Trek North Vietnam: Bac Ha is much less developed for tourism than Sapa. It is in an ideal location for both hiking and visiting local ethnic market. The Can Cau and Bac Ha markets, in particular, feature local scenes that have been going on every week for generations, where cattle, horses, goats and dogs are bought and sold, as well as many traditional goods like saddles and plowshares, along with elaborate textiles, handbags and other trinkets made by the local tribes people, the Flower Hmong. Their intricately woven daily costume is one of the main drawing points in itself.
Lung Phin is another market that is open on Sunday morning. Lung Phin market is smaller than Bac Ha market. Therefore the Lung Phin market is less touristy and this can be a hot spot for those who wish to see the real Vietnam.
Bac Ha hiking tour can be arranged in half day, one day, two days, three day or even longer. Hiking routes are the trails linking different Bac Ha hill tribe villages. For a half day hiking tours, Ban Pho is the nearest village. The village is inhabited by H’mong people. For those who would like to spend longer time in Bac Ha, they can have three or four-day trek to Lung Khau Nhin, Na Cap, Quan Than San or to Ha Giang tribal villages.
Bac Ha can be reached both by train and by road. The road trip takes about 8 hours. People usually take an overnight train to go to Lao Cai. The train journey takes 10 hours as well. But they can sleep on the train. The only way to reach Bac Ha from Laocai is taking a private car. Public bus is also available but hiring a private car with driver is highly recommended.
There are some good accommodation options in Bac Ha town such as Cong Fu hotel, Sao Mai hotel – Bac Ha, Hoang Vu hotel, Tan Nguyet hotel. All these hotels are located in the town center. For multi-day trek, homestay is the only choice.
The best time to have a trek in Bac Ha is the dry season starting from October until April the following year. During this period, the weather is cold. But there is little rain.
Hiking tours can be arranged in Bac Ha itself or in combination with other places which are also far from the mass tourism.