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[Photos] Fancy a Drink, Scarf or Even a New Cow? Head to Meo Vac’s Sunday Market.

Meo Vac is a small town located in the extreme north of Vietnam, close to the Chinese border that stretches out as far as the eye can see behind the massive limestone mountains surrounding the region.

It’s an unavoidable stop on the increasingly popular Ha Giang loop. My first passage through Meo Vac had left me quite indifferent. After the magnificent 22 kilometers of zig-zags through the mountains of the Ma Pi Leng Pass, I had found the town quite unnoticeable.

It had the feeling of crossing a ghost town that would make a perfect setting for a post-apocalyptic movie. But this was before discovering the very bustling Sunday market on my second visit.

Each Sunday, the city takes on a whole new look; one of an open-air theater. The area’s different ethnic groups, including the Lo Lo, Dao and H’Mong, drape themselves in their most beautiful traditional costumes to turn the town into one of the most colorful rendezvous in Vietnam.

Vegetables, fruits, medicinal plants, rice or corn alcohol, kitchen tools, clothes, cows or a chubby pig — there is nothing you cannot find in this market. The local ethnic groups not only meet for business, but also to share the latest news of their village or take one (or a few) drinks together.

An overview of the busy market.

Traditional garments for sale.

Catching up over textiles.

A local tailor.

A view from the livestock section.

Cattle engaging in some sort of physical interaction.

The mist-shrouded limestone karsts of far north Vietnam surround Meo Vac.

What a morning.

Vendors and a passerby.

A fabric vendor.

Hi!

Steam pours out of a vat of noodles.

Lines and shadows at the market.

A quiet moment of reflection.

Silhouettes shopping.

One must always be ready for rain in the north.

Hanging out on a cloudy Sunday.

"Pipes! Get your pipes here!"

Perhaps they are seeing who can go the longest without blinking.

The squad.