Meo Vac Market – Ha Giang’s biggest ethnic minority market

Meo Vac Market, the largest ethnic minority market in Ha Giang, is a vibrant and bustling gathering held only on Sundays. This bustling market showcases the rich cultural diversity of the region, with colorfully dressed ethnic minorities trading a variety of local produce and even cattle.
In this guide:

Visiting the Meo Vac Market


The Meo Vac Market is located in the town of Meo Vac, situated in the province of Ha Giang. It is approximately 400 km north of Hanoi and close to the Chinese border.

When to visit

The market takes place every Sunday, starting as early as 5 or 6 in the morning. It is recommended to arrive early, preferably before 8 am, to fully experience the vibrant and lively atmosphere.

Please note that the market is less active in the afternoon. Additionally, there is a main market building open daily for regular grocery shopping, but the bustling market is only open on Sundays.

How to get there

One of the most recommended ways to visit the Meo Vac Market is by including it as part of your Ha Giang Loop itinerary. You can start your journey from Ha Giang City and take a bus from Hanoi to Ha Giang City. From there, you can continue your journey to Meo Vac by either riding a motorbike (self-drive or as a passenger) or by car, following the loop route.

What is the Meo Vac Market

The Meo Vac Market is a bustling weekly market that draws mostly ethnic minorities. Ha Giang is known for having one of the biggest ethnic population in Vietnam and many of them are living in the nearby villages of Meo Vac.

lot of ethnic minority people on the Meo Vac Market on Sunday in Ha Giang

Each week, these communities converge upon the small town of Meo Vac to engage in trade, selling and purchasing goods, and to foster social connections. The Meo Vac Market serves as a vibrant gathering place where ethnic groups come together to exchange stories, connect with one another, and celebrate their unique cultures.

What to expect


The atmosphere at the Meo Vac Market is truly amazing. It begins already the day before the market starts, as some of the traders gather and socialize with the people from different villages while they are drinking or singing karaoke.

On the actual market day, the vibrant atmosphere intensifies as the sun rises. The market becomes a hub of social interaction, where locals gather to meet friends and family, share stories, exchange news, and even partake in casual dating. This warm and friendly ambiance creates a welcoming and lively atmosphere throughout the bustling market.


While socializing is a primary focus for some minorities, there is of course a significant amount of trading taking place at the Meo Vac Market. It is interesting to observe the minorities engaging in the process of buying animals, carefully inspecting them before entering into lively bargaining sessions.

ethnic people selling clothes at the Meo Vac Market

Additionally, wandering through the market and witnessing the locals engaging in various transactions at different stalls provides a fun glimpse into the bustling trade dynamics of the market.


One striking aspect that immediately catches your attention is the vibrant display of colors. The ethnic women, in particular, don the most exquisite and colorful traditional garments, each representing their respective ethnic group.

Meo Vac Market

It is truly a visual delight, with a wide array of hues that captivate the eyes. Moreover, scattered throughout the market, you will find numerous stalls showcasing and selling these beautiful, colorful garments, further enhancing the lively and vivid atmosphere of colors.

Leaving Meo Vac

Your experience doesn’t end after the Meo Vac Market; it continues as you travel towards your next destination. Along the way, you will encounter numerous ethnic minorities making their way back to their villages after the market. It’s a common sight to witness these vibrant individuals, adorned in their colorful traditional attire, often accompanied by a buffalo or cow they have purchased or are bringing back from the market.

What to find on the Meo Vac Market

Layout of the market

The Meo Vac Market is divided into three main sections: a large indoor section, outdoor stalls along the surrounding streets, and a livestock section located on a grassy area behind the market building. The market is expansive, offering a wide range of products and goods for sale.

Indoor market

The indoor market at Meo Vac is a bustling hub of activity, particularly in the food section. Local vendors prepare and cook various dishes on open fires, creating a captivating sight and aroma. While the market building has large open windows, the air can become a bit smoky due to the cooking activities.

In addition to the food stalls, the indoor market also features a section dedicated to fresh produce, including a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and meats.

ethnic people eating local food at the Meo Vac Market
ethnic people eating local food at the Meo Vac Market

Although there are a few vendors selling clothes, the primary focus of the indoor section is on food offerings.

Outdoor market

The outdoor market at Meo Vac is a bustling and crowded space, with numerous stalls selling a wide variety of items. You can find a range of products, including locally made clothes, toys, kitchen utensils, mobile phones, charging cables, and factory-made clothes. Some items are imported from nearby China, which is not very far from the town of Meo Vac.

Meo Vac Market

In addition to the merchandise stalls, there are also food stalls where you can sample local delicacies and experience the vibrant street food culture. It’s not uncommon to come across a barber providing haircuts right on the street, adding to the lively and dynamic atmosphere of the market.

Live stock

One of the main attractions of the Meo Vac Market is its lively live stock section, where ethnic minorities gather with their animals. Here, you can witness a diverse range of livestock, including buffalos, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, and more.

cow and minority people on the Meo Vac Market
ethnic minority people holding pigs at the Meo Vac Market on Sunday

A fascinating sight is observing the minorities proudly leading their pigs on walking leashes, showcasing their animals with a sense of pride and admiration, often more busy showing off their animals over actual having buying or selling intentions.

Plan your Ha Giang Loop

To ensure you don’t miss out on the vibrant Meo Vac Market during your Ha Giang Loop, careful planning is essential. It’s important to schedule your itinerary in a way that allows you to be at the market on the right day.

First, it is best to arrive in Meo Vac on a Saturday and staying overnight, because this will allow you to explore the market early on Sunday morning when it is at its liveliest.

Here is an example itinerary:

Day 0: Thursday

  • Travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang City by bus or car, either during the day or at night.

Day 1: Friday

  • Start the Ha Giang Loop from Ha Giang City and head towards Dong Van.
  • Explore Dong Van and its surroundings.

Day 2: Saturday

  • Continue your journey from Dong Van to Lung Cu.
  • Experience the stunning Ma Pi Leng Pass along the way.
  • Arrive in Meo Vac and spend the night there.

Day 3: Sunday

  • Wake up early to visit the vibrant Meo Vac Market.
  • After exploring the market, start your journey back to Ha Giang City via an alternative route, passing through Du Gia.

Optionally: If you have an extra day for the loop (4 days total), consider the following option:

  • Stay overnight in Du Gia to fully immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and extend your experience of the Ha Giang Loop.

Tips for visiting the Meo Vac Market

  1. Plan your trip: To fully experience the market, it is recommended to arrive in Meo Vac the night before, ensuring you can start early the next day and make the most of your visit.
  2. Start early: The market comes alive in the early morning, so it’s important not to miss out on the vibrant atmosphere and bustling activities that take place during this time.
  3. Allow enough time: To explore all the sections of the market, interact with the locals, and capture memorable photos, allocate at least 1 to 2 hours for your visit.
  4. Breakfast options: Since you’ll be starting early to explore the market, consider indulging in some local street food available at the market to satisfy your breakfast cravings.
  5. Respect local customs: Be mindful of the local customs and traditions while exploring the market. Dress modestly and be respectful when taking photographs, always seeking permission if needed.

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