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But finding the perfect partner when you live in a tiny, remote village in the Vietnamese mountains is almost impossible. "I was a very lucky man to meet her in the market, but I think she was lucky to meet me too! In recent years, Sapa has become a hugely popular tourist destination, with foreign and Vietnamese visitors flocking to the picturesque town, famed for its terraced rice paddies and stunning scenery.

For generations, young people from the patchwork of ethnic minority groups in northern Vietnam have gone to the local town of Sapa on a Saturday night to find their future spouse. I wanted to see if I would meet any nice girls," traditional Hmong musician Giang A Vang, 50, said of his first visit to the love market three decades ago. "When I saw her for the first time I was playing my violin. The pair soon married and have been together ever since.

Tip for dating in Vietnam: it is conventional that men are supposed to pay for the bill as a gallant act.

This article had a different title when I started working on it.

Since the time I've met her, I found that I've developed feelings for her and scoured the internet to learn about Vietnamese culture regarding dating, love, etc.

The pair -- who had seen each other in their village but never spoken -- spent the evening at the love market chatting and enjoying the live music -- now amplified and on a stage purpose-built by local authorities for tourism.

I'm an American Asian (23) and I met a Saigon woman the same age as I 2.5 years ago.

"Before, the boy would whistle outside the girl's house and she would come and play a leaf to show she was interested," she said, describing traditional Hmong courtship rituals. "There are still true Hmong love markets -- but I'm not telling you when and where," he said.

But even at the original love market in Sapa, amidst the throngs of camera-touting Vietnamese and foreign tourists, some young locals still come looking for a relationship.

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