Sapa Market, Sapa - review by Rusty Compass
Sapa | see and do guide

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Sapa Market, Sapa

| 10 Nov 2016


Sapa Market, Sapa
Highway 4 D - 1km east of town
7 days from early morning

Our rating
10 Nov 2016

Sapa’s market has moved. It's now around 1km east of the old town. Head out and visit the Hmong and Red Dzao section upstairs for some outstanding fabric.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

The old market in the centre of Sapa was until recently, a highlight of a visit to the town. In a bizarre own-goal, it was moved to a soulless new location out of town, a few years ago.

Stallholders unanimously agree that the move has been a disaster - especially local Hmong and Dzao women selling their handcrafted fabric.

For visitors, local Hmong and Dzao fabrics have always been a draw. You wouldn’t know this from their obscure position in the market though. Vietnamese stallholders have all the high-visibility spaces downstairs.

If you’ve ever wondered how local Vietnamese authorities treat local Hmong and other ethnic minorities, this market is probably a pretty good indication.

Make the effort to head out and visit this little section of stalls and sewing machines upstairs. These women are wonderful characters, they do great work and they need support.

While most of the fabric sold upstairs at the market is genuine, increasing amounts of machine-made fabric from China is making it into Sapa's market stalls.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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