Bac Ha (Vietnam) – The ideal place to experience the culture and nature of the Northwest

Most famous for its horse racing festival, plum blossom, and fair markets, Bac Ha (Vietnam) also has all the other beautiful sights of the Northwest highlands.

On the way, visitors can easily see the same mountain scenery, the sunlit valley below with a few roofs nestled among the vast terraced fields. The name “White Plateau” is probably because of the white clouds floating in the plum blossoms.

Bac Ha (Vietnam) has sunny valleys, picturesque terraced fields

After visiting Bac Ha Temple, Hoang A Tuong Palace in the central town, visitors will often go down to the villages. In Bac Ha, the rice fields are not evenly ripe, there are places where people have harvested, some places are still green.

Hoang A Tuong Palace in Bac Ha, Vietnam
Hoang A Tuong Palace

We came to Ban Lien in the season of ripe rice, the whole village was lively and exciting. Have to walk quite far, wade through a few streams, follow the banks of the field with the smell of ripe rice and sounds of the surrounding countryside.

People greet us with friendly and comfortable smiles when someone wants to take pictures. The Tay people here still wear their traditional costumes for daily activities and labor, not just when welcoming guests like many other places.

Ban Lien Commune
Ban Lien Commune in the harvest season

Each of us chose a different way of enjoying, some went down to the field to experience the rice harvest, some went to “hunt for photos”, others talked with the people.

The light sun makes the weather very comfortable, just sitting from the floor looking out, the cup of tea “blue pipe” is smoke on the side, you will feel all troubles disappear.

The scene is picturesque: blue sky, white clouds, buffalo wandering, people wandering in the field, they send rice home, far away a few rice threshing machines running at full capacity.

For those who like trekking and mountain climbing, Ngai Thau peak in Na Hoi commune is worth the time and effort to conquer.

This is the place to watch the beautiful sunset, with the vast green steppe, the straight lines of sandalwood trees in the shade in the afternoon sun, the stilt houses nestled along the valley …, the white on the green meadows made everyone bewildered – perhaps difficult to see somewhere else.

Distinctive identity

The most interesting experience in Bac Ha (Vietnam) is probably going through the villages and staying at different homestays every night. Each ethnic group has its own way of welcoming guests, dishes, and performances.

In the Tay village, there is a homestay Nang Can, Ha Thong; In the Mong village, there are establishments of Hoang Seo Cho, Ly Van So…

Hmong homestay is modernized and welcomes more professionally, while the Tay’s homestay is pristine and most of them are guests and owners living in the same stilt house.

The homestay in Bac Ha with a simple style.
The homestay in Bac Ha with a simple style.

With the support of a number of organizations such as CRED, GREAT …; The homestays have been slightly modified to accommodate tourists. People are more aware of relocating barns, keeping their houses clean, and food safety.

In addition, they are also trained in cooking skills for different types of guests, guest reception skills, and English. Beds, mattresses, curtains, bedding, toilets, or all that are essential to welcome guests are well invested.

In the evening, in Mong village, there is usually khene dance and “senh tien” dance, while in Tay village there is Tay dance. The dinner in the village is also quite special. In addition to wild vegetables, chicken, spring fish, black pig … at the dinner in Tay village, there is usually “khau hang” – a unique type of sticky rice.

In Bac Ha village, there must be a bottle of Ban Pho corn wine. “Hong mi” is a type of crop planted along the uplands, field banks, sowing seeds from March to September to harvest.

Vang Thi Chu – a villager, told us that only Ban Pho can make. Using this yeast, the wine is very strange and fragrant that no other wine has. Her house regularly welcomes visitors to buy wine and learn about how to brew and make yeast.

Visitors to Bac Ha can visit and experience many other traditional professions such as making green sticky rice, knitting, picking tea, making black “banh chung” …

The palm leaf hat here is not like anywhere else, because the hat is used intact both leaf ships, and very cleverly arranged and stitched.

There is no enticing to customers and sales at tight prices

During my days in Bac Ha, I met and talked with a lot of people including Tay, Mong, and Kinh, but no one felt distant. Everyone says Bac Ha (Vietnam) is hospitable and friendly.

Bac Ha Market is a place to exchange goods and a place for cultural exchanges between local ethnic groups.
Bac Ha Market is a place to exchange goods and a place for cultural exchanges between local ethnic groups.

Perhaps harmony helped form the famous markets in Bac Ha. “The characteristic of the Bac Ha market is the exchange, every weekend people of ethnic groups bring agricultural products and animals to the market to sell.”

When going down the mountain, people always wear new colorful dresses like going to the festival. In addition to the Bac Ha market on Sundays, visitors can also go to many other markets, such as Tuesday to Coc Ly market, Wednesday to Sin Cheng market, Thursday to Cao Son market, Friday to Lung Phinh market, to Can Cau market…

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