Bắc Hà Fair (Lào Cai), held on every Sunday, is the place for commodity exchange and sales of 14 ethnic groups living in Bắc Hà township and surrounding districts and provinces. They bring to the fair all kinds of mountainous produces: Shan tea, fruit, honeybee, wine, brocade clothes, silver jewelry, orchid, saplings or tow horses, oxen, pigs or carry maize and sweet potato bags. Mông girls with their dresses and colorful brocade stalls make the fair a festival day.
Tourists buy brocade at Bắc Hà fair
To Bắc Hà fair, tourists can choose brilliant brocade or dresses of Mông and Dao Do girls at their initiative. Foreign tourists are often full of admiration to the manually weaved pictures with lively patterns, harmonious and good-looking colors.
Horse market area is unique and attractive. The market is held on a broad ground in the district center. Each fair has hundreds horses supplied by the people from everywhere for sales. The people lead horse back and forth to see figure, legs, slap onto the rumps and then bargain.
In the middle of the fair, there are spiraling horse viscera pans, surrounded by delighted men.
Amid the noise due to the sale, you can hear the melodious pan-pile and singing of young men, which adds to the attractive atmosphere of the fair.
The most profound impression at Bắc Hà fair is that tourists don’t meet the solicitation for buying but see honest and hospitable faces of the ethnic people. They come to the fair not only to buy and sell but also live in exciting and happy moments of the fair and the comers. In the afternoon, the fair starts to see increasingly fewer customers; tourists can't help remembering the fact that the drunken man sits unsteadily on the horse back and the woman tows the horse to the village.
Bắc Hà fair bears strong features of community life activities of the Northern West mountainous ethnic groups, stores unique traditional cultural identity values. In here, pan-pipe dances, fan dances together with romantic and tormenting singing, imposing natural beauty, plain but mysterious people are always attractive to tourists.
In the Serendib Magazine (Sri Lanka), the first issue of 2009, introduces 10 attractive markets in the Southeast Asia, including Bắc Hà mountainous fair (Lào Cai). Such 10 markets include: Banga night market, Gaya street market and Oang Kelian market of Malaysia, Tionbaru market (Singapore), Luongphabang market (Laos), Bedugun market (Indonesia), weekend market Chattuchac (Thailand), Chieng Mai night market (Thailand), Heritage market in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Bắc Hà mountainous fair (Vietnam).
Remarkably, Bắc Hà mountainous fair is ranked first in the above 10 markets and introduced quite concretely by the Serendib Magazine, emphasized as the fair "bearing strong features of community live activity of the ethnic people in the Northern West of Vietnam, storing unique traditional cultural identity values, attracting a great deal of domestic and foreign tourists."