Traveling to Sapa to explore the highland markets in early spring is an extremely interesting experience. If travelers want to find a full and complete definition of a pure rustic market, they are not able to find a more meaningful place like the market in Coc Ly, Bac Ha (Lao Cai province). Visit Coc Ly Market belonging Coc Ly Commune, Bac Ha, Lao Cai province at the beginning of the year, visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the daily life activities of people in the northwestern area and to enjoy their special dishes.
Coc Ly Market is the market of ethnic groups in the northwest of Bac Ha district. The market is not big but it is very important for ethnic minorities in western Bac Ha (Lao Cai). The market is organized right next to the suspension bridge across Chay River. Each week, the market is held only one time on Tuesday. People go to the market not only to shop but also to play, eat meet, exchange and find their friends.
According to many old people living here, since many years, a market is only a place for boys and girls to meet, not to buy and sell. Because of various circumstances, many couples have sworn but could not live together forever, and they agreed to meet once a week at a certain date in Coc Ly to talk. Each week, the boys, girls in any mountains or streams also come here just to see the image of their lovers. Irrespective of age, young or old, more or less money, they are immersed in feelings of love.
From a far distance, Coc Ly market is like a lively picture. The water flows gently over the years, surrounded by lush green of forests and mountains in Bac Ha appearing and disappearing alternately through the thin mist. In addition to this beautiful natural scenery, each group of Hmong, Dao, Tay, and Nung wears the typical outfit with sophisticated patterns from all the villages in the region going to the market: pedestrians, horse riders carrying textile products, agricultural products, and livestock.
The market is divided into separate areas. The items bearing the features of mountains such as vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, black mushrooms, honey, wine, corn, upland rice, housewares, jewelry and colorful brocade products with lively patterns are concentrated into one area and presented on the plastic sheet spreading on the ground. However, the most striking is still the area of selling cattle and poultry such as buffalo, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, horses and cats. The air in this area is very boisterous with the scene of buyers and sellers standing, sitting and trading with each other. Moreover, the area of ethnic cuisine is also quite exciting. Blending in the smoke exhaling from the food stores is a multitude of different sounds: the sound of chatting and crackling sound of bowls and chopsticks colliding each other. In this bustling atmosphere, visitors will have to stop, sit down, and enjoy the cuisine with the ethnic people.
Especially, Coc Ly Market is the only place where customers can use their products to barter other ones. The communities come here to look for their fellow, to exchange for the seed of upland rice, buffalo, horse to serve family life. That is the way people in the uplands of Bac Ha compensating for each other.
Discover Coc Ly Market, visitors will be lost in the festival with colorful cultural identity, in a meeting place of love couples. The beauty of this fair is not just that people come here to trade, exchange of goods but also to travel, to meet each other and sing the songs. The elders go to the market to communicate, to exchange commodity, to trade, and to talk about their business; young men and women coming to market to express and give the loving words to each other. They go to the market to play, to find their partner without bothering calculating of purchase and sale. Visit Coc Ly, tourists will have a pleasant experience during the trip to Sapa.