A countryside transformed into a bustling market
The Vietnamese countryside is usually shown as picturesque, peaceful and beautiful. However… in reality, the countryside is a busy place for many locals. Rolling hills filled with rice, bicycles meander down the lanes and crickets chirp in the long grass.
Today I am going to show you a traditional market in my hometown in the North Vietnam, it’s called Chợ Phiên.
What is “Chợ Phiên”?
Chợ Phiên is a featured image of the countryside life in Vietnam. There are different chợ phiên in different areas. The market in the mountain areas of ethnic people will be different from one in the highlands and will be also be different to ones on the river.
My hometown is in the highlands so today I am going to tell you the traditional market in the highlands. Chợ Phiên is a market held by session which means there is a certain specific date in the regular lunar month when it is held. For example, the market in my ward is in the morning of the 2nd, 7th 12th, 17th, 22nd, 27th in every lunar month. It then rotates around wards daily.
What do people sell in the countryside?
From long time ago, people bring things to the market to exchange to something they need. Later on, people sell what they have and what they have made.
Nowadays, transportation is more convenient and people transport things to sell from a wider area. This means that there are many more items for sale but the traditional things still there in the countryside market as ever.
A place to buy things..
Local people visit the market to buy everything they need. And, you can literally buy anything from the market.
Most things in the market are served for local people in their daily life. There are fresh vegetable, vegetable plants or seeds, spices, fruits, flowers, pork, chicken, duck, fish, eggs, tea, knife, tools for farm work, tablets, medicine for animals, etc, in other words if people want it, you’ll find it here!
Most people get their clothes from here because there aren’t many stores like in a town or city.
Do you know Vietnamese tobacco called thuốc lào? You can buy it from here too. If you want to try it, be careful, it is very strong and can make you pass out. I have seen many foreigners try it then pass out after a few seconds. I would avoid it.
A place to sell things…
It is a place for local people to sell their products. They sell anything they have. It could be some vegetables in their garden, bamboo, a chicken, fresh duck eggs… It could be anything.
Making and selling conical hat is one of a job for local people, these nón lá are very strong, durable and are for farm work not like the tourist nón lá which are lighter that you have seen in tourist areas.
A place to hanging out…
They are for days out for families, meetings spots for old friends or playgrounds for children, it’s also a place where they can bring their children in when they have no one to look after them at home. Often children help their parents on the market. They can help their parents to sell things or make things.
How much does seller have to pay in order to sell at a session?
I bet you are wondering how much they have to pay for the community for one session.
Have a guess!
It depends on the stuff that you are selling, but it is from 4,000 vnd to 8,000 vnd for a session. The more you are willing to pay the better the plot is.
A place for young people to come back their hometown
Nowadays, many people from countryside moved to the city to work and live there, like myself. There are not any markets like that in the city, there are markets but they are different.
Whenever I come back to visit my parents, I always want to go to the market, it’s a place to buy fresh and healthy foods, cheap too but it’s also a place to remember my childhood, it’s a ‘chillable’ place to go with family.
If you ever had a chance to go to the Vietnamese countryside, please don’t forget to visit a countryside market. You will have a good experience, trust me! Let me know what is your thoughts. Thank you for reading my blog. Please let me know if you like this blog. I’ll come back with another blog soon.