The countryside around Bac Ha is a vertical version of Sapa. Roads wind along the edges of mountains, with beautiful views of valleys and endless ladders of rice terrace upon rice terrace. Scattered between them are the minority villages, just as poor as the ones near Sapa. They build with mud walls here though. The roads are little more than rocky trails, a serious challenge for motorcycles.
Bac Ha is mostly known for its Sunday market, the biggest in the area. Day tourists come here from Sapa, but it’s much quieter before they arrive because few people overnight here. It’s full of minority women in their colorful multilayered dresses, selling to the locals – although souvenir stalls have begun to line the entrances. There are clothes, tools, animals, meat, and anything else made or used locally on sale, plus numerous eateries.