A short 30km ride from Mai Chau nestled away from the mountains main road is the tiney tiny village of Pa Co. Small in size but heaving in habitué at the weekend, for the Sunday markets main trade is in textiles, costumes and haberdashery for the ethnic Red and Blue Hmong people. (Reading time 3 minutes)
Entering Pa Co Market in between Mai Chau and Moc Chau occupied primarily by Hmong women wearing red, blue, green and purple ethnic cultural costumes. Colours, patterns and style depends on their village hamlet and family traditions.
Hmong girls searching through the piles of chinese printed Hmong skirts. They choose to wear these everyday whilst working in the fields and save the hand made embroidered costumes for best occasions.
This is the first market I have been to that did not sell the head to toe costumes ready made. It was a DIY job, if I wanted to own a Red or Blue Hmong costume I was going to have to make it myself.
Shake your tail feather. Hmong women from both groups in this area wear a tasseled apron that ties around the waist on the back of the skirt. It’s made from appliquéd panels, beads and fringing. Yes I was discreetly following women around to photograph their bums.
Hmong women reviewing the quality of the hand embroidered fabrics on the roll to make the skirts. Women stitch these at home during mid day when it is too hot to work outside and bring them to sunday markets to sell.
Pa Co market took me by surprise, I had previously never heard about it and so I had low expectations. But it was really really good. It was absolutely packed and over flowing with gorgeous colourful people all there to have a good time, meet up and make more marvellous outfits. It’s a much more authentic experience with only a hand full of tourist. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.
I drove by motorbike but it is very easy to arrange a pick up mini bus to the market from any of the guest houses, home stays or hotels in the area. The road is pretty straight forward out of Mai Chau. You need to leave early because it finishes at 10am. I left at 6am and arrived for 7. Google maps does show the most accurate location, so I stopped and asked a local man who asked me to follow him there. The market is about 500 meters down a road on the left side opposite a big loading bay. There are no signs from the main road.
Where to Stay
Home stay number 2, in the top right corner of Poom Coong Village, (turn right before Mai Chau Lodge) 70.000vnd / $3 per person per night.
For more information read my blog post MAI CHÂU Ở ĐÂU? MAP READING AND WHITE THAI WEAVING