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» » Na Meo market - friendship bridge between Viet Nam, Laos

TRAVEL - Na Meo market has long been one of the most interesting trade fairs for both Vietnamese and Lao people living along border between Viet Nam’s central province of Thanh Hoa and Laos’s Huaphan Province.

The market not only serves as a place for people from the two countries to do business, but also a venue for them to meet and socialise, so it has also been dubbed "Unity Market".

The market opens once a week on Saturday morning in Thanh Hoa Province’s Na Meo commune, about 300m away from the Viet Nam-Lao border.

During Tet , the market becomes busier than usual.

People from different ethnic groups such as the H’Mong and Thai cross rivers and mountains to visit the market, as well as traders from Huaphan Province.

Lo Y Van from Huaphan’s Viengxay commune said she woke up at 3:30am and travelled more than 20km to reach the market despite the cold weather.

She brought home-grown vegetables to sell to earn money to buy clothes and books for her children.

Some of the specialities on sale at the market include roast porcupine and other local products.

Na Meo market opened in 1989. At the market, both the Vietnamese dong and the Lao kip are accepted, while people overcome the language barrier by using hand signals to bargain for goods.

While some people visit the market to purchase specific items, others go merely out of habit, and the market has become a cultural bridge for the two countries.

Head of the Na Meo border gate Nguyen Quang Dung said the market played an important role in production and life of people who lived along the border.

“This is a key supply chain for consumer goods and production materials,” he said.

An estimated 63,000 people and 3,000 vehicles regularly use the Na Meo border gate each month.

Source: VNS

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