Being a province in the northwest of Vietnam, Lao Cai is famous for its unique local markets bearing the ethnic identity as well as the beauty in the culture of the local people here. Coming to Lao Cai, visitors will be heard of the name Coc Ly market - a famous and interesting market that certain tourists should not miss the opportunity to explore.
Overview of Coc Ly market
Located 12 km from the center of Bac Ha, Lao Cai province on the banks of Chay river, Coc Ly fair market is a local market of H'Mong, Hoa, Tay, and Dao people, the market often meets every Tuesday morning. Unlike some markets in the northwest, Coc Ly fair market still keeps intact the culture of traditional markets as a place of dating, meeting and having fun, not merely purchase.
Go to Coc Ly market
According to the interpretation of indigenous people, Coc Ly means "plum root" and perhaps also because the fair market is located in the plateau of Tam Hoa plum - a typical tree of Bac Ha. Go to Coc Ly market, the most interesting form is by boat up the Chay river. Wanting to own a boat ticket is not difficult, you can register to buy tickets at riverboat cooperatives at Bao Nhai. Then from Bao Nhai, boating about 20 km upstream from Chay river, Coc Ly market appears colorful in the river bank.
Sitting on the boat, tourists let their soul be wild with clear water, let it float along with the river flow and poetic landscapes along the banks, all troubles and daily worries seem to dissolve. From the boat, landing the foot on the pier to walk along the white sandy beach, then go a little further away from that you will reach Coc Ly cultural market.
Coc Ly market
Visit the Buffalo area in Coc Ly market
In this place where the Chay river flows this gentle, Tuesday is a festival day. On the bridge, many boys and girls dressing in colorful clothes stand there and chat together that as an omen for you that there are many interesting things await you in this colorful upland market.
Coming to Coc Ly market, the most attractive thing is the Buffalo market, this area is always lively. Bac Ha people mainly use buffaloes for plowing, so the buffaloes that are sold must be the strongest.
According to indigenous people, the experience to choose a healthy buffalo must ensure three important factors: short hair, round legs, and curved horns. Each buffalo is priced around VND 20 million.
There are people that their homes are a half walking day away from the market, so they together with their buffalo have to go to the market from 2 am, but not every fair that they can sell out the buffalo. However, they don't put pressure on whether they can sell the buffalo or not. Mostly they go to the market to meet, talk, sip a few glasses of wine until the drunkenness comes out.
Coc Ly market
Specialties in Coc Ly market
Coc Ly market sells a lot of products with the profound cultural features of the northwest from brocade dresses, corn wine, wild vegetables, upland rice to all kinds of cattle and poultry. But it will be missing if visiting the market but ignoring the food court because this is really the most attractive point of this upland market.
A food market is a place where people from remote villages meet, enjoy special dishes in Bac Ha. Even if in a hurry, it is advisable to stay close to the ‘thang co” pans, gather together with the ethnic people, make a hot bowl.
With only VND 50,000, you can enjoy a bowl of "thang co" with highland flavor. An address that is famous for delicious "thang co" dish is Lu A Dao's stall, this food stall is always crowded, but it is not so that it takes a long time to wait, the owner always knows how to please guests, so you just wait for about 15 minutes, a hot "thang co" bowl is available on your table.
The Bac Ha people often eat 'thang co' with "men men- a Hmong traditional dish made from corn", which is considered a perfect combination of flavors.
Coc Ly market
The Pho stalls in this upland market are no less exciting than the "thang co" stalls. Bac Ha Pho is very special, noodles are hand-made from a kind of red rice, so there is a very attractive pink color. You can choose a bowl of mixed Pho, cold-sour Pho, hot-sour Pho, each bowl also has a special taste.
If you visit the Coc Ly market on a cold winter day, you should choose a bowl of hot chicken Pho, meanwhile, wandering the market on the summer day, choose a bowl of cold sour Pho to cool down your body. Chicken Pho is the most delicious dish in Bac Ha, the chicken meat is sliced, and seasoned, and a little bit of Muong Khuong chutney adding in the Pho bowl is nothing more wonderful.
Coc Ly market is evaluated as a fair market that keeps the cultural identity of the highland people intact. If anyone has arrived in Bac Ha land but never once visited Coc Ly market, it will be a shortcoming for an interesting travel journey.