Coc Ly Market is held on every Tuesday. Is a medium sized market that plays an extremely important role to ethnic minorities in the west of Bac Ha. Every Tuesday this is the place for meeting, goods exchanging and purchasing of the tribes from the surrounding villages. Goods sold in the market is the local products and utensils brought from the plains or imported from China. In addition, the market is a meeting place to display affection and feelings of ethnic minorities. Coc Ly Market, is more than a place where to exchange goods, is one of the few markets in Sapa still retaining its traditional cultural features.
About Coc Ly Market
Coc Ly Market starts around 7am and closes in the early afternoon. The market is divided into separate pavilions: an area for purchasing cattle, buffalo, horses, area for sale of fruit, living utensils and other area for food courts. If you visit this market, you will have a chance to witness the costume of ethnic groups and hear their own languages.
You also could find young Hmong boys and girls carry the baskets containing corn wine and flavors of the mountains such as black fungus, mushrooms, honey,etc. Meanwhile the old members of the tribe bring their buffaloes, cows, dogs, horses… to the market for sale. The widest and most exciting area is probably the place to sell cattle and poultry. From afar, althought there’s no dancing or singing, Coc Ly Market looks like a vivid picture with all of colors, ages from young children, teenagers to middle-aged people and the older.
Ethnic people gather there to buy and sell goods, dine and drink, or just wander to enjoy the ambience of the montagnard market.
You cannot ignore this place if you would like to find a full definition of a pure rural market.
Ethnics at Coc Ly Market
You will find Flower Hmong (Red Hmong), Black Dao, Hoa (Chinese) Mong, Dao Den (Black Dao), Nung, Giay and Tay peoples in attendance and the goods on offer range from local fruit and vegetables to livestock, handicrafts and clothes.
Hmong girls are tremendously beautiful in colorful dresses and graceful with umbrella passing overhead. They usually concentrate at the bridge to show off their colorful dresses and more importantly to find their partners. This is also distinctive characteristic of Coc Ly Market compared to other markets of ethnic minorities in Sapa.
How to go to Coc Ly Market
From Sapa (90 km):
Theser are the itinerary indications:
- Follow national road 70 traveling through the lush farm land of Lao Cai province for 42 km to Phong Nien Commune.
- Turn left and follow provincial road 154 which sneaks through the country side along the Chay river for 17 km to Coc Ly. You can enjoy a beautiful scenery of high mountains, narrow valleys and terraced rice paddies. Enjoy several photo stops along the way, especially of the beautiful tear farms near Phong Hai.
From Lao Cai (60km):
From Bac Ha (35km):
It’s the best option because is about 35km from Bac Ha. You can get here via a fairly good road, or by road and river.
Tips to enjoy Coc Ly Market
- Arrive in the market place at about 09.00am, at crowded time of the market.
- Join local ethnic peoples to enjoy the exciting atmosphere as well as activities of this weekly market.
- Walk from section to sections, corner to corners, seeing and smelling of different local product, spices, vegetable, farming tools, handicraft, even medicinal herb…
- Meeting smiling peoples.
- Remember to bargain when you want to buy your favorites.
- The items at the booths located at the start of the path you walk on always have higher prices.
- Keep walking toward the end of the traditionally ethnic market until you find a real bargain.
- A good idea is to stroll every corner of the once-a-week bazaar as you listen to unexpected conversations, see nice surprises and learn how ethnic people sell and buy farm produce, life’s necessities and other things.
- The market is always crowded for the whole morning and over after lunch time.
What to do after visit Coc Ly Market
After visiting the market, tyou can comfortably walk along Chay River to experience the tranquility of nature and the people here. The river becomes much more beautiful and poetic thanks to 2 majestic mountains. Both banks of the river are the beautiful sandbanks, villages of Tay, H’mong ethnic people, and wonderful waterfalls looking like flyaway white ribbon in the wind.
Leaving the market at noon, boarding a motor boat and cruising down stream the Chay River for 1.5 hour to Trung Do village of the Tay which is beautifully set on the bank of the river. Spend about an hour walking to explore this charming village before continuing the boat trip briefly to Bao Nhai.
Going to Coc Ly Market is to soak up colorful cultural beauty, experience the meeting place of the loving couples, ascertain the daily activities of the locals; at the same time you are immerse in charming and poetic natural scenery.
Not only is it the convergence of goods exchanging among ethnic minorities, Coc Ly Market now is also one of the impressive attractions in Sapa. You can go to the market in order to immerse in the romantic nature, discover unique features and feel to be one more of the locals. But take in mind that is 2 hours away from Sapa, so we recommend you to visit only if your time is not very limited.