Experience Backward Markets Ha Giang-Amazing hill tribe market of Ethnic people
A spontaneous visit to backward markets Ha Giang
Taken by @Anh Duc
“Travelling to Ha Giang without visiting one of the backward markets there is a missing of culture discovery“, said Mr. Liem, Lila Inn owner.
I came to meet my friend who stayed at his hostel & heard about those backward markets by chance. It was last week, exactly the day the nearest backward market was hold. Without any hesitation, I & my friend decided to give it a visit to have a change to observe ethnic people life. So excited!!
It’s 100 km distance to Pho Cao Market. The road view is amazing. The weather was perfect sunny.
After all, thanks to Lila Inn’s hostel owner, who took us there & explained almost everything about this special type of flea market which is only available in Ha Giang loop, a unique hill tribe market of ethnic people in the world. This market’s called “Backward markets”. Funny strange name? I’ll explain in the next passage.
Before you do Ha Giang loop, read this and note down “Backward Markets Ha Giang” or “Chợ lùi” carefully so you won’t miss it out.
What is BACKWARD MARKETS HA GIANG?
First of all, I want to talk about the name: “Backward Markets” Ha Giang are called “Chợ Lùi” in Vietnamese. This name’s not familiar to English speakers, neither Vietnamese are. Of course, nobody goes backward in this market. “Backward” here is its backward date on the Lunar calendar, based on the name of 12 zodiac animals in order: Mouse, Buffalo,Tiger, Cat, Dragon, Snake, horse, Goat, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, Pig.
Each specific market will be hold on 2 dates (with 6 days distance) from 12 zodiac dates on Lunar Calendar.
Therefore, It’s meeting by session, once every 6 days.
Let’s look at the actual schedule of Backward markets Ha Giang below
Lung Phin Backward Market: hold on Tiger & Monkey date: FRI, 20/09/2019 (Monkey day) on calendar.
Next 6 days will be THU (Tiger day), 26/09/2019.
Sa Phin Backward Market: hold on Snake & Pig date: MON, 23/09/2019 (Pig day) on calendar.
Next 6 days, it will be opened again on SUN, 29/09/2019 (Snake day)
Why are Backward markets Ha Giang special?
More inf About Backward markets & others in Ha Giang
Heritage of Backward Markets Ha Giang
All those flea market have been formed after a long time, have been established over a hundred years, after many generations, and became a type of market that cultural researchers named them “backward markets”. Backward Markets Ha Giang is a place to retains a lot of the ancient culture of ethnic groups of the Northern mountainous area.
In the past, every hill tribe market was held on a fixed day, but it does not use our Gregorian calendar, it has sessions time.
There are some hill tribe ones opening once a year such as Khau Vai market, Son Vi love market, or fixed on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th every month on the Lunar calendar as Tung Vai market.
Other free Flea Markets beside Backward Markets Ha Giang
Lately, due to the effect of weekly schedules, some markets in the center where workers or combatants work are held on Saturday, Sunday. Cow market sells chickens, dogs and pigs.
For local people, cows are as important as their blood, that’s why they named cow market.
Chill out at flea market
- Chill out at market is a hobby of everyone from all over Vietnam countryside.
- There are not any church, pagoda, communal houses where people meet up or meeting at any time like in delta or cities;
- In highland and mountainous area, houses, families are not gathered, they live far away from each other. The distance would take a day, or few days to reach their neighbors, so market is the only place to meet up.
- Called market but the main thing happens here is not shopping, not exchange money, it is to meet people, to talk, to share life’ stories, to be drunk, making friends, enjoy music, on the other side flea market is like a fair.
- Men always bring “khen” (pan-pipe), a distinctive musical to play and dance at markets, children and women wear beautiful colorful, everyone happy.
People living on mountains live far away from each other, they could see each other, they could hear the other voices from the other sides of the mountains, the distance would take a whole day or even few days to meet up. Living on mountains which cover by lime stone, rock and rock, no electric, no water, no facilities, no doctors, but LOVE and friendship.
Strangers could be invited and welcome at any party, any meal, that’s why the most difficult word to say is “good bye”, they stand up to say good bye then sit down then stand up over and over again because they know until next week or in 6 days’ time they will have change to meet again.
Eating in the backward markets Ha Giang
How to schedule for backward markets Ha Giang?
Recently, when watching some forums, normally who had planned up a trip to Ha Giang only think go straight to the top Lung Cu, Dong Van, Mapileng pass, very few paid attention to the backward markets.
Here is a specific schedule of backward markets in Dong Van, Ha Giang in November 2019 for you to check back or ford:
– Lung Phin Market: will be held on: 2nd , 8th , 14th , 20th, 26th of November 2019
– Sa Phin Market: 5th , 11th, 17th , 23rd , 29th of November 2019
– Pho Bang Market: 6th , 12nd, 18th , 24th , 30th
– Pho Cao Market: 4th , 10th , 16th , 22nd , 28th
*Check if there’s a date in with your travel itinerary? There are days on weekends. If you’re lucky, you can see two Backward markets Ha Giang in one trip.
List of backward markets Ha Giang and their session for the reference when planning to travel
Backward markets In Dong Van, Ha Giang
Dong Van Market – Sunday morning – there is a cow market.
Sung Trai Market – Buffalo day, Goat day (as lunar calendar)
Lung Phin market – Tiger day, monkey day
Pho Cao Market – Dragon day – Dog day
Xa Phin market (The Vuong house) – Snake day – Pig day
Ma Le Market – Rat day, Horse Day
Lung Cu Market – Goat day and Buffalo day
Pho Bang market – Rat day – Horse day
Backward markets In Quan Ba, Ha Giang
Tam Son town district Market – Saturday morning.
Cao Ta Tung Market (including 3 villages of Cao Ma Po, Ta Van, Tung Vai) – Friday.
Tung Vai market – 5 days a session on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th as lunar calendar.
Quyet Tien market – Saturday morning.
Trang Kim Market (Dong Ha village) – goat day, buffalo day.
Nghia Thuan market – Dragon day and Dog days – one day in Vietnam then next day in China.Backward markets In Yen Minh, Ha Giang
Yen Minh Market – Sunday morning
Bach Dich Market – There are two market sessions in a week including Bach Dich market
or Milestone number 9 market(new milestone number 358) – Sunday morning at the border and Muong market is on Saturday.
Du Gia Market – Friday morning
Duong Thuong Market – Friday morning
Mau Due market – Sunday morning
Sung Trang Market – Sunday morning
Backward markets In Meo Vac, Ha Giang
Meo Vac market – Sunday morning – there is a cow market.
Niem Son market – 5 days a session, according to the lunar calendar of days 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30.
Khau Vai Market – 5 days a lunar on the 2nd , 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd, 27th as lunar calendar
Sung Tra Market – Saturday
Son Vi Market – Sunday morning
*We strongly recommend Lila Inn hostel in Ha Giang Loop because of service, cleanness, sociality & value.
Chill space at Lila Inn hostel
P/S: feel free to ask Mr. Liem (Lila Inn owner) any information about Backward Markets Ha Giang and Ha Giang Loop. He’s such a helpful & enthusiastic host that we’ve ever met.