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  #1  
Old 10-21-2007, 03:42 AM
Evolution Evolution is offline
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Default Bac Ha Market in Vietnam is Dead

Sadly, the famous Bac Ha market in Lao Cai province in Vietnam has been destroyed in the name of "progress" and tourism.... It was a famous market, and very popular with photographers because of the many Hill Tribe groups that would assemble there on Sunday, and because of their brightly colored clothing. It was also a special place because the locals seemed to go about their usual business and socializing, seemingly unaware, or tactfully ignoring the throngs of tourists that show up by tour bus. I was there about 2 weeks ago, and the original area has ben totally destroyed and is under construction, no doubt by the government trying to "improve" the marketability of this place to foreign tourists. A new area is now being used, but it is covered by ugly blue tarps, and (the background / lighting / environment) is not nearly as photo friendly as before. Furthermore, the streets leading to and from the market are now totally crowded with tourist booths run by the Vietnamese, the consumate middleman, selling cheap machine made "hill tribe" crafts. It was a sad surprize for me when I turned up at Bac Ha, but it seems an inevitable turn of events. Often tourism kills or corrupts the very thing that it loves. "Traditional hill tribe market in North West Vietnam", is no more.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:13 AM
stevep stevep is offline
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Default Re: Bac Ha Market in Vietnam is Dead

that is too bad. there are many smaller markets in the area so perhaps/hopefully most of the locals have relocated.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:20 AM
Luko Luko is offline
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Default Re: Bac Ha Market in Vietnam is Dead

Well... I suppose Bac Ha joins the cemetary of already dead vietnamese tourist traps like Ha Long Bay, Hue, Sa Pa, Tam Coc, Da Lat, Can Tho and many others...

Last time I went, it was last year, the place was invaded with tourist buses coming from Sa Pa, fortunately Can Cau or some more remote but smaller places remained untouched... just a matter of time they build some corny building around.

Unlike Thais, Vietnamese tourist organizations have a certain "gift" on screwing up their most interesting places to the ugliest, cheapest mass tourism. In 10 years time VN will be the Costa Brava of tourism in SEA (which was already the case for Sapa and Halong Bay).

I guess the concept of "sustainable development" has not reached VN yet : they want money NOW and don't give a f*ck about later. For those who know the country since it has opened to the tourists, it's the story of the VN tourism industry since the beginning and that's why it has often been such a frustrating experience. A pity : 12 years ago it was probably the most interesting country of SEA.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:18 PM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
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Default Re: Bac Ha Market in Vietnam is Dead

I went ther in 92, just about evrything I have felt or heard, or seen about the country since then does not really appeals to me as a traveller. maybe as a photographer, but M. Parr would do a better job than me, shooting the new market. It does have parking, no? :-))))
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Old 10-22-2007, 02:02 AM
Evolution Evolution is offline
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Default Re: Bac Ha Market in Vietnam is Dead

yes, tour bus parking. Right next to the "traditional" horse parking......
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Old 10-22-2007, 02:06 AM
Evolution Evolution is offline
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Default Re: to Luko

Luko,
I couldnt agree with you more. It is unfortunate, but it seems that is how its done in Vn. "Ugly, Cheap, Mass tourism" approach. Sad they dont see the intrinsic value of their cultural heritage sites. (Hue, Sapa, Old quarter, etc...) "A dong today......." philosophy.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:28 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default Re: Bac Ha Market in Vietnam is Dead

And Luko, please add the once lovely Hoi An to that list. A more grossly over-touristed place you will not find anywhere. Ok, maybe the Mont St Michel...
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