All in one Guide Ha Giang Viet Nam

Ha Giang is always listed as a must to go for Vietnamese, particularly those who love extreme experiences while riding motorbikes on high steepy mountain slopes. Besides, gardens of fully blomed buckwheat in November or traditional cultures of Vietnamese ethnic minorities namely H’mong and Miao, are some factors that drive locals to visit the province.

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Hmong ethnic group takes up more than half of the province populations

For foreigners, detailed guides on plans, offers, tips or activities are limited on Vietnamese versions with some exception from tourism agencies and global bloggers definitely. Hence come this post, which may be a reference to rely on during your trip to our country (as written by a native Vietnamese). I acknowledge that it’s impossible right now (as of early July 2020) for intake of tourists amid this “historical” Covid 19 pandemic, so please save it later on or just read for fun. Those who are still stranded in Vietnam, feels free to have a look if your visa/conditions allow yourself to travel along the country.

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Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark – a pride of Vietnam

Transportation

Ha Giang is a name refered to the whole vast province located on the most nothern tip of Vietnam, which share a border with China, marked by Nho Que river. The administrative city, Ha Giang city, is located more than 300 kilometers away from Ha Noi.

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Nho Que River – the symbol of Ha Giang

Chatered car/van/limousine seems to be a great option for a group of 5 or 6 to travel from Ha Noi. Agency may offer a rate of 3 or 4 million Vietnam Dongs for oneway

If you are a solo backpackpers, it’s wise to book a seat on night coaches from My Dinh bus terminal or Gia Lam bus terminal. Price varies from 200k VN dongs to 300k VN dongs for a 7-hour trip with lying bed and a saving for hostel. They run all night long from early morning to late midnight.

In case you wish to pay a little bit more for  gluxurious and comfortable experience with decent vehicles, it’s limousine which you shall think about! There are variety of 6-7 seat limousine that commute daily from Ha Noi to Ha Giang and vice versa. It should be noted that these Limousines operates from as early as 7am with the last service at 5pm. Drivers with “talented driving skill” help you to save one hour of traveling time in comparision with sleeping coaches. Their offices mostly lies around the corners of Hanoi old quarters. Offers of free transit service is available too.

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Dusk at somewhere in rural area, about 5 or 10 kilometer away from Ha Giang

All the bus lines are available for searching on Vexere.com or Momo E wallet if you have such activated service. They offen have promotions or offers depending on seasonal tickets, holidays or celebrations. Pay attention to banners and promotion codes if you don’t want to waste your budget.

Tips for those who depart from Noi Bai Iinternational Airport:

  • If you desire to be picked up at the arrival hall, please call the customer serivce line for help. Some limousines do offer such at an extra rate of 30k VN dongs for airport entrance ticket. Driver will contact you once they reach the airport. As of July, 2020, Daily Limousine and Vietnam Tourism Limousine are among those mentioned above.
  • Picking up at an intersection called Noi Bai intersection is avaiable too. It’s approximately 15 minutes driving from the airport by taxi with a fare of 100k VND or so. This option works for a group of four who want to save some penny for the trip. As I notice, most bus lines including Limousines stops at Noi Bai Intersection (at a restaurant nearby) to handle guests who can’t make it at the bus terminal. Ticket fare is somehow the same or more reasonable than at the bus termnial.

Want to ride yourself to Ha Giang city on a motorbike or scooter? It’s absolutely not a good idea as you are likely to be stopped by polices along the route unless you prove to have supporting documents like riding license, vehicle registered certificate and other types of insurance. Roads inside Ha Noi is always bustling and in traffic jam at rushed hour, which may slow down your trip. Moreover, sceneries are not that great while road conditions are always in maintenance or broken badly. So please, consider yourself for this option.

Routes Map

As for Nothern Vietnam, riding is not a piece of cake, at least when compared with road conditions in the South. I mean you may not find yourself lost in a jungle of nowhere but unpredictable accidents or run out of petrol while among an unknown route. Due to such difficulties, careful planning is advised, especially on any petrol station/motorbike shop or hint of information on the roads. I, myself, walked for an hour with my friends to search for a shop because of our broken tire on the moutain pass at 6pm. So memorable the moment that It still reminds me of how careful a trip should be planned.

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Road conditions of some passes all over Ha Giang province

Not to be over rated but the loop of Ha Giang from the city, passing through Dong Van and Meo Vac, does leave me great impression on how beautiful this region in Vietnam is.

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Ha Giang’s beauty can be considered as Vietnam’s one of a kind

To complete the loop, you need at least 2 days with 2 different options as below:

  • Starts at 6 or 7am from Ha Giang city, passing Quan Ba town, then turning right at Trang Kiem, leaving the national highway 4C on the left. After that conquering all the slopes and passes from Yen Minh to Meo Vac on routes 176. Be extra careful since the roads are badly damaged with high density of trucks. At the mid afternoon, you may reach Meo Vac and proceed to check in at Ma Pi Leng pass. The best panorama view is nowhere else than Horse Rock or Panorama Coffee (These spots are reviewed at the later section). You can ride for 20 kilometer more for a night stay at Dong Van or just feeling the upper sky at some limited properties on Ma Pi Leng Pass. The second day is all the way from Ma Pi Leng or Dong Van, throughout a circle of Lung Cu flagpoint, Wang palace (Miao Leader’s property), Tham Ma Slope and return to Ha Giang at 6-7pm through 4C

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The First Routes Map

  • A reverse loop rather than the first one. Instead of opting for Route 176, you keep going straight on National Highway 4C from Quan Ba town, Trang Kiem. This will bring you to Yen Minh pine forest, Tham Ma Slope, Wang Palace and Lung Cu flag points accordingly before reaching Dong Van for a rest. The second day starts at early morning from Dong Van to visit Tu San Alley for a boat trip on Nho Que River, then passing Ma Pi Leng through Horse Rock, Hope Rock, Panorama Cafe and Meo Vac town. From the town, please turn right on route 176 to return to Ha Giang city at night

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The Second Routes Map

  • The recommended option is for those who have more than 3 days to visit Ha Giang. You may basically follow the second option but with an easier plan and duration. The first day to stop at Lung Cu Flag point while the second night at Dong Van following the third day at Meo Vac/ Du Gia village and finally reach Ha Giang at the afternoon.This will allow you to rest at three different places without worrying so much about the time to chill out on the famous pass.

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The last Routes Map

Scenery Spots

As discussed aboved, there are a number of spots to check along the loop. I‘m moving to each landscape point seperately with tips and helpful information

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Paddy fields on Yen Minh Pass

  • Quan Ba Heaven Gate

Charge: Free

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The first destination is Quan Ba Heaven Gate

Just 40 kilomters from Ha Giang city without much effort of riding lead you to the first destination – Quan Ba Heaven Gate. To be honest, it’s just a small platform overviewing a Zig zag pass going deep down inside the town. The landscape stretches to moutains and a part of the town below. Its name is derived from the fact that it’s located on the top of a moderate pass but with high density of fog during a day, which created a “paradise” hindden in the clouds. They have a local owned coffee shop with a view if you are delightful to stop for a bit.

Tip: Stay alert for limited visibility due to the fog and clouds while moving around here.

  • Quan Ba Fairy Moutain

Charge: Free

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Just a few minutes after the first spot, you are rewarded with better view of Quan Ba town though much lower than the Heaven Gate as you have a widespread view with backgrounds of mountains and tiny local houses down at the valley. There are a couple of moutain that formed together as a double moutains, hence the name of this place

  • The Lonely Tree

Charge: Free

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The Lonely Tree is a spot that backpackers love to check in recently

Grown specifically on the edge of the pass opposite National Highway 4C, the great tree offer a marvelous view with a combination of moutains, deep down rivers and a small town. The rock next to it gives you a perfect shot but may be risky to climb. Sitting and enjoy the calming vibe for a bit to absorb nature’s energy!

Tips: Since it’s a rather steep slope, please park your motorbike at your own risk and pay attention to those trucks and travellers behind.

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One of many dangerous turns on this slope

  • Tham Ma Slope

Charge: Free

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Have you ever seen such an attractive slope before?

This is the milestone that mark your half way on the first day (yes it applies to myself) since it’s about 80 kilometers from your starting point. What’s special about this is that the elevation keep going higher at the beginning of the slope with some interesting turns at the end. There is a small platform that you may pass through without aware of such point. It’s where you have a magnificent view of what you have been through as below picture

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At the beginning of Tham Ma Slope

Recommendation: Please help the ethnic minority children that dress in beautiful traditional custome. They sell flowers to tourists who need accessories for a good photo shot. You are welcomed to tip or offer them even only some candies as I did so and they appeared to be super excited.

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Ethnic children selling flowers for visitors

  • Story of Pao – Film Background Set

Charge: Free

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Inside Story of Pao – Film Background Set, which is a local house now

As the background set for the plot of The story of Pao movie. The house itself owns a reputation of the famous movie that win a number of records and awards. Its traditional house structure made with pure wood may attract tourist who haven’t got any idea about Miao or H’mong minorty but not myself. However, if you are fancy for a try, do stop for a while. It’s not that large to tour around, just a few minute is enough

Tips: Before the house, there are some vendors of the locals selling traditional spices, herbs, walnuts, handmade sweetness and ethnic jeweries. You may need to bargain with them to have a good offer. Some tastes good but some not worth the price.

3 kilometers away from the film set, head toward Pho Bang direction, you may see the only bucket wheat field which’s avaible for sightseeing without any cost during off-season

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The bucket wheat field, which offer you a panorama landscape of Pho Cao

  • Wang’s Mansion

Charge: 20k VND (0.8$)

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Mainsion of The richest in Indochina at that time

Rumours claim that the mansion (a wooden attached house with lots of chambers) is owned by the most famous leader of Hmong ethnic minority – Vuong Chi Duc – the richest in this region as well. The mansion costed 1500 thousand Indochina nickles (Indochina currency) to be constructed, which is equal to more than 150 billion VN dongs nowadays. His fruitful business of drugs result in such an admirable construction.

These days, this structure attracts almost all who visit Ha Giang. They even set up some souvernir shops nearby to serve those who fond of.

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A corner of the mansion. 

I was shocked by how many chambers the house are built up. Provided you are in hurry to finish every rooms, it may take around 30 minutes to just have a glance of every room including the gardens. For those who lived in those years, the owner shall be considered crazily rich!

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Tips: sometimes it’s crowded with visitors everywhere, so moving in and out is a little bit difficult due to narrow space inside the mansion. The best shot, perhaps from upstair looking down the roof.

Herbs, spices and sweetness are also available here for purchase if you miss those at Pao’s one with greater variety of goods

  • Lung Cu Flag Point

Charge: 20k (0.8$)

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You will reach the flag point after a hundred steps from the base

Pack up and head to one of the most likely to be checked in spot – The Lung Cu Flag Point.

It takes you around one and a half hour From Wang’s mansion to Lung Cu Flag point. Believe me or not, this route is suprisingly attractive by stretching lines of moutains, especially when the sun is about to set. But it’s still far behind the most beautiful one I have ever experience, which I will show you later in the next part.

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You will pass these sites all the way to Lung Cu flag point

The flag point is definitely not the extreme northen tip of Vietnam but still has a special meaning in terms of nation pride.

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Vietnamese always hope to touch the flag even at once in their lives

As of my childhood, it’s always a dream for every single Vietnamese to set their step on the Flag Point just for once. So you can’t imagine how much I would like to stand there on my own effort 😀

These days, with helps of technologies and well constructed roads, conquering it is not that hard but still need some struggles to step all the stairs toward where the Flag waves.

After more than 100 staircases, you reach the platform where lied a statue showing you all facts about Lung Cu with specific detailed location. Breathtaking landscape of paddy fields, traditional houses and mountains is really worth the climb.

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Such awesome landscope can be viewed from the top

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Lung Cu pagoda is still being constructed to serve as a religious site

Another 100 spiral staircases more and there you are!, at the the top of the flag point. If you are lucky enough with mild win, touching the flag is totally possible.

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Tips: Along your very first steps to the platform, there is a bug oceanic fossil that prove such a high hill used to be under deep down the ocean for million years ago! Don’t forget to have a look at it.

Park your bike right at the ticket office without charge and worry of being stolen

Like other spots in this post, souvernirs that are decorated with the flag symbol is waiting for you right at the entrance. For me, the price is much higher than those at other scenery spots but there maybe something that is really unique

Sugar cane, grilled sausage and eggs are sold for tourist as snacks with not really reasonable price

  • Vietnam’s Northernmost Point

Charge: Free

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Have you ever seen such magnificent scenery before?

I can’t describe how eager It is to express about this site. That lonesome route leads to The Extreme Tip has been my most favourite part within the journey. You will be undoubtedly amazed at such a gorgeous and incredible landscape surrounded with just pure natures.

It’s unavailable to search for the way on Google Map. Instead, you can locate it by looking for direction to check point 422. Before going straight ahead toward 422 landmark, you will find yourself at a mini T junction (please notice the yellow wall of a government owned establishment as an indicator), turn right there. Now keep riding and enjoy what you have discovered until you reach the final destination.

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The red line is the route to ride when you first reach 422 check point

Lied on the left, Nho Que river. The very first branch that is completely different from Ma Pi Leng pass’s which acts as the natural border line between China’s and Vietnam’s land territory. Just one step to the river deep down below the “devil” valley, you are on China mainland. I recommend you stop for a while to enjoy the music of mother nature which was enhanced by winds, bugs and just the movement of plants.

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The slope in front of me is China’s territory

During my visit, it’s deadly quiet without existance of human being, except some local commuters sitting there to enjoy the experience. In other words, none but you who ride along the 4 kilometer tourtous slope. Perhaps it’s almost dusk that people are afraid of being stranded on such a route with lack of natural light. Whatever you may think, the best time to catch all this magical moment is the dusk or dawn. Be prepared to reach here at least one hour prior to the night fall down or you will regret entering the road.

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Dusk at the observator – the last point to mark territory of Vietnam

The observator with a welcoming board as “Lung Cu – Diem Dau Cuc Bac” at the end of the road offers you panorama view overlooking China mainland. Honestly, the border lines on Nho Que river, thus the border point 428. However, due to Covid 19 Pandemic with fears and ban of foreign entry from outsider as well as risky rock falling down to the river, trekking to border check 428 is not recommended right now. Once everything resumes as normal, feel free to visit unless you have a local guide and of course, both mental and physical strength over a 4-5 hour non-stop trekking.

Tips: Prepare to refill full tank within your vehicle since there is none petrol station nearby!

  • Dong Van Old Quarters

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Dong Van old quarter in the morning

Not really worth it, as my opinion told me when I first saw the town, except for a night stay. The old quarters, turn old to be just a short street built with some hostels, bars or eateries decorated in traditional ethnic styles. Meanwhile, surrounding square is nothing rather than an outside food hawker which creates a fake feeling of a tourist trap. If you solely request for a rest after a tired day, it does serve you well, not for a lively colorful night with dancing, music or delightful experiences

Tips: foods and drinks can be found within the area without much strolling with reasonable price and services. Souvernir and some regional goods are available at the square as well.

  • The Hope Rock

Charge: Free

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The Hope Rock – a challenge for the brave!

It’s good to begin your next day with a coffee and light breakfast in Dong Van before heading to the Hope Rock.

This place is, by default, not a usual spot on travellers’ plan as a reverse directions to Ma Pi Leng Pas though not really far in distance. In fact, riding on The Wind Pass (as other Vietnamese named if after having dangerous experience with strong blows and high elevation) means you are moving on top of Ma Pi Leng Pass with a looking down on it.

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Yes! you are riding on the Wind Pass, much more dangerous than Ma Pi Leng

Recently famous as a must-to-check-in for risky challenge, the Hope Rock turns out to be a part of a rocky young moutain on top of the Wind Pass. Heading toward Ma Pi Leng Pass until you see a monument built to honor those who help to form the pass. There is a sign crafted as “Ma Pi Leng” next to a coffee shop named A Pao. That’s where you should start, NOT the left road that lead you to Ma Pi Leng.

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Locals walking on the pass

Ride for a while until you see the path is narrowed by a young mountain. Park the bike then and climb on the outside to reach the rock. Be extra careful and don’t dare to challegne yourself if having heart related symtoms.

A bird eyed view at the whole moutainous region from above the skyline is waiting to trigger your andrenaline at all its senses.

Tips: As of rainy season, clouds and fog appear regularly in this area which limit your observation. Ride at your own risk with slow speed or park the bike and walk for 20 minutes to reach the Rock.

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The whole Wind Pass as looked from the Hope Rock

Some ethnic children may await you to give them some money (a bad downside of Ha Giang). My tip is to ignore them and continue on your trip or give them some candies as offer if you are kind enough.

The rock is not really hard to climb but slippery some days. Hang on those large rocks or ask your mate to give a helping hand. I strongly recommend someone to assist you in this challenge.

  • Ma Pi Leng Pass

Charge: Free

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A part of Ma Pi Leng Pass

Here come the one you always hear in poem, songs and stories from Vietnamese who have conquered it – The most dangerous Mountain Pass in Vietnam, as of the time I am writing this content. For me, it’s not that tremendously challenging to ride on the pass, or I may be too familiar with such slopes to comment (perhaps, media exaggeration as well). It does give you a feeling of some achievements as you reach one of the highest point that vehicles is able to move plus with those strings of lushy green moutains moving continously once you ride.

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Lanscape of Lushy Green moutains that Ma Pi Leng offers you

Some turns lack convex mirror to prevent accidents, so always horn tight till you are sure that there is no one ahead. Up and down roads require you to have a strong enginged motorbike to make it smooth passing through.

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People always dream of Ma Pi Leng one of the four top Passes in Vietnam

The Horse Rock is located in midway of the pass. Yes, it’s fenced up to avoid unpredictable crashes and coincedence of those who dare to climb out on the rock. However, it’s not restricted or stricly enforced. As long as you are aware of what you are doing and climb at your own risk.

There is a leak (probaly creates by those who tried it out) at the fence with space enough for a person to climb out accordingly。During your ride, the only area to be fenced up is this rock, so it’s not possible to be missed.

It’s not a tough task to follow the path between rocks and sit on the top. My personal experience tell me that people are overating the rock? But then, in conclusion, you still have to be flexible in whether to climb this or not (much relaxing in comparision to The Hope Rock, count on me!)

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The Horse rock is not a tough task rather than the Hope rock

The longer you sit, the better you feel in terms of landscape and fresh air. Without a restriction of time, you totally can sit there to watch the scences for hours but have a cap in advance since it’s barley under the strong sun shines without shades. From the rock, you are able to observe tiny boats that move along Nho Que River. I bet they can’t see you up there looking at all theirs movements.

You may also want to stop for a bit at Panorama Coffee to enjoy a cool drink while let your soul blows with the wind and clouds

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A cup of coffee at Panorama shop is totally worth it

  • Tu San Alley

Charge: 100k/ pax (4,5$)

And finally, it’s time to explore the green river that always follow Ma Pi Leng.

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Boats taking visitors to enjoy the landscape of Ma Pi Leng pass

2 options await you regarding the direction. The first one is to take “outstanding” pass (as dangerous as the Wind Pass above) after riding 3 or 4 kilometers from Dong Van Town, while the second route requires a 30 minutes walking down from Ma Pi Leng Panorama. Location tracker is as below:

I need to confirm in advince that if you dare and are confident enought to take the pass, you may conquer any mountain pass in Vietnam easily. Uncountable zigzag turns from high above soiled narrowed path, breathtaking views just with a glance of your eyes or steepness slopes greater than 45 degrees are all that combines into the pass. As a Southerner, there is definitely no road in my region looks like such. It’s really terrifying by a half an hour of duration to pass those risky turns with a high chance of incidents.

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If you dare to conquer the pass, others are just easy as piece of cake

If you are afraid to make it, have a motorbiker take you down and leave your vehicle on the road without worries.

Fellow posts indicated that you need to book in advance, but in fact, just come there and randomly choose a boat operator. They are standing there, waving at those who pass by.

Once you reach the river. There are some boats ported to welcome guests. The trip take 30-45 minutes in length depending on weather condition. Without rain on the previous days, water is crystal clear with green emerald reflected color. Meanwhile, there is a high possibility to experience brown shade as the liquid is infused with solid soils after nonstop rainy days. But still, if sunny period exists throughout the day, water becomes much better and greener.

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Boats ported to wait for guests on Nho Que River

Be careful when you step on the boat deck to observe the landscape. Such worthy moment to enjoy all the waterfalls, alley created by mountains and breathtaking tops covered by clouds. Everything is just with a meal for two!

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The boat driver will turn back after they reach the second wharf. That’s another starting point for the boat trip if you wish to start from the second option – a small pass right behind Ma Pi Leng Panorama.

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Tu San Alley on the excursion

Tips: you can ask the boat driver to stop for a while if you want to enjoy any landcape along the way.

There is a cool waterfall as you op for the first choice, not far from where the boat waits for you.

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The waterfall that I mentioned

  • Meo Vac town and M Pass

Charge: Free

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M Pass is the only interesting stop that you can find all the way long from Meo Vac back to Yen Minh

Congratulation on completing the pass and you are at Meo Vac Town, not really essential for a stop unless you wish to visit the Khau Vai Love Market, which was held annualy once in March. It’s your stay to recharge energy if you opt for travel intinerary 1 or 3 as my advise above.

To reach M Pass, you have to travel roughly 15 kilometers from the town, as it’s also the only route for Mau Due/Du Gia village later.

The pass is by far, not really outstanding but still worth a shot.

Tips: Road conditions on this route is unbelievably bad with so many holes, trucks and narrow turns. Please ride with attention to those above.

Accomodation

Nowadays, looking for a property to rest at night is definitely possible with help of room reservation platform and Ha Giang is not an excetion. However, those in Ha Giang, according to what I have experienced myself, are not well listed in terms of prices and varieties. You may find it hard to seek for a resort or luxurious hotel with excellent services there due to the fact that most visitors are backpackers and solo travelers. Guest houses or hostels is another story which are well built to be found even in rural towns namely Meo Vac or Du Gia. Ha Giang is on its way to develope in both insfracstructure and hospitality service to welcome more and more tourists in the future, but, at least not now as the pandemic is still unpredictable. So, let’s hope for that later on.

Some advices on accomodation can be found here:

  • Ha Giang City

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Most guest houses or dormitory styled hostel are located nearby bus terminal or 26-3 Square, since coaches and limousine oftern drop their guests around this area. Price is unbelievably cheap, especially in off tourist season from July to October, and of course now as well (Covid 19 Pandemic). Will you be able to find a bed for just 2 dollars with free English Breakfast (that I’m really sick of them but better having than nothing)?

Other properties offer a higher price on single room for 7$ or a double room at 10$, still cheap, right?

Those aboved, to be emphasized again, offer basic bed (not a dream-like room please) but may surprise you by how good the service is. They allow guests to leave luggages during their trip, free showers after coming back or even a temporary stay if the bus reaches there early morning without additional cost!

Motorbike is available for rent at different cost. The morderner, the higher to be paid. Most bikes ranges from 6$ to 9$ a day (150-200k VND). Police check is not well enforced but always bring your riding license and other documents just in case.

  • Dong Van

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Nightlife in Dong Van is nothing lively as I used to imagine

The second most likely stop that everyone opt for a night stay in Ha Giang – Dong Van. Well, it’s not that beautiful or interesting to attract tourist but good connection with nearby spots. Among other options, the best is always between Lung Cu or Dong Van before you are stuck in dark in nowhere. While Homestay/hostels in Lung Cu may look quiet and simple vibes, Dong Van’s, in another way, convenient and various.

It’s undoubted that almost all hostels in Dong Van gather around the old quarter, which turns out to be so disappointed by the way it is operated, nothing more than a tourist trap.

Eateries, Coffee Shop, Gues Houses, all in one spot! I regret not visiting Ha Giang earlier, the old quarters might be in better shape that reflect its true value instead of A Hoi An copy now.

As in the pandemic, life is harsh for hospitality, hence the boring square without much to do.

Researched on Booking.com, I came accross Ethnic House Lounge Bar and Hostel and make up my mind to give it a try. The decision turns out to be wise and beneficial in the end. This property is new, right in the old quarter. Everything from bed to bathroom are pefectly enjoyable. Not to mention that we own a whole dormitory since there are not any guest during our stay. Bed space is doubled larger than most with a mini wardrobe. Towels, shampoo, combs, razers, toilet papper, all are served for free. Air conditing is automatic. Nice view at the balcony. And the price is …. 5$! Do you imagine how crazy it is with such low cost? Take a look of proofs below

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View from the balcony

Homestay with locals seem to be only possible with tourism agency. Not a single time do I notice any advertisement or banner indicating those services that relate to cultural and traditional tourism. Please seek for help from other sources if you desire for such.

Food and drink is luckily not overpriced, just as cheap as those along the loop. However, as night fall, it’s hard to look for western food but common dishes like Pho, rice or rolling cake are always available.

  • Meo Vac

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Some local styled homestay that I spoted in Meo Vac

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Scenery in Meo Vac town

I didn’t stay at Meo Vac but I believe it’s not much better than Dong Van. Perhaps they have a night market with limited operation.

Cuisine

A trip without local culinary wouldn’t be fully completed by itself. Cuisine is an element to reflect both culture and life of locals. Ha Giang is not an exception with the idea of using Hmong traditional herbs and spices in their cooking style. Some dishes may seem exactly the same as those in Ha Noi or other nothern regions but the unique secret is how ingredienrs and additives are selected to fully enhance the taste. I’m about to introduce all the essence of Ha Giang’s representative food. Satisfied or not, it all depends on your liking and willing to experience the new

  • Thang Den

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A full bowl of tiny chewy doughs cookied in hot ginger sweet sauce with some granulated peanuts on top is absolutely perfect for such cold nights on the highland. Ha Noi does have some varies of this sweetness but not so influencing regarding the taste and experience. Thang Den is not readily served unless you order for one, which makes it still hot and interesting. Ginger is a perfect element to treat common cold. So, the dish is sutiable for both healthy and sick pesons. Unlike in my hometown, where sugar is over used, people here balance the sauce to make it not too sweet to try.

You can find Thang Den easily on the pavements opposite Dong Van old quarter with just 1$ for a delightful treat.

  • Rolling Rice Cake and Five Colored Sticky Rice

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Another must-try during your visit to Ha Giang is rolling rice cake. Is it different from Ha Noi’s version? Yes, somehow

While Ha Noi’s rolling rice cake consists of cake folded with minced meat, shreded cat’s ears, shallot and a small bolw of fish sauce, It’s a another story here to opt for a bowl of soup stew with pork cake instead of fish sauce!

The taste is less saltier compared to usual regional feature of northern food. Dip down the cake (including egg version if you order) into the soup with some chilis and awesome. Have the dish hot in the morning when it’s still freaking cold outside is the best joy that you will never forget.

Five Colored Sticky Rice is made of five seperate ingredients that create the color of final products, which are all fruits and herb found in Ha Giang to blow the blank taste of sticky rice into a new world. Topped with some pork floss, mince, greenbean paste and shallot, such simple dish give you well balanced taste of both sweetness, saltiness and fragrant scent. The dish rank among my most favourite in Ha Giang that totally fine for any time of the day.

Price for a portion of rolling rice cake and sticky rice is 1.5$ and 1$ respectively. Find them at Banh Cuon Ba Ha, just some steps in the old quarter. In fact, the eatery is surrounded by a lot of tourists every morning, not a harsh task at all.

  • Pho Trang Kim

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The winner of this whole post is Pho Trang Kim. I’ve never seen such a large bowl of chicken Pho for just 1.5$!!!!!! Yes you are not wrong. Trang Kim, for a long time ago, is broadcasted on national channels from a short documentary for its praises of unique Pho. Pho is made fresh daily and cut only when guest orders, so the freshness is guaranteed. A huge bowl is composed of just Pho and raised chicken but provide a unique taste that can’t be found anywhere else.

It’s a local owned eatery, so hygiene is not really good but still acceptable.

Keyword for the dish is Pho Trang Kim, or else ride slowly after you pass Quan Ba town. The restaurant’s name is Quang Huy with blue sign as indicator.

Ha Giang’s cuisine can not be summarized in just these 4 dishes but still varies from areas to areas. Thang Co (a hot pot made of cattle’s innard), Bamboo sticky rice and grilled meat are those you may want to give a try though they are available wisespread in North West regions.

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Come and have a taste of Ha Giang, Vietnam, to grab all essence of nature and ethnic beauty as they all charm you in a perfect way!

Should there be any inquiry, don’t hesistate to leave a comment 😀

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