Tiptoeing around the Can Cau Open Air Market in Northeastern Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Tiptoeing around the Can Cau Open Air Market in Northeastern Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Tiptoeing around the Can Cau Open Air Market in Northeastern Vietnam, Southeast Asia


“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” – Diane Arbus


The Can Cau Market is Vietnam’s most authentic and isolated open-air market. It is held only on Saturday every week and is located about an hour drive from Bac Ha in Northeastern Vietnam and nine kilometers from the Chinese border.

From a photographer’s point of view the beauty of the market is the riot of colors from the clothing of the various ethnic hill tribe minorities, the most colorful being the Flower Hmong tribe. The only problem is that they are not too keen on being photographed by outsiders.

I really wanted to make a photograph of this elderly woman so when I asked her if I could take her photo (more like I put on a pantomime show since she did not speak English) she shook her head at me.

Later that morning I saw her again from a distance and I quickly switched from my Canon wide angle lens to my Canon 70-200 f/4 IS L telephoto lens to compose this photograph.

Yes, I felt like a little kid “tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies” taking this candid photograph.

I am a bad photographer! Send me to the timeout corner!

Check back for more of my adventures in Vietnam! One more photo in the comment section.

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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Taken on: 5th May, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See Sam Antonio Photography's page of Flickr

Read more about Bac Ha

It's something of a shame that few tourists venture beyond Sapa, because to the east of Lao Cai city lies the other half of the province. The ground soars upwards again to the peaks of the Chay River Massif, where the town of Bac Ha is to be found, 66 kilometres by road.

Bac Ha, at 700 metres above sea level, is a 'little Sapa', and while it's much less developed for tourism, it's in an ideal location for off-the-beaten-track treks to visit colourful weekly markets. The Can Cau and Bac Ha markets in particular feature local scenes that have been going on every week for generations, where cattle, horses, goats and dogs are bought and sold, as well as many traditional goods like saddles plus elaborate textiles, handbags and other trinkets made by the local tribespeople, the Flower Hmong. Their intricately woven daily costume is one of the main drawing points in itself. This is an incredibly beautiful part of Vietnam.

It's a very convenient ... Read our complete Bac Ha travel guide

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