Photography in mountain markets of Vietnam

Mountain market – a great part of Vietnam travel photography

Markets are a source of life, and in its most authentic meaning, people shop at markets for essential ingredients to sustain living. Market is a lifestyle and among the best places for photography, when it comes to showing a local culture. And the markets in the mountains of Vietnam are brightest examples of how life goes on in mountainous regions of the country.

Wandering in a mountain market of northern Vietnam is a must for anyone who’s intending to do a Vietnam photography tour. It fulfills one’s collection of Vietnam images. These markets are where the locals find rendezvous, apart from buying and selling. And it’s where one would be dressed in her most well-shaped traditional costumes in hope of finding a lover.

Don’t miss the chance of shooting in a mountain market when if you’re doing a multi-days photography tour in Vietnam.

Market photography highlights

Vibes of a mountain grace

Can Cau market – a photography attraction by the mountain side

The sellers

Mrs. Lo Thi Mai woke up from 4:30 am, her 2 year-old son is still asleep. Today is Saturday and she’s heading for the weekly market of Can Cau. She is a farmer, making a living from growing corn and distilling corn liquor. Can Cau market is one of her best selling places. Her home is 1.5 hour by motorbike from Can Cau market.

Her husband loads up 02 cans, each is of 20 liters onto the back of his old motorbike. After finishing, the couple sit in the house’s corner for breakfast. They quickly eat some rice and vegetables, preparing to head for the market at dawn. Then, Lo Thi Mai finally puts on her most well-kept set of colorful traditional H’mong dress – the set which she keeps for the market sessions only. And the motorbike becomes smaller and finally disappears on a winding mountain road of Lao Cai.

The two are among many local sellers who join Can Cau market once a week. They bring along probably all what they make or grow at home that can be sold. Their friends might walk to the market with a buffalo, or a herd of piggies, or bags full of vegetables or fruits…all what needed for life to go on.

Scenes at the market

The market crowds from dawn, as many people come for their breakfast. The vibe is incredibly amazing: Group of people checking out a buffalo. Some piggies are grunting while waiting for people to come and see. And some men taste liquor from sellers like Lo Thi Mai before buying. Overthere, a long line of embroidery shops with colorful costumes brightens a corner of the market.

Any photographer would find these markets alluring. Also, there seems to be something for every photographer here: Traditional clothes, colorful mountain fruits and veges, and domestic animals for sale. But, what catch my attention the most are thatched  food stalls. Here, smoke rises from the burning wood reflects the sunlight, creating a beam of white rays.

Usually these food stalls are family-run, typically by husband and wife. As a result, they would do most of the works in the restaurant: Preparing ingredients, cooking, chopping meats, serving guests. And, there’s usually another person to do dish washing.

On one of the tables, a group of H’mong man is sitting with bowls of noodle, a plate full of steam-rising pig’s inner organs, a bottle of corn liquor and a cup for everyone. They quietly talk and smiles, and gently wave to passers -by.

Bac Ha market – the downtown Sunday booming flower.

Unlike Can Cau market, Bac Ha market happens right in the heart of Bac Ha town. And you can walk to the market if you’re staying in one of the nearby hotels.

The market is once a week, on every Sunday. This is when a whole central part of Bac Ha town is brightly lit up by the color of a thousand costumes. These are mostly the H’mong people, in their colorful dress. The market is an excellent example of a traditional minority market in the northern rugged mountains. The women are beautifully dressed and are busy in the acts of buying or selling. On the other hand, the men are mostly sitting drinking corn liquor at small tables while gossiping or slurping bowls of hot morning soup.

At Momentlives, we bring you a great sense of mountain markets photography on some of our tours. Check out HERE and join us!

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