INFORMATION FOR HA GIANG
WHERE IS HA GIANG?
Ha Giang is the remote mountainous province
Ha Giang is a province in the remote area of the Nothern Vietnam with the most natural and beautiful scenery.Ha Giang is the place where almost 90% of the population are ethnic minorities with their own cultures and lifestyles. The province is less frequented by tourists, but the popularity is growing.
Ha Giang is an unique place, that is for now still untouched by mass tourism
During the last 20 years, whilst other Vietnamese provinces and cities experienced economic development, Ha Giang was the place which seems to have stood still in time. The main reason for this has been the political situation and relations with China. This Ha Giang travel guide is one of the most read articles on this website. Ha Giang is a unique place, for now still untouched by mass tourism. The Chinese invasion of 1979 has been forgotten now, and the Vietnamese Government has financially helped with the construction of the new roads and infrastructure, and there are also some modest hotels. In Ha Giang town you will find any type of hotels and accommodation as well as homestay. If you continue to Dong Van and Meo Vac, the amount of accommodation on offer shrinks. Vietnamese tourism is gradually increasing, and in addition some foreign tourists are coming here and they are mostly excited. Market in Tam Son town in Ha Giang province.
WHAT TO SEE IN HA GIANG?
Minority people in Ha Giang - Captured by Pham An
You will see a lot of fantastic scenery of mountains, valleys, rivers, villages,hills....
You will see a lot of fantastic mountain scenery over the whole area. …and starting with hills, valleys and villages and with the ethnic minorities (Hmong, Tay, Dao, Nung, Lo Lo, Giay, Pu Peo). The farthest and the most beautiful place of Ha Giang province is Dong Van Karst Global Geopark, designated by UNESCO as one of 77 sites with the important geological and cultural heritage.
This geopark is littered with the ethereal karst formations that are nearly 400 million years old, and has two protected areas
Dong Van Karst Global Geopark is the home of 17 ethnic minority groups. Ethnic minorities create a unique and rich cultural heritage of the area. Traditional practices and habits of these ethnic groups are very diverse and interesting, and they attract many travellers who have a chance to explore these unique aspects.
Authenticity, nature, beautiful mountains and no tourist crowds.
Ha Giang is still an authentic part of northern Vietnam, offering you untouched nature, fascinating mountain scenery and passes, but also areas that look like about 100 years ago. That is, different villages of ethnic people who occasionally look at you like martians (as tourists arrive, this is no longer the case everywhere, and people have become accustomed to foreign tourists). Mostly, do not expect rival minorities such as in Sapa.
Life of 17 ethnice minority group of Vietnam
Dong Van Karst Global Geopark is the home of 17 ethnic minority groups. Ethnic minorities create a unique and rich cultural heritage of the area. Traditional practices and habits of these ethnic groups are very diverse and interesting, and they attract many travellers who have a chance to explore these unique aspects. The northern most place of Vietnam is the village Lung Cu which has the Vietnamese flag on Dragon mountain. Lung Cu is known for its many special foods and beverages. You can taste the alcohol made from honey and corn, or Thang Co soup, which is cooked from every part of the animal.
Ma Pi Leng – The Legendary Pass
Ha Giang travel is certainly familiar to many people, there are many attractions in there but Ma Pi Lengmay be the most experience because it will bring to you a wonderful trip that can not describe in words.
Ha Giang – the top Vietnam location is not only famous for its buckwheat, the Lung Cu flagpole but also is known for the craggy cliffs, the legendary pass, and Ma Pi Leng pass is one of them. Ma Pi Leng - the name is not new, is the first choice for tourists who want to explore Ha Giang.
Ma Pi Leng is the name of the rugged pass of Ha Giang, about 20 km long. It is located on the road called “Happiness”, connecting Ha Giang city, Dong Van district, and Meo Vac town. Ma Pi Leng in Mandarin is "horse’s nose", that mean the horse that goes through the pass will also stop breathing.
Ma Pi Leng Pass, while not long, but is the most rugged pass in the northern mountain. It is referred to as the "king" of Vietnam passes. In order to complete this road, there are thousands of workers from all over the northern provinces working hard day by day, and it had done in 11 months. Originally, the Ma Li Leng pass is just wide enough for pedestrians and cart, later, it is expanded more than for automobiles, but still very dangerous because the two cars are very hard to avoid each other in the opposite direction. Once completed, Ma Pi Leng pass was seen as the "Great Wall" of Vietnam. On the top of the pass placed a stone tablet recording the pass mark on road construction, which is also to memory and remember those who have sacrificed, contributing his life to make the Happiness road.
Ma Pi Leng pass with one side is the deep chasms, another side is the erect cliff, which has been a big challenge to those who preferred adventure. After crossing the slopes, visitors set foot on the top of Ma Pi Leng, will suddenly surprise the majestic mountains appear in the sky.
Ma Pi Leng Pass – The Pass, which goes through the high mountains area.
After a few minutes drive from the city of Dong Van the famous road and mountain pass begins – Ma Pi Leng Pass. It’s probably one of the most beautiful roads you can ride in Vietnam. The modern history of the road started in the period between 1959-1965, when thousands of young people from 17 ethnic groups built the road, the construction process taking 11 months.Initially, the road was only for walking or horse teams, but later it was extended to cars and trucks. Hills and mountains create fantastic images but the roads are dangerous, ride carefully on a motorcycle.
Nothing can portray the layer upon layer, mile upon mile of the mountain, the magic of the cloud, the depths of the abyss, and the green Nho Que river at the foothills. With the majestic scenery, the visitors will think that they are almost halfway up the sky.
Nho Que River Boat Trip
With rugged terrain and spectacular unspoiled scenery, Ma Pi Leng Pass deserves as one of the "big four Pass" of the northwest region of Vietnam (alongside Pha Din Pass, O Quy Ho pass and Khau Pha Pass). Standing on top of Ma Pi Leng, watching the majestic landscape, this is the most experience that can not be said. Just that, the name of Ma Pi Leng make those who passion in traveling will desire to arrive, and certainly, they will return many times more.
Traveling in Ha Giang will not be complete if you skip Ma Pi Leng pass, so make sure that you do enjoy there before leaving.
Hoang Su Phi is a remote area in Ha Giang with beautiful rice terraces.
Hoang Su Phi in the province of Ha Giang is an area less frequented by tourists. But that does not mean it is not pretty. Through the entire area you will pass huge areas of rice terraces, unspoilt nature and ethnic villages. If you stay for a few days in Ha Giang, this place is definitely worth a visit, but you need to take at least two days. Hoang Su Phi is about 70 km from the city (see map), but to get there through the winding road takes a lot of time. Hoang Su Phi – untouched nature, ethnic villages and cultural heritage.
There are several cheap hotels (Nha Nghi) in Hoang Su Phi town, or you can use a homestay with local people, just ask the people in the city.
Also Panhou village ecolodge is on the way, with higher prices for tourists. Ethnic residents are composed of 11 ethnic groups (mainly Hmong, Tay, Dao and Nung). Hoang Su Phi lies at an altitude of about 1,000m, the weather is about the same as in Sapa, but does have more limited services
The Hmong king’s palace (Vuong Chinh Sinh) in Sa Phin village.
On your way to the furthest north places in northern Vietnam – Dong Van and Meo Vac, visit the The Hmong king´s palace in Sa Phin. This unassuming palace is located along the road to Dong Van. However, it is very important for the local Hmong community.
Residents of this area during the reign of Vương Chinh Đức together with Ho Chi Minh gained national freedom. The palace was used as a residence and fortress during Vuong Dynasty. You can also learn something about the history of Ha Giang province.
Ethnic markets in Ha Giang:
It’s a very good option and travel tip to visit a small or large authentic ethnic market in Ha Giang province. The best days for visiting a large ethnic market are Saturday or Sunday. Some markets take place in the working days in the week. It’s a great opportunity to see the people of ethnic minorities, who came here travelling many kilometers from their homes. They sell mainly fabrics, animals and food.
Here is a little excerpt of larger markets, ethnic markets are named according to areas where they are held:
Ha Giang town – Sunday market
Quyet Tien, Quan Ba (Tam Son) – Saturday market
Quan Ba – Sunday market
Coc Pai – Sunday market
Lung Phin – Sunday market
Hoang Su Phi – Sunday market Sa Phin – every 6th day
Pho Cao – every 6th day
Pho Bang – every 6th day
Ma Le (Dong Van) – Saturday market
Dong Van – Sunday market
Khau Vai Love market (26th and 27th of the third month of the lunar calendar)
Meo Vac – the largest Sunday market in Ha Giang province
Meo Vac Market
WEATHER IN HA GIANG
The best time to visit Ha Giang is in the dry season, in the months from September to April. But it is good to know, the winter months (December, January, February) may be very cold. Recommended months > September, October, November, March, May.
It is not good to go to this mountainous area during the rainy season (June to September, landslides possible).
The average temperature is approximately the same as in Hanoi.
But in the mountain areas the weather can change quickly and the roads can be dangerous.
However, the amount of precipitation in the rainy season is higher than in Hanoi.
ACCOMODATION IN HA GIANG
You will find a lower category hotels, guesthouses (Nha Nghi), but also offer of homestay accommodation in Ha Giang town. When you go with a motorbike you can accommodate in Coc Pai, Hoang Su Phi, Tam Son, Yen Minh, Dong Van, Meo Vac, Bac Me.
There are some cheap hostels, hotels and homestays. Now it is not a problem to book your accommodation in this province online. The number of hotels in this province still growing. You can also use Airbnb, there are lots of typical homestays, wooden cottages but also hotels in different places.
Homestays, guesthouses, hotels in Ha Giang + Dong Van
Jungleman homestay Má Lé Homestay
Royal hotel ★★★ Lý Hoan Guesthouse
Truong Xuan Resort ★★ Bui Homestay
Ha Giang Tiamo hotel ★★ Huyen Tram Guesthouse
Bong Hostel ★★ Hotel Đá Nhớ
Huong Thao 2 Hotel ★ Xuan Thu Guesthouse
Ban Tuy Homestay Du Gia Backpacker Hostel
PLACES OF THE MOST INTERESTS IN HA GIANG
Noong lake (25 km from Ha Giang town)
Sunday market in Ha Giang town
Ma Pi Leng Pass – Nho Que river (+skywalk/skypath in Ma Pi Leng)
Hoang Su Phi, Xin Man
Thac Tien – Đeo Gio (Fairy waterfall)
Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark
The valley of Quan Ba + Tam Son town
Lung Khuy Cave (7 km from the town of Tam Son)
Thien Phuong cave (7 km from the city)
Lung Cu Flag Tower (Lung Cu + Lo Lo Chai villages)
Dong Van and Meo Vac
Yen Minh (Tham Ma Pass)
Đồn Cao viewpoint in Dong Van town
The Hmong king’s palace (Vuong Chinh Sinh)
Khau Vai love market (once per year)
Sunday market in Meo Vac, Dong Van, Yen Minh…
Male market in Dong Van
Ethnic minority villages (Pho Cao, Pho Bang, Sung La, Lung Cu…)
Chieu Lau Thi Mountain ( Floor Thi Chieu) - 2402 meters
Tay Con Linh Mountain ( the highest moutain in Ha Giang ) - 2427 meters
HOW TO TRAVEL IN HA GIANG
Ha Giang motorbike loop – drive through the fantastic areas of Meo Vac.
Motorbike is the best way to discover Ha Giang , only for experienced drivers
Ha Giang motorbike loop – it is a very popular motorbike trip in Ha Giang province. The best idea how to start your motorbike loop in Ha Giang is to rent a motorbike in Ha Giang town. Then you can travel by motorbike to the northernmost part of Vietnam. You can go to Meo Vac town from Dong Van town, through the mountainous area at an altitude of 1,500 meters. This area is one of the most beautiful that you can see in the Ha Giang province.
Private car /Public transportation:
Look at the map of Ha Giang and its geographical location, we can tell that she shares her northern border with China, her western border with Lao Cai & Yen Bai province, with Cao Bang province in the east; and with Tuyen Quang in the south.
Then to reach Ha Giang province, we can choose different travel routes from Hanoi by road transfer ( no railway or airway directly connecting to this province yet).You can approach the land of Ha Giang by motobike, public transport,private car or mixture of those transfers depending on your budget & comfort. There are different travel routes that you can choose to reach Ha Giang from Hanoi too.
Travel to Ha Giang by private car is a good choice for travellers who are not experienced drivers of motorbikes
How to get from Hanoi to Ha Giang town by public transportation:
From Hanoi to Ha Giang by bus:
Ha Giang town is very far from Hanoi (about 300 km) and the best and most interesting places are in Meo Vac and Dong Van. It is possible to use a sleeper bus or van/minivan from Hanoi to Ha Giang town. The one-way bus tickets cost approx. $9-18 and this way of travel to Ha Giang can take about 7-8 hours (day or night buses).