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Cow Market in the Upland Meo Vac

Meo Vac cow market in Ha Giang Province is held every Sunday. It is the only one of its kind in the entire northern mountainous region of Vietnam. The market is not only for buying cows by the locals living in the karst plateau, it is also a time for the Mong ethnic people to get together.

Visitors to the area are always encouraged to go to Meo Vac cow market because of the unique characteristics of the local ethnic people.

The market goers have to start early in the morning. The cow sellers have to wake up even earlier, usually at midnight, and walk their cows to market. Many, who live far from the market, have to walk dozens of miles, climb mountains and cross streams to get there. However they don’t appear to be tired, instead they are smiling and cheerful.

There are not only cows for sale, but also dogs, goats and pigs. In spite of being tied up, a few chubby pigs are still able to run around. Goats lie near their owner’s feet. Dogs wag their tails in welcome to the passers-by.

The market welcomes the first visitors around 5 am. From the echoes of the forests and mountains, the clop, clop of the cow’s footsteps can be heard as they make their way to market. At the market, visitors will get to see how the local mountain people dress for daily life. The Mong men wear black dresses while the Mong women are dressed in their best, most colourful costumes with their children running by their sides. Near the area reserved for selling cows, there are food shops selling traditional Thang co (stewed meat soup) together with the fragrant maize wine. Most of the Mong men can’t afford leaving at the end of the day without trying some.

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Many locals do not sell their cows, dogs or pigs at the market; they just bring them there to show off for fun. However, there is an abundance of cows for sale, sometimes with herds of up to a thousand heads of cattle. The cows stand in line, side by side, waiting to be sold. Many people from the lowland areas, such as Vinh Phuc, Ninh Binh or Nam Dinh Provinces, also come to Meo Vac market to buy cows.

The Mong people are widely known for the good care they take in raising cows. On the karst plateau it is very cold in winter. There is often hoarfrost, but they can raise many strong and fat cows. On the average, a cow is sold for about VND 5-8 million. Larger cows may be sold for up to VND 20 million. To an ethnic family, a cow is truly an asset. After selling off a cow, the seller is often seen checking his cash carefully and counting it with pride. He is always ready though to spend some of his hard earned money to buy a bowl of Thang co soup and a few cups of maize wine. He considers that a reward for his efforts at raising such a good animal.

See also

Bamboo Dragonflies
Tho Ha Village’s Festival
Chilling at the conical hat market
Experience the Highlands at Lak Lake
Can Tho Watery Area
Untouched Ba Lua Archipelago

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