The story of the Love Market in Sapa is one that is very old and spans numerous eras and just by this story alone, one can get a sense of the wonderful warmth and intricacies of Vietnamese society and culture.
As per this very old story, every Saturday night local tribesmen would make their way into Sapa town from a hard week’s work in the surrounding mountains. This was an opportunity for them to relax and unwind whilst buying and selling their goods and produce. At the same time, this was an opportunity for them to use this market for a more emotional purpose – finding love!
Given that these tribesmen wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to interact with the opposite sex in their day to day lives in the mountains, the Love Market in Sapa proved to be their main outlet for meeting and interacting with tribeswomen. The same also held true for the tribeswomen who under the pretense of selling their handicrafts and showcasing their weaving and dressmaking skills, would stand in the market in the hopes of finding their Prince Charming.
What then transpired each Saturday night could well be the most elaborate courting experience with the tribesmen playing their musical instruments as a way to entice and woo the women of their dreams. Meanwhile, if a woman took to fancy one of the tribesmen she would start singing to the tune of the music being played by him – thus affirming the mutual interest. And so began one love story after another.
Over the years, with the influx of tourists, the Love Market has definitely become more commercial and the courtship performances have slightly lost a bit of their innate intimacy. So a typical Saturday night at the Love Market will now allow you to see the traditional courtship scene being played out with lighting, microphones and the like on a stage in the public square. That said if you look close enough you will definitely still see more genuine cases as well.
In either case though, by the time you leave, you will leave knowing that the Love Market does remain a social melting pot for the community. Around the fringes of the festivities, locals will still parade themselves, perform songs or dances, promote their handiwork, or just shout at each other in the hope of catching some attention from the opposite sex.
Whilst the ‘love’ part of the market primarily happens on Saturday nights, the selling side of the market is permanently set up to cater for tourists and offers traditional handicrafts alongside a wide variety of more modern-day items such as watches, belts, and toys.
So regardless of what or how one interprets ‘love’, one thing remains certain: the Love Market is still very much a focal point to the interactions and socializing of the mountain tribes. As such then, the Love Market is the perfect place for you to see and experience Sapa at its most primal and intimate level when you go trekking in the area.
According to VietKings (Kyluc.vn)