In the last part, we have given you some useful information about your Sapa tour about what you can buy and some advice for your trip. In this part, we will reveal the top locations where you can have a reasonable price for the products that we have recommended. If you are traveling on a Sapa tour for family, we think this will be helpful since you will be provided with a more varied range of choices. So let us check it out what those locations are.
3. Recommended shopping spots in Sapa
Indeed, shopping is one of the most irresistible things to do in Sapa. However, as we have stated that the more popular it is, the harder it gets for visitors including Vietnamese travelers to have a wise choice of products and price. And when you are unfamiliar with the land that you are going on for the first time, you will easily feel uneasy to have the trust in the products of which the origin you do not know.
As you will see, most travelers on Sapa homestay tours choose stores as a shopping location because they believe that everything in the stores is safer and is fully guaranteed. However, this is not always true if you choose the wrong store. The thing in Sapa is that you must know which one is the reliable one to shop because appearance can trick sometimes. In addition, it is not always that you can find what you want in the local stores. And so, the market will be a better choice which gives you a wider range of options from groceries to accessories. However, more people have come across shopping scam at the market than at the stores.
So, if you cannot trust both the stores and the markets, where can you buy things in Sapa? Actually, you do not have to worry too much because not all stores and markets are unreliable. As we have said, the thing about Sapa is that you must know exactly where to buy. If you have not had any clue about it, let us give you some suggestions below.
Obviously, at the mention of Sapa, you cannot miss the name Sapa Market. This is one of the most popular markets in Sapa for its unique feature of a “cultural intersection”. Speaking of the name Sapa Market, people are likely to imagine the image of a get-together spot of H’Mong and Dao living in the area rather than a market. If you want to go somewhere fun, crowded but can still buy whatever you want, Sapa Market will be a great choice for your Sapa homestay tours.
A normal day at Sapa Market
The bad news is that Sapa Market only opens at the weekend like most markets in the Northern mountainous areas. Therefore, if you tend to buy anything, you will have to wait until every Saturday or Sunday to get what you want. However, for this feature, Sapa Market is always crowded with packs of people coming from everywhere, this includes the sellers, buyers, and even young “love birds” who have not seen their loved ones for the whole week.
Night gathering at Sapa Market
When buying products at Sapa Market, especially brocades and hand-made, you will not have to worry too much because they are mostly products handmade by the young girls and mothers. This is actually a special feature of Sapa Market as most of the hand-made products are made by the female sellers or their family and sold at the market as a way to “show off” their talent and the skillfulness with their hands. And as we say, Sapa Market is not just about buying and selling. As the way from their houses to the market is quite far, most of the seller will stay at the market overnight and leave the place on Monday. As the night falls, they entertain themselves by staying together, singing, dancing, and find their destined one then give him or her a special gift representing the promise to meet again. This beauty until now is still well preserved and has become an integral part of the Sapa Market.
- Address: Sapa Town, Lao Cai Province
- Opening days: Every Saturday and Sunday
Coc Ly Market
If Sapa Market is the get-together spot for most of Sapa Town’s locals, Dao, and H’Mong people, Cốc Ly Market is an important spot of people living in Cốc Ly Town. In contrast to most markets in the Northern mountainous areas, which only open on weekdays, Cốc Ly Markets gathers on every Tuesday of the week. If Sapa is famous for its crowdedness, Cốc Ly attracts most visitors by its special locations of being next to the renowned hanging bridge across Chảy River. Although the market is not too big, it is considered a significant “supply base” of the locals living in the Western Bắc Hà including Dao Khuyển (the Black Dao), Nùng, and Mông Hoa.
Buying brocades at Coc Ly Market
If Sapa Market is usually quite crowded and it is also hard for you to find things, Cốc Ly is smartly divided into separate sections such as brocades, cattle, poultry, foods, souvenir, and so on. Thus, it is way easier for you to find things in Cốc Ly. However, if you have come to Cốc Ly, you will see that the main product they sell here is vegetables! So if you are finding yourself some vegetables for cooking, Cốc Ly is definitely the place.
Two old ladies are buying meat at the market
If Sapa is the cultural intersection of Dao and H’Mong, Cốc Ly is definitely the cultural village as it attracts many different tribes to come for a meeting. When visiting both two markets, you will see some prominent differences. Firstly, while Sapa Market is located mainly in the streets of Sapa Town, Cốc Ly is situated mostly on the street side, or at least it is what recorded of the vegetable sellers in this area. The other difference caught in these two markets is that people in Sapa Market usually wear normal clothes rather than traditional dresses like people in Cốc Ly Market. In general, if you want to find a true shopping spot on your Sapa homestay tours, Cốc Ly will be a more suitable location opening in the week.
Selling vegetables on the street side at Coc Ly Market
- Address: Cốc Ly Commune, Bắc Hà Suburban District, Lào Cai Province
- Opening days: Every Tuesday
Bac Ha Market
If you the last part, we have mentioned the name Bắc Hà with Bắc Hà Plum, this time you will know that Bắc Hà has a way cooler specialty besides just fruits. Before reading this part, you will think that the Sapa Market is the most popular one in Sapa. Think again because Bắc Hà is the highly recommended place not only in Vietnam but also in the whole of Southeast Asia.
The daily image of Bac Ha Market
If you travel on a coach to Sapa, you can return by a horse after coming to Bắc Hà! This is not exaggerating at all because you can actually buy a horse here. It is this special feature that makes Bắc Hà widely known all over Asia as it is the only market in Vietnam having a separate area for horse selling. Each market gathering, there are hundreds of horses being sold, mostly to the locals who need a horse as a good carrier. If you are finding a market that still remains the very own feature of Sapa, Bắc Hà is just the place for your Sapa homestay tours. And also, you will not have to worry too much when buying things at Bắc Hà because most of everything is sold at a very reasonable price so there is no need to bargain.
- Address: Bắc Hà Suburban District, Lào Cai Province
- Opening days: Every Sunday
In case you go to the market, not for shopping but to “talk the talks” and have a little bit of chit-chatting, Mường Hum will be the second home on your Sapa homestay tours! Especially located in the heart of the valley, Mường Hum is indeed a cultural party as it is the get-together spot of many different ethnics from Hà Nhì, H’Mong, Hán, Dao, and so on.
Beautiful girls at Muong Hum Market
Most people go to Mường Hum not to buy things but to see beautiful girls of H’Mong in the wonderful traditional dress or the charming Dao in the colorful outfit. Such a fantastic scene that you cannot just find anywhere. Of course, if you still want to buy something, Mường Hum can still offer you herbs, vegetables, and different kinds of clothes. However, you cannot find the variety as you expect at Mường Hum compared to the first three markets so it is not highly recommended for shopping.
- Address: Bát Xát Suburban District, Lào Cai Province
- Opening days: Everyday Sunday
In case you do not like shopping at the markets, stores will be a better choice for your Sapa homestay tours. However, most stores in Sapa offer products such as arts and crafts or medicinal herbs so you will not find many things here. If you are seeking a souvenir shop, Cầu Mây Street is where you must go. There are many reliable stores on this street such as Lan Rừng (Forest Orchid), Lương Thủy, Phố Núi, and Sapa Shop. As for the tips we have provided in the last part, you should check each store to have a reasonable price. Apart from those stores, Mường Hoa Shop at 25 Mường Hoa Street and Viet Silver at 34 Fansipan Street are also very reliable.