The market is situated in Coc Pai Town, which is around 350 kilometers from Hanoi. You can take a bus from Luong Yen Station in Hanoi to get there for around VND200,000. The bus leaves at 3AM, every day, and arrives at the destination at 4PM.
Or, you can take a page from many an adventurous
Vietnamese travelers and embark on a thrilling, death-defying ride through the northern mountains. Things get particularly treacherous between Ha Giang’s Yen Binh Town and Coc Pai. The 62-kilometer pass that snakes through the towering mountains requires no less than three hours to complete.
A busy area of Coc Pai Town, which was established in 2009
Coc Pai Market opens every Sunday, drawing vendors from a wide array of ethnic mountain communities: Mong, Nung, La Chi, and Cao Lan. You can find a variety of products here from farm fresh produce to brocade clothing and even cattle.
A corner selling fresh vegetables.
Black pigs which are traditionally raised by ethnic minorities living in the highlands are also sold at market.
Water buffalo herders occupy the biggest, noisiest corner of the market.
A buffalo is sold at VND32 million (US$1,400).
Clothing stalls make up the market’s most colorful part.
Native buyers and sellers dress in their traditional clothes.
Tay women in black dresses.
Mong women in their bright, traditional clothing.
Rice wine vendors play an essential part of any ethnic market.
Chili powder and dried chili peppers are local specialties.
The food court is always busy and exciting, since people visit the market not only to buy and trade but also to get together and eat with their friends.
Friendly Coc Pai market-goers are always happy to pose for photos with tourists.