The best 5 things to do in your next trip to Ha Giang
When visiting the last frontier of Vietnam, Ha Giang, travelers have numberous options to choose from in order to explore the province to the fullest, ranging from sightseeing, tasting local foods to go Ha Giang trekking.
Where is Ha Giang?
Ha Giang is one of the poorest mountainous provinces, about 350 km from Hanoi to the Northwest, bordering China. It’s a home to more than 20 ethnic minorities with different cultures and customs which makes this area an exciting place for travelers wanting to learn more about rural Vietnam.
Ha Giang is considered as a must-visit destination in the Northwestern area because of its wild nature and breathtaking beauty of rocky mountains and treacherous passes close to the the dangerous abyss. In the recent years, Ha Giang has become the most desired place of the North to young, adventurous travelers.
Why go to Ha Giang?
Ha Giang is not a place for people who love comforts and commercialisation so it’s often overlooked by foreign travelers. The province is located in the northern-most area , far away from big cities, hence it’s not an easy place for everyone and the number of visitors traveling to Ha Giang remains at a quite low level over the recent years.
Ha Giang in spring
Ha Giang is quiet, mysterious and offers travelers the chance to explore the raw beauty of Vietnam. Coming here, you can admire the stunning view of impressive karsts and green valleys with various kind of flowers blossoming all year round. If you’re an adventurer and you’re sick of places full of people, just pack your bags and make your way to Ha Giang province!
How to get to Ha Giang?
If you plan to head to Ha Giang as the first stop in Viet Nam, fly into Hanoi and then catch a bus/ hire a taxi to get to Ha Giang.
This is the most common way to get from Hanoi to Ha Giang. There are several buses leaving My Dinh/ Nuoc Ngam bus station every evening and you can easily book the bus tickets online or with the help of the receptionists. The buses have fully-reclining berths which make it easy to sleep at night. You can be well-rested while on bus and start to explore Ha Giang in the early morning of the next day.
Hello adventurers, here is an ideal option of moving to Ha Giang for you! From Ha Noi, you can rent a bike from plenty of motorbike shops. Not all of them provides good quality bikes, so ask your hotel or hostel for trustworthy dealers. You can double check the bike to make sure it’s still in good condition as you definitely do not want the bike to break down while you’re in the middle of nowhere. The 300-kilometer ride will take you more than half a day, especially if you make a few stops along the way. It’ll be also tiring so bringing some snacks and water along with you is a good idea.
Always ride with a helmet and don’t hesitate to honk when you drive into a curve with no visibility. At first, you might be probably amazed by the rather creative driving style of some local people, but soon you will realize it’s not that strange in Vietnam.
You should start your trip early in the morning to make the most of the day. When you leave the center of the city, you’ll find some roads very poorly illuminated. No one would want to drive in the dark on unfamiliar, treacherous roads!
Things to do in Ha Giang?
Of course you can enjoy the magnificent Ha Giang your own way, but you might also want to consider the list of must-do things below:
1. Take a selfie at Quan Ba Heaven’s gate:
Quan Ba twin mountains
From the center of Ha Giang city, you have to ride 46 km to get to Quan Ba District. After reaching the highest point of Quan Ba which is Heaven’s Gate, you can enjoy the feeling of touching the sky and enjoy the panoramic view of the special natural art: Quan Ba twin mountains.
The two twin mountains forms likening as two round-shaped breasts of a fairy. Local people believe that the fairy’s milk from her breast has provided good weather and fruitful crops for this land.
There is a cafe in this area and many tourists stop by here to spark conversations with other strange wonderlusts. You might also want to sit here, sip a cup of coffee, take a selfie with your new friends and the incredible picture of nature behind!
2. Stand on Lung Cu Flagpole
Lung Cu Flagpole marks the Northeast point of Vietnam
Lung Cu Flagpole is widely known as a marking point of the extreme North in Vietnam. From its top, you can see a vast area covered with some traditional houses, green valleys and yellow paddy fields. For Vietnamese people, Lung Cu Flagpole really inspires a deep sense of pride on our country and its history.
Standing quietly on the Lung Cu Flagpole, looking up to red national flag flying in the blue sky, you can feel strong sense of peacefulness in your soul.
3. Enjoy spectacular view from Tham Ma Pass
Tham Ma Pass is a must-stop place on the way to Dong Van Karst Plateau. When you reach the top of the slope, park your bike and from above, you will see the roads stretching along stunning mountains to the horizon.
If the weather is good, there are usually many ethnic minority children in colorful traditional clothes playing there. You can ask the children to take a picture with you and give them some sweets you have.
4. Drink hot coffee in Dong Van old town at night
An ancient house in Dong Van town
From Tham Ma Pass, you have to drive 30 km more to reach Dong Van old town - an impressive and unique point of the rocky plateau. All the old houses in the town are over 100 years old, some are nearly 200 years old. Some visitors can easily find this place similar to Hanoi or Hoi An even though the town is much younger than the history of those cities. If you leave Ha Giang city in the early morning, you should be here by late afternoon.
After having dinner, you can have a walk around the town and explore the night life here. One of the most common things people often do at night is to take a sit and drink a cup of coffee. Watching people slowly passing by while sitting in a coffee shop far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities is definitely a good reward for yourself.
5. Conquer Ma Pi Leng Pass
The Nho Que river at the foothill of Ma Pi Leng pass
Ma Pi Leng is about 20 km long, also known as Happiness road which connects Dong Van and Meo Vac town. While Ma Pi Leng is not a long pass, it’s one of the four greatest passes in the northern Vietnam.
For many people, riding a bike on the pass with one side is deep charms, another side is erect cliff is a big challenge. However, once you set foot on the top of Ma Pi Leng, you will be completely amazed by the majestic scenery appear in front of your very eyes!
The viewpoint you have from Ma Pi Leng can’t be described simply by words only. No one can portray the layer upon layer of the mountain, the depths of the abyss and the green Nho Que river at the foothill. Just experience it yourself! The beauty of nature will take your breath away!
6. Go trekking
Trekking in Ha Giang
Last but not least, if you want to experience Ha Giang to the fullest, from the closest angles, go have Ha Giang trekking tours. Most people choose motorbikes as a way to explore the province but that option might not satisfy those who long for something more authentic.
You can begin your Ha Giang trekking adventure by leaving the homestay in the morning and heading to some of the beautiful villages such as Lung Vai, Khuoi My and Ban Tha. Along the trek, you’ll get the chance to admire the beauty of yellow terraced rice paddies, stunning mountains and serene palm-tree forests. You might also run into people from different ethnic groups like Man and Dao. Just say hello, wave your hand or smile to them, they are generally hospitable and happy to interact with tourists.