Market in the mist

Every Saturday when a dense mist covers the forest, people from different ethnic minority groups gather in Y Ty market in Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province to sell their products.

The market is special because it is not only is a place for trade, but also for dating of young couples, creating a lively cultural picture of this mountainous area.

The market sells agricultural products, mostly vegetables, and traditional clothes made by the Ha Nhi, Red Dao, Day and Hmong.

Y Ty is a market of four ethnic groups, Ha Nhi, Mong, Giay and Dao.

A Ha Nhi woman buys incense at the year-end market.

Y Ty market is also known for medicinal herbs.

Ducks raised by the Ha Nhi are a specialty of Y Ty market.

Farm products of Y Ty are sold in the market.

A Mong girl chooses a colourful dress.

Selling women’s jewelry in Y Ty market.

Ha Nhi women test a kitchen utensil which is new and strange to them.

Buying blanket.

At a cloth stall in the market.

A Mong girl buyscolourful bands.

Chao Xu May, a red Dao woman from Den Sang commune, went to the market to buy bamboo papooses, saying “Y Ty market sells the best papooses for farmers on faraway terraced fields.” The best papooses she mentioned are made by 54-years-old Xong A Xe, a Ha Nhi man in Phin Chai village. His products are famous in the area for their beauty and durability.

Y Ty market is interesting in that its sellers and buyers who come from different ethnic groups do not understand one another. They communicate with body language and the deal is finished with friendly smiles or handshakes.

Located next to cloudy-around-the-year mountain Nhu Co San, the Saturday market is a lovely destination for visitors on a tour to discover Y Ty.

By Tran Hieu & Viet Cuong