Ha Giang

Ha Giang

1. When to visit Ha Giang?

In Ha Giang, there are two main seasons: the rainy season (April to October) and the dry season (November to March).

This beautiful region offers a different perspective at different times of the year. For example, if you come between January and March, you will see the hills and mountains coming back to life after their winter sleep. The peach and plum blossoms add dots of white and pink to the green hills, offering a magnificent view and scent.

In April, you can attend the Khau Vai Love Market, a special event that only happens once a year. However, you need to check when exactly it takes place this year, as it depends on the lunar calendar and changes each year.

From May to July, farmers begin to work for a new season, all rice fields become green. Prepare to capture unforgettable moments!

In September and October, the rice matures in the fields and is almost ready for harvest. At that time, the rice fields turn yellow and cross the mountains like golden ribbons.

November marks the blooming season of buckwheat. From the end of the year to the end of the year, the bright yellow color of rapeseed flowers illuminates the entire region. In addition, in winter, some places on the Dong Van Plateau may be subject to snowfall.

ha giang

2. How to get to Ha Giang?

2.1. By bus

The city of Ha Giang is located far from Hanoi (about 300 km). Therefore, the most economical and comfortable way to come from Hanoi to Ha Giang is to take a night bus. You have more choices of bus stations in Hanoi, My Dinh, and Gia Lam. The bus ticket costs about 8 USD for one way.

Cars have fully reclining sleepers that help you sleep easily. Usually, the night bus will arrive in Ha Giang around 3.30 am. Travelling this way, you can start exploring Ha Giang after being well-rested and enjoying your first day to the fullest.

2.2. By train to Lao Cai then by bus to Ha Giang

Another option may be to take the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) and then take a local bus from Lao Cai to Ha Giang. You can buy train tickets online or at the train station. There is no rail link in Ha Giang, in the province as well as the city.

2.3. On a motorcycle

If you like adventure, head to Ha Giang on your own bike. The 300 km ride will take you almost a day, especially if you want to make a few stops along the way.

But firstly, you should check the motorcycle carefully to make sure it is in good condition. Since you will go on a long journey, always pay attention to your safety and drive with a helmet. It’s the law and it’s important because you probably do not know the driving style in Vietnam. When you’re ready to go, start your trip early in the morning to get the most out of daylight.

2.4. Private car or taxi

Rental cars or taxis are at your disposal to move within Ha Giang and its surroundings.

3. What to do in Ha Giang?

There are many must-see sites to visit in Ha Giang. To help you choose a few places to include in your itinerary, we offer a list of favorite destinations and natural sites to discover.

3.1. Thon Tha Village and waterfall

Thon Tha village is located in the city of Ha Giang. It is considered one of the few interesting sites in this city. With only about 500 people live here, the visit will give you a lot of emotion because you will see how people live in this part of Vietnam. A few steps from the city, you will find a beautiful waterfall that will allow you to cool off after a hike.

thon tha village

3.2. Khuoi My Village and Tai Con Linh Mountain Range

If you are looking for an excellent trekking experience, Khuoi My Village on Tay Con Linh Peak is a good choice from Ta Thon. During your walking, the countryside of Ha Giang unfolds before your eyes and it offers you a breathtaking view of the rice fields, the forests, and the surrounding mountains.

3.3. Ma Pi Leng Pass

Coming to Ha Giang without visiting Ma Pi Leng is unfortunate and regrettable. Many people try to get there to find how wonderful this pass is. For many travelers, this is the top 4 most dangerous passages in Vietnam. The limestone mountains rising up to hundreds of meters without ridges above the valley of the Nho Que River, one of the most beautiful views of your life. You will be surprised by the landscape and the endless views of the picturesque settings.

ma pi leng pass

3.4. The door of Paradise

Quan Ba Paradise Gate is located about 50 km north of Ha Giang City and is the gateway to the Geological Park. Once upon a time, behind the door, was a kingdom of Hmong peoples with four districts: Quan Ba, Dong Van, Meo Vac, and Yen Minh. In 1939, the French built a huge wooden door 150 cm thick to separate this area from the rest. The door is gone, there is only one sign in English and Vietnamese: Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate.

3.5 Hoang Su Phi

When visiting Ha Giang, you cannot miss Hoang Su Phi. It is so wonderful to see rice terraces in high mountains in this northern province. The fields in Hoang Su Phi are beautiful with the yellow color of the ripe rice as well as the green of the young rice.

hoang su phi

3.6. Local markets

The towns around Ha Giang are known for their colorful and interesting markets. Generally, they take place on Saturday or Sunday, or even a weekday. Popular markets to visit in Ha Giang include those of Dong Van, Meo Vac, and Tam Son. Go there to discover local products and dishes!

4. What to eat in Ha Giang?

In fact, Ha Giang has its own tasty food that you absolutely must try during your visit. The cuisine of the north is quite different from anything you have tasted in southern Vietnam or even in Hanoi. Each tribe has its own specialties, so get ready for a unique experience!

For a simple starter, try Trung Cuon – steamed egg pancake. Thin and delicate, it is accompanied by a hot sauce. And do not miss specialties such as Thắng Cố or Cơm lam Bắc Me (sticky rice cooked in a bamboo stretch), both are prepared with unique ingredients for an unforgettable flavor. In addition, grilled algae is another specialty of the region. The Tays are experts in cooking this ingredient, whether grilled, steamed or fried.

ha giang food

5. Suggested itinerary to explore Ha Giang

Day 1:  Hanoi – Pan Hou

07h00: We took the Limousine bus from Hanoi then arrived at Tan Quang, Ha Giang at 13h30. A driver was waiting there to pick us up then we drove to Ecolodge Pan Hou Village, located in Hoang Su Phi District in Ha Giang. After nearly 8 hours of driving, we finally were in Hoang Su Phi. It was such a long way, and we were really tired.
We checked in and visited around. All bungalows at Ecolodge Pan Hou Village were surrounded by ponds and vegetable gardens. Some rooms have a private balcony and seating area. Ecolodge Pan Hou Village is surrounded by mountain jungles and running rivers, with many interesting ethnic minorities living in the area.

Day 2: Trekking in Hoang Su Phi

After having breakfast, we started to trek from Pan Hou to Nam Hong village via the Thong Nguyen market. We trekked for nearly 18 km on that day and were amazed by the beautiful green rice field there. The weather was cloudy and sunny in the morning, the perfect time for trekking and taking photos of the rice field, so fantastic!

As it rained the night before, the road was a little bit muddy.  On the way, you could see some buffalos, chickens, and ducks, and talk with some local people. We stopped at Hoang Su Phi bungalow at 12h45 and had lunch. This bungalow has 10 rooms with private balconies and rice field view, a very good choice for nature lovers. The food was so good, too, and the staffs were super friendly. We paid 150,000 VND/person (approx 7 USD/person) for lunch and really enjoyed it.

We continued trekking from Hoang Su Phi bungalow back to Pan Hou at 14h20. We trekked for one and half hours then it suddenly rained heavily, and we decided to stop at a house nearby. The family warmly welcomed us and told us about their daily lives. We talked to one another for 30 minutes before walking back to Pan Hou. We arrived at Pan Hou at 16h30. End of day 2.

ha giang

Day 3: Pan Hou – Quan Ba – Yen Minh – Meo Vac – Ma Pi Leng – Dong Van

We started driving from Pan Hou at 08h45. Google maps show that transferring time is 5,5 hours, but in fact, it took us nearly 10 hours to drive because the road was so bad and we were stuck by an accident on the way. The loop was so stunning with scenery but was characterized by much steep and winding passes up along the mountain ranges and facing up deep valleys on the other side. We arrived at Ma Pi Leng pass at 6.45 pm when it was dark then took some photos. We checked in Hoa Cuong Dong Van Hotel at 19h30. End of day 3.

Day 4: Dong Van – Lung Cu – H’mong Palace – Ha Giang

Starting from the hotel at 09h50, we arrived at the Lung Cu flag tower at 11h00. Once you reach the flag pole’s entrance, you would have to climb almost 400 steps to reach the actual flag pole. Continue to climb some more steps, you could enjoy the amazing view on the top. The flag tower was built on the top 300m high Rong Mountain which is 1600m above sea level. Two semicircular lakes at the foot of the mountain are said to be the eyes of the dragon.

Lung Cu Flag Tower shows the affirmation of position and sovereignty of Vietnam as well as honor the patriotism and bravery of the people and soldiers in the border area. It is a great place to take panoramic photos of Dong Van, Ha Giang, especially the winding Happiness Road.

We spent 45 minutes at the flag pole then drove to H’mong King Palace, home of Vuong Duc Chinh – a Hmong wealthy and powerful man thanks to trading goods, especially opium and his descendant Vuong Chi Sinh. H’mong King Palace was built mainly with solid stone, wood, and terracotta tiles. The building served the function of protecting the Vuong family from being attacked by enemies. Setting your foot into the interior of H’Mong King Palace, you would encounter different sections of the palace including kitchen, dining room, bedroom, the main room for the altar and a large room for criminal executions. One more outstanding feature of the palace was its unique decoration with Vietnam’s traditional images encompassing lion, dragon, phoenix, and bat, depicting the power and prosperity of the family. We were also impressed by a small local market called Sa Phin Market in front of the palace gate and a parking lot operated by H’Mong people who are considered the descendants of the Vuong family. This place could give you a chance to experience an interesting history of the Vuong family as well as the cultural and traditional quintessence of local people. We finally drove back to Ha Giang and stayed overnight at Truong Xuan Resort.

ha giang

Day 5: Ha Giang – Hanoi

After checking out hotel, we drove from Ha Giang back to Hanoi. We had a very good time with Moty and his family – nice people from Israel. I learned a lot from them: Shalom, Toda, Hu wa, Oh mama… It’s such an unforgettable trip! Toda Raba!!!

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