Bac Ha market

My last day in the Sa Pa region was a Sunday. And the reason I stayed the extra night was a big local market in Bac Ha. Pick up was suddenly way earlier and at 7:30 After I had my usual Pho for breakfast

 I was downstairs waiting for the guide. I met Marsha from the long trek in front of the hotel and the off we went, collecting other tourists along the way.

It was a three-hour ride to get to the market and once we arrived at Bac Ha it was clear that it was very popular.

Our guide led us through a side street to the market and walking there we passed the horses and the birds.

    In this busy side street was our restaurant for lunch and from here on we explored the market by ourselves.

Marsha and I walked around together and we had our first stop after two minutes to a bean drink/dessert. It’s basically ice with red beans and then all kinds of jelly, shredded and toasted coconut, peanuts and more, topped with bean juice. Very tasty!

Other impressions from the market.


Look at this variety of greens/herbs.


When we passed the fish market we saw a customer choosing a fish. So if you’re squeamish please look away.


And here is one who got away. I didn’t know if we should say something but then I could see that the sales lady had already noticed the runaway. When we left the stall it was still alive.

At this market you get everything from buffalo to your next dress.

                     I tried one of these fried balls, it was not overly sweet and filled with a yellow bean paste. Yummy!

And other food stuff I didn’t try (so far).


Then we went back for lunch which was boring and bland after everything that we had seen at the market. So let’s just forget about it.

After lunch we stopped at a local minority village to see how the tribal families lived in the area. The house that we visited had one room, the sleeping area was quartered off by curtains but the rest was one big space in which they worked and watched tv. There was a small table, probably for the meals and homework, but only one chair.



Here child safety was not an issue.           

A short bus ride later we got off at the Hang A Tuong Palace just north of the market in Bac Ha. It was swarming with the tourists but you still see the beauty of the building. Designed by a French and Chinese architect and built according to Feng Shui guidelines, the palace was the home of the ‘Kings of the north’. Father and son from a Tay ethnic people ruled the north with a 70% H’mong share. They exploited what the could but at least the palace is still left, now for everyone to see.


There was a small shop in the palace where I saw an old woman weaving.

Back on the bus we made our way to Lao Cai to catch the train. One last stop in Lao Cai for all though. What I hadn’t realized when I had arrived here three days ago was how close the Chinese border was. It was just across the river.


After the last stop three other girls and I got off at a small hotel near the train station, shared dinner and then took the night train back to Hanoi. Yours, Pollybert

PS: The food tasted how it looked, boring and bland again.


Leaving China

It was not so easy to find a way out of China, there were no direct flights from Guilin to Hanoi so I had to think about where I want to stay a day. In the end I decided on Guangzhou and this was were I was going on my last day in China.

A taxi picked me up at 6:30 and without breakfast I was on the way to the airport. One last toll stationIMG_3384 and I was at the airport. The flight itself then was only for about an hour but we were still served breakfast. Really European airlines can learn something here!

Yeah, and then at shortly after 9am I arrived in Guangzhou. Not really an interesting city. But I had looked up on the internet on what was there to see. I took the metro to the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall which was on all sites the no. 1 thing to do. Upon arrival there I know why. It included also a folk arts museum with lots of little shops. The ancestry hall was beautiful though.IMG_3385IMG_3387IMG_3388IMG_3389IMG_3394IMG_3396

Of course the hall had been renovated by the Chinese so there was no telling what was original and what not.IMG_3398IMG_3399IMG_3400IMG_3402

The craft working of ivory was very beautiful and looked amazing but of course one cannot support it by buying anything. I have noticed in most of the big cities large ad campaigns against which included Prince William for e.g.

When I left I saw a really cute police car in front of the metro station.IMG_3407

I took the metro again and the next station was already the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street an area that had lots of craft shops, there was a street for jade work, and one for furniture, silver, fabric and so on. Really quite interesting but I was not sure what to buy since I cannot take fake jade from real one. So what is the point of getting a bracelet for a lot of money?

I needed first of all in the shopping mall right next to the pedestrian zone to get some lunch and for my last day in China I settled on Japanese.IMG_3409IMG_3410

After lunch I walked through the pedestrian zone, circled it from one end to the next. But there was really not so much to see, the heat and the humidity were awful and I didn’t really know what else to do since the shopping center was small and had no coffee shops. So I decided I would try to see the next point on the to do list, the Tian He Sports Center which is probably a sports center but when you get out of the metro you basically were surrounded by shopping malls. In this weather heavenly bliss!IMG_3411IMG_3412

I ended up walking around the underground malls for hours until it was time for another snack. Here I enjoyed a really great fruit yoghurt.

Finally it was time to go to the airport and although my flight was delayed I was happy that I had arrived early. The leaving procedure took as long as the entering one. And that was it with China. Yours, Pollybert