Blogs from Bac Ha, Lao Cai, Northwest, Vietnam, Asia


Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha May 29th 2022

Nathan here, after surviving the great Sa Pa shidd of Saturday. Essentially Ive been working with this random dude on Whatsapp whenever we look into getting a private car who initially arranged our airport transfer on arrival that I purchased on . The price quotes are unbeatable; the only downside is a near complete language barrier, so keep your phone charged and google translate at the ready. These are SUV's going for compact car prices; Ill be happy to share the contact info in our final post where we will leave all our links and best practices. Once again this wizard behind the curtain came through and our driver got us to our homestay earlier than expected. I kept wondering what the payoff was for the travel time; why this market was so special that ... read more
Red River Valley from SaPa to Lao Cai
My one respectable shot of the terraced fields
Sniper pupper

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha December 8th 2014

V této kapitole Eliška Štěpánem naloží kola do nákladního vagónu nočního vlaku, zatímco sebe uloží do lehátkového vozu. Ve Pho Lu konečně nasednou na plně zatěžkaná kola a vyjedou do hor, kde navštíví nedělní trh. Nákup lístku na vlak byl překvapivě jednoduchý, cena na lístku odpovídala ceně na tabuli, na lístku byl uvedený čas odjezdu a číslo vlaku. Jediný zádrhel byl v tom, že nám paní u okýnka tvrdila, že kola si sice do vlaku vzít můžeme, ale ve Pho Lu nám je nikdo z vlaku nevyloží. To znamenalo, že budeme nuceni jet o zastávku dál, ergo se pak vracet na kole 30 km džunglí podél trati. I nechali jsme to koňovi a vyplatilo se: když jsme přišli večer na nádraží, naskytla se nám první příležitost dát ve Vietnamu úplatek. Z pětistovky jsme vykládku ve Pho ... read more
montáž 2
spankovy deficit

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha March 9th 2014

Hi everyone, Well, its been a while since blogs so I have a lot to catch up on. I am writing this sitting in a little village on the wooden balcony of a fairly basic homestay with the sounds of roosters crowing and pigs snorting around me! Of course there is no wifi here, so I’m writing this to post later. The village is in a mountain highlands area of north west Vietnam very close to the Chinese border. It’s famous for its ethnic groups in their colourful traditional costumes and today is the weekly market so I’m looking forward to walking up there after breakfast. I saw a few ladies working the fields in heavily woven and colourful clothes on my ‘guided walk’ around the local villages yesterday. It was with a local English student ... read more
Maylee - my student guide
A quick way to get drunk
Homestay Bed

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha December 8th 2011

A H'mong Riddle: It has wings but no bone, it floats with water and flies with wind...? After journeying by boat, bus and train from Vietnam’s natural wonder we arrived twenty hours later at Lao Cai in the North Mountains, close to the border with China. It was sometime around 5am and we were no longer mentally-equipped to deal with the customary interaction with local “entrepreneurs”. Further, we were not expecting to barter for the price of a bus ticket. The local bus, we believed to be 50,000 dong per person but we were quoted double that. The rogue conductor finally settled at a price of 70,000. Later a group of Asian tourists were ripped off at more than three times the price, but we did not care to fight their battles at that time in ... read more
The hands of a H'Mong
Weathered face

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha September 3rd 2011

Up early for breakfast, which was ok but the toaster was crap more like a microwave thingy 6 minutes for toast anyone?! :( Got a really good map from reception ahead of a days sightseeing. Realised we were in a much better location then we thought which meant that we could get to everything we wanted to see by foot. The only problem for me was I hadn't gotten my head around crossing the road yet! Anyway we walked up to the lake, and booked tickets for the 3pm show at the Water Puppet theatre, then to the lake they have a bridge to the middle where there is a little museum where they have a really old turtle on display it is supposed to be lucky! Then we headed toward the opera house and museum ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha February 19th 2011

The longer i am in vietnam the more twisted and unsure my perceptions become of this place.. A grim soviet esq feel lingering in the air and a constant battle of personal greed is writhe in the north.. it is saturday morning, our plan at this stage was to get to a hill tribe town called bac ha, 340km away by road in time to see the sunday markets which bring people from different minority tribes from near and far.. shouldnt be too hard id imagine. since we we staying at a hotel we spoke to the woman at the front desk that we had mentioned our plans to when we arrived the night before, she spoke good english and said she would help us.. as we approach she immediately told us she had been ringing ... read more
chilli lady
fruit and veg

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha June 25th 2010

The sleeper train from Hanoi pulled in to Lao Cai station at 5am, it had been a painless ten hour journey and I didn't feel quite awake yet as we followed the crowds leaving the platform. Fleet after fleet of minibuses labelled 'Sapa' filled the carpark outside and into them plodded nearly all the trains passengers. It was at this point that we felt very glad to be heading in the opposite direction! Instead of Sapa we wanted to go to Bac Ha, a town with a famous Sunday market and beautiful hillside location. The six remaining tourists and us, left in town, found a local bus and after the usual price negotiation were on our way. As the bus slowly wound it's way up the steep narrow roads the sights of carpeted green hillsides of ... read more
Rice terraces 3
Herbs and Spices
Boy on his buff

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha January 4th 2010

Hi again. A belated happy new year. Picking up from the last blog - we spent a night on a 'junk' (Gabe: "I know why they're called 'junks': it's because of all of the junk.") exploring the Halong Bay area. Most of our cruise was in Lan Ha Bay off Cat Ba Island, to the south of Halong Bay. Magnificent scenery, with sheer limestone cliffs rising out of the turquoise waters (I'm channeling the Lonely Planet guide book!). Kayaked through caves into hidden bays - Dom had the best experience via a capsize in a strong gust; fortunately he was grabbed by the collar by the Captain (his kayak buddy). Mik lost his paddle, and Scuba-Ariane was unable to salvage it. Food on boat was fantastic - fish bought fresh and swimming from local fishermen. From ... read more
Junk beds
Sa Pa trekking

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Bac Ha September 8th 2009

Sunday 6 September 2009 - After an 8 and a half hour train ride from Hanoi, I arrived in Lào Cai. This city is very close to China, only 1km from the Lào Cai - Hekou international border crossing, also on the way to Yunnan province of China. If you look at a map, Sapa is on the left side, 38km from Lào Cai, and Bắc Hà is on the right side, 70km from Lào Cai. Both Sapa and Bắc Hà are popular tourist destinations in north west Vietnam. Tourists often go to Bắc Hà on Sundays to see the market of the flowery H'mong ethnic minority people (different with black H'mong people in Sapa based on their dresses). This market is held every Sunday from morning until 2pm. The locals bring their own products (corn ... read more
Bắc Hà market
Outside Bản Phố village
A H'mong woman with ice cream

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