Lung Phin Market
The stereotypical image of Ha Giang is one of rocky limestone outcrops and ethnic people. Another image synonymous with Ha Giang and these people is that of the open market. The place where locals come to meet, trade, eat, drink and socialize usually once a week but sometimes once a year for large festivals.
Lung Phin is a Cho lui, ‘backwards’ market.’
That simply means that the weekly market is held every 6th day and therefore on a different day each week. So, if the market is on Sunday this week, it will be on Saturday next week.
As well as being a very pragmatic affair the market does lend itself to the more frivolous activities of the young locals. It is a time to meet other young people that can be quite isolated for the rest of the week. This results in groups of young boys and girls teasing, flirting and sometimes arguing with each other. It’s all pretty standard teenager stuff.
Although, more regular and not as elaborate as the Khau Vai Love Market, Lung Phin is still a place where courtships take place. The girls will wear their best clothes with the H’mong in beautiful florally embroidered skirts and the Dao sporting their finest jewellery and trinkets. The boys are less concerned with looks and more with what assets their families offer.
How get there
There are 4 locations you may be coming from: Meo Vac, Dong Van, Yen Minh or Du Gia and they are 20, 25, 30 and 50Km away respectively. The easiest and shortest route from Meo Vac is signposted well so it would be the best choice.
You will need to be there early to see the most action. Locals will set off before dawn and things will be busiest at around 5 to 6 am. By 9am you will have long missed the crowds though that may be your preference.
You will see the usually mundane goods at the market because primarily people need to stock up for the week to come. This means chickens, pigs, root vegetables, sugar cane and herbs will be on offer as well as practical items for the kitchen/household. The specialties that you might be lucky to find are mint honey, dried beef and Lung Phin Snow Tea
You will easily find corn wine and Thang Co for sale and you may dare to try these. Be careful.
Singing and Dancing
Singing is a part of the fun and you will probably hear some, especially after a little corn wine has been imbibed. You may be lucky enough to hear the love songs that are sung at times. The boys will usually sing songs related to finding a good wife who is hardworking and will help him and girls will often sing of finding a true love. The sound is quite different to what you may have heard before and quite enchanting.
Is a weekly market and a very practical one at that. Locals will leave home very early and make the long trek in and then stock up on necessary items. Usually by late morning they are on their way back home again. There are 16 different ethnic groups around the Lung Phin area and they all go to market. It’s an interesting and vibrant scene.
Lung Phin Market
It’s well worth a visit, especially if you ca get there early to see the crowds (local) and miss the crowds (tourists)