong district. The market usually meets on Wednesdays. The is one of the most unspoiled markets in Sapa that sells items such as vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, wine, jewelry, brocade,... It also has an area to sell cattle and poultry such as buffaloes, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, horses…

The sound of animals mixed with the human sound creates an extremely crowded atmosphere. And of course, the fair is also indispensable for a booth with unique dishes such as: Thang Co, aromatic wines like corn wine, Coc Ngu,...

II - Night markets in Sapa - vibrant nightlife in the mountainous town

Sapa Night market

Night market food - Source: Pinterest

The night market takes place on the campus of Lao Cai Tourist Promotion and Information Center from 4pm to 10pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Coming here, you should explore the culinary area with extremely attractive dishes such as barbecue, chicken wings, quail, beef roll, and fish ball…

Sapa night market location: No.02 Fansipan Street, Sapa Town 

This is a great place for young locals meeting and dating in the awesome sound of flute and trumpet. Tourists can take part in the dance of the ethnic people, chatting & having fun, shopping for local specialties and items. In particular, these goods in markets here are made by local people to sell to visitors, so the quality is very good and comfortable to use. 

III - Sapa love market - cultural imprint             

Sapa Love market

Love Market - Source: Nhatlongtravel

The love market is now fixed in the square in front of the Stone Church. It is held by the Dao people every Saturday night. The origin of the fair stems from the ethnic customs of capturing wives. The is a place where young men and women learn and interact with each other through singing lyrics, hum, flute or lips,...

When the night falls, it is also time for women to wear dresses to go to the market. Meanwhile, men also wear traditional brocade clothes with silver necklaces, sparkling hands, swaying love songs in the ethnic language to attract girls, and giving a souvenir gift. 

If the girl agrees she will give him back an object for her engagement, otherwise she will run away. Visiting this night market in Sapa, you can better understand the lifestyle, customs, and habits of the ethnic people in the highlands.

Notes: In order to have a truly interesting travel experience, you need to pay attention to the following:

- Learn carefully about the market location, opening time - closing time, date of the market, and what are the characteristics of each market.

- When shopping for souvenirs, food,... you should bargain for reasonable prices.

- You also do not forget to enjoy the unique dishes of the ethnic people here, from which to understand more about the culinary culture and life here.

These are the most famous markets in Sapa that you need to understand before planning to come here. Finding out and promptly pocketing them will help you not be surprised when you first come to Sapa.  

U want to share?
Hi, my name is Quan, and you can call me “Kun”. Having a big passion for travel, I spent 6 months traveling to most of the regions & provinces in Vietnam. I find Vietnam's landscapes are so beautiful, Vietnamese people are so friendly.

Quan Nguyen — Quan Nguyen



Please enter email to get further
information for your travel plan


Best memories in Vietnam

Besides nature's beauty, historical relics,.., Vietnamese souvenirs especially handcrafted gifts with unique and catchy processes, also attract tourists a lot. This following article may be the best answer for the question “What souvenir to buy in Vietnam?”