Ha Giang province in northern Vietnam is an untouched paradise, beckoning adventurous travelers with its raw and unspoiled landscapes, vibrant ethnic cultures, and exhilarating adventures. With stunning karst mountains, steep mountain passes, winding roads, and foggy villages, Ha Giang offers a unique and authentic experience.
The province is home to diverse local ethnic minorities who preserve their traditional culture and lifestyle. Nature takes center stage here, providing a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, photographers, and culture seekers. Jump in a car or on a motorbike, embark on an extraordinary journey through Ha Giang’s captivating landscapes, and discover the rich traditions of its ethnic communities.
Ha Giang promises an unforgettable adventure that combines breathtaking beauty, cultural diversity, and thrilling experiences.
5 reasons to visit Ha Giang
- Majestic Landscapes: Ha Giang is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes, featuring towering limestone karsts, sweeping rice terraces, and deep valleys. Explore the Dong Van Karst Plateau, a UNESCO Global Geopark, which showcases nature’s magnificence at its best.
- Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures of Ha Giang’s ethnic minority communities, including the Hmong, Tay, and Dao people. Visit their villages, witness traditional practices, and participate in local festivals and markets for an authentic experience.
- Thrilling Adventures: Ha Giang offers exhilarating activities for adventure enthusiasts. Embark on a thrilling motorbike loop, which takes you through winding mountain roads and offers stunning vistas. Conquer challenging treks, camp under a starry sky, and discover hidden waterfalls and caves that will leave you in awe.
- Serene and Tranquil Atmosphere: Escape the bustling city life and embrace the tranquility of Ha Giang. This off-the-beaten-path destination allows you to connect with nature, experience peace, and rejuvenate your soul amidst serene surroundings.
- Photography Paradise: Ha Giang is a haven for photographers and nature lovers. Every corner of this province presents an opportunity for capturing stunning shots, from the vibrant fields of buckwheat flowers in autumn to the dramatic mountain passes shrouded in mist.
What is in this Ha Giang travel guide?
1. Practical information
Recommended days to stay: If you want to do the Ha Giang loop, you need at least 3 days and 2 nights. However, we recommend 4 or 5 days.
ATMs & money exchange: In Ha Giang City, Dong Van, and Meo Vac, you will find ATMs. Small villages don’t have it and do not accept credit cards.
2. Best time to visit
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Ha Giang yet, you can plan your trip based on the time you have available, as Ha Giang is a destination that is renowned for its beauty throughout the year.
- One of the most stunning seasons in Ha Giang is the Triangular Circuit flower season, which takes place from October to November. To experience the full bloom, visiting during the third week of October until early November is recommended.
- From December to the Lunar New Year, you can witness the enchanting sight of yellow mustard flowers scattered in various locations such as Quyet Tien, Pho Fox, and Sung La.
- Before the Lunar New Year, the landscape adorns itself with beautiful plum blossoms, while cherry blossoms dominate the scenery after the Lunar New Year.
- If you prefer summer vibes, June to August is the perfect time to visit Ha Giang. The region is typically sunny during these months, providing excellent opportunities to capture the picturesque rocky plateaus. However, remember that summer in Ha Giang is prone to rainfall.
- For those visiting in September, you’ll have the chance to witness the highlands adorned with ripe rice fields. This is an ideal time to explore Hoang Su Phi and immerse yourself in the beauty of the harvest season.
In conclusion, Ha Giang beckons with its gentle, ethereal beauty that evolves gracefully throughout the seasons. With a delicate touch and a tender spirit, this captivating destination invites travelers to immerse themselves in its ever-changing wonders, where time seems to stand still amidst the breathtaking landscapes.
3. How get to Ha Giang Vietnam?
The distance between Hanoi and Ha Giang is around 300 km, and the closest airport from Ha Giang is Noi Bai – Ha Noi Airport. So the only way to get there is by bus or motorbike.
- From Hanoi to Ha Giang by sleeper bus:
From Hanoi to Ha Giang, it takes around 9 hours to go by bus. The bus go to Ha Giang will depart from My Dinh bus station. The best bus brand is named Hai Van.
If the bus is gone, you can take the other one named Bang Phan, Cau Me, Hung Thanh, and Ngoc Son. There is one trip in every 30 minutes, and the latest one is from 21h30 at My Dinh bus station.
Ticket price ~ 150k – 350k /person
Particularly, Hai Van has two lines: the bed is usually 200k/ person, and the cabin line (is 350k/ person – one cabin per person).
Tips: There are two ways to book a from Hanoi to Ha Giang, Vietnam: – Book the ticket via your accommodation in Hanoi, and they will organize for you to be picked up at the front door by the bus company. Remember to pay the ticket only at the ticket counter at the bus station or pay the bus conductor when the bus has already moved. Don’t pay them before departure. – Book online ticket via Viet Nam Daily Tourist.×Dismiss this alert.
- From Hanoi to Ha Giang by motorbike:
Those who like to explore and experience can choose to go by motorbike. With a distance of nearly 300km, traveling by motorbike to Ha Giang can take 8-10 hours. You can select one of the two routers as follows:
Road 1: From Hanoi to Trung Ha bridge via Son Tay direction, follow Thao River to Phu Tho and then go to Tuyen Quang via Highway 2 to Ha Giang
Road 2: From Hanoi, follow the direction of Thang Long Bridge, turn to Vinh Phuc, go towards Viet Tri, Phu Tho, and Tuyen Quang, and follow along Highway 2 to Ha Giang.
Tips: For those who do not have experience on the road by motorbike, carefully prepare the map, phone, personal papers,…. to get the best trip×Dismiss this alert.
4. What to prepare?
Ha Giang is climatic region with more diferences than other regions, especially in the highlands. When you come to Ha Giang, you should pay attention to some of the following Ha Giang travel guide:
- You should bring warm clothes when going up to the highland area because the climate changes suddenly and the weather is getting colder at night.
- Prepare some medicines to treat common diseases like flu, headache because you can get it when you do not adapt to high temperature and cold climate.
- If you come to Ha Giang Vietnam between July and August, it is recommended to bring rain gear or umbrellas. It is the best time of the rainy season; you may encounter continuous rainy days or rain showers suddenly.
- If you participate in the type of sports tourism in Ha Giang, it is recommended to carefully prepare the protective equipment and medicines, first aid precautions.
5. What acctivities to do in Ha Giang?
Driving on Ma Pi Leng
Ma Pi Leng, one of the North’s four great mountain passes, is a must-visit destination for travel enthusiasts. Spanning approximately 20km, this pass offers breathtakingly majestic scenery that will leave you in awe. If you have the opportunity to drive, do not miss the chance to conquer this remarkable experience.
Boat ride on Nho Que River
The Nho Que River, originating in China, enters Vietnam through the northernmost region of Lung Cu. As it flows through the stunning landscape, the river passes through Tu San Gorge, runs alongside the famous Ma Pi Leng Pass, and reaches Meo Vac before separating and eventually joining the Gam River in Cao Bang province. In recent years, boat cruises on the Nho Que River have become popular among visitors who wish to experience the breathtaking scenery of the Tu San Alley beneath the river’s waters. Two options for embarking on a boat cruise are Ta Lang Wharf downstream or the boat station in the Xin Cai commune upstream area.
Trekking in Hoang Su Phi
Ha Giang’s Hoang Su Phi boasts impressive rice fields, often overlooked by tourists due to its off-the-beaten-path location. This hidden gem offers a unique and authentic experience, best explored through stunning village-to-village treks along superbly cultivated areas.
Trekking around Dong Van
Dong Van in Ha Giang is the ideal choice for trekking, offering stunning mountains, ethnic villages, and various trekking options. Highlights include the area between Dong Van and Lung Cu, Sung La valley, Sa Phin, Phin Tung, and the famous Ma Pi Leng Pass.
Trekking around Ha Giang City
Ha Giang City and its surrounding areas offer trekking opportunities through small minority villages like Thon Tha and Khuoi My. With beautiful rice fields, peaceful landscapes, and traditional stilt houses of the Tay people, these routes provide a less strenuous and authentic experience. Consider exploring streams and waterfalls along the way for a refreshing twist.
Ha Giang god cliff
Location: in the two communes of Pai Lung and Pa Vi, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province, Vietnam.
Ha Giang’s camping trend has captivated adventurous travelers, particularly those who appreciate the blend of poetic and rugged landscapes. The cliff, located on the treacherous Ma Pi Leng pass, has become a popular camping site, offering stunning views of the Nho Que River and the panoramic beauty of the surrounding area. Visitors are enchanted by the opportunity to witness the breathtaking sunrise and sunset, making Ha Giang an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking unforgettable experiences.
Ban An Stream – Camping Trend of Ha Giang
Location: located in Ngoc Long commune, Yen Minh district, Ha Giang province, Vietnam.
Ban An Stream in Ha Giang is an alluring camping destination with pristine natural beauty, clear blue water, and a tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can immerse themselves in the peaceful surroundings, enjoy camping on the green grass, and even take refreshing dips in the stream.
Du Gia Stream
Location: in Yen Minh commune, Ha Giang province, Vietnam.
Suoi Du Gia in Ha Giang offers a hidden camping experience amidst majestic mountains and clear streams where you can catch fish and have a BBQ party.
Go to fair
The upland fair holds a significant cultural significance for the local people of Ha Giang. It serves as a gathering place for trading goods and exchanging stories and experiences. Despite the modernization of markets in Ha Giang, where a wide range of items, from agricultural products to electronic appliances, are available, the cultural essence remains intact. To truly immerse yourself in the local culture, I recommend purchasing a Mongolian scarf, adorning it on your head, and strolling around the bustling market. This simple act allows you to embrace the authenticity of the fair and create unforgettable memories.
Take photos of flowers
Peach Blossom & Plum Blossoms
In addition to its rocky plateau beauty, Ha Giang in Vietnam offers stunning flower displays that vary depending on the time of year. During late winter and early spring, the region is adorned with enchanting peach blossom and plum blossoms, attracting fewer tourists than the popular Triangle Circuit season. This makes it an ideal time to visit Ha Giang and enjoy the blossoming floral landscapes.
The triangular circuit in Ha Giang has become an iconic symbol of tourism. During October and November, visitors have the opportunity to capture beautiful photos with these flowers. Various locations in Ha Giang, including Thach Son Than (Quan Ba), Sung La and Lung Tao (Dong Van), and the Pa Vi field (Meo Vac), are recommended stops for picturesque views.
6. Top 5 destinations to visit Ha Giang
Ha Giang City: The Gateway to Adventure
Our journey begins in Ha Giang City, a vibrant hub where most visitors start their exploration. Make sure to visit the Milestone Km0, a significant landmark marking the start of the Hanh Phuc road, connecting Ha Giang City to the rocky plateau and four neighboring districts. It’s the perfect starting point for your adventure through Ha Giang.
Quan Ba: Unveiling Hidden Gems
Next, we venture to Quan Ba, a region brimming with hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
- Quyet Tien Market: Immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring Quyet Tien Market. Held every Saturday morning, this upland market offers a glimpse into the vibrant traditions and colorful attire of the local people.
- Quan Ba Heaven’s Gate: Ascend to Quan Ba Sky Gate, a majestic gateway to the Dong Van Plateau. This scenic spot at 1500m above sea level offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Ba Quan Twin Mountain: Marvel at the awe-inspiring Ba Quan Twin Mountains, which emerge mysteriously amidst rocky terrains and lush terraced fields. These natural wonders are steeped in the legend of Mount Co Tien.
- Lung Khuy Cave: Embark on a spiritual journey to Lung Khuy Cave, closely linked with the Mong ethnic people’s spiritual life. The cave’s beauty, combined with the neighboring Lung Khui village, creates a captivating experience
Yen Minh: Serenity and Natural Splendor
Our exploration continues to Yen Minh, where tranquility and natural splendor await.
- Yen Minh Pine Forest: Indulge in the dreamlike scenery of the Yen Minh Pine Forest, reminiscent of the captivating landscapes of Da Lat. The road from Na Khe commune to Yen Minh town is adorned with pine trees, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere.
- Bach Dich Market: Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Bach Dich Market, which takes place in a border commune. Explore the unique character of this area, with multiple markets held each month, including Moc Market 358, where locals trade goods with people from the other side of the border.
- Du Gia: Venture to Du Gia, a hidden gem that offers well-preserved primeval forests, terraced fields, and majestic rocky mountains. This destination showcases the unique geological formations and rich biodiversity of the Dong Van Rock Plateau.
Dong Van: A Tapestry of Culture and History
Dong Van beckons with its rich cultural tapestry and historical landmarks.
- Dong Van Plateau: Discover the UNESCO-listed Dong Van Plateau, a magnificent rocky landscape spanning four districts. Immerse yourself in the geological wonders and cultural heritage of this unique region.
- Doc Tham Ma: Conquer the legendary Doc Tham Ma Pass, named after the horses that carried goods up its steep slopes. This pass leads to Fox Street, a charming area within Dong Van.
- Pho Cao: Visit Pho Cao commune and witness the mesmerizing sight of cherry blossoms in bloom during spring. This natural spectacle paints a vibrant backdrop against the backdrop of the rocky plateau.
- Pho Bang: Step into the ancient town of Pho Bang, nestled amidst the rocky mountains. Admire the century-old houses, adorned with yin-yang roofs and moss-covered walls, where the simple daily life of the Mong and Chinese communities unfolds.
- Sung La: Marvel at the picturesque beauty of Sung La, an upland commune in Dong Van. From the vantage point of a beautiful pass, soak in the breathtaking view of this peaceful village, nestled among cat-ear rocky mountains.
- Pao’s House: Visit Pao’s House, the filming location of “The Story of Pao,” an adaptation of a literary work. This charming house belonging to the Mong people has become a popular tourist attraction.
- Lung Cu Flagpole: Ascend to the Lung Cu Flagpole, the northernmost point of Vietnam. From this lofty vantage point, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and the nearby triangular fields.
- Dinh Vuong: Explore the mansion of King Meo Vuong Chinh Duc, a prominent figure from the Mong community. This historic residence, located in Sa Phin, reflects the wealth and influence of the Vuong family during that era.
Meo Vac: Adventure and Cultural Experiences
Our journey culminates in Meo Vac, offering adventure and cultural immersion.
- Ma Pi Leng Pass: Brave the renowned Ma Pi Leng Pass, known for its stunning scenery and dramatic cliffs. As you traverse this awe-inspiring mountain pass, be prepared to witness the breathtaking beauty of the Nho Que River below.
- Vach Da Than: For those seeking a thrilling trekking experience, embark on the trail of Vach Da Than. This challenging path, located above Ma Pi Leng Pass, rewards adventurers with magnificent views (exercise caution as some sections are difficult).
- Tu San Alley: Delve into the depths of Tu San Canyon, the deepest gorge in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Take a motorbike journey or trek from Ta Lang village to marvel at the stunning natural beauty of this remarkable attraction.
- Ma Pi Leng Viewpoint: Capture the awe-inspiring beauty of Tu San Alley from above at the Ma Pi Leng Viewpoint. This spot provides a perfect vantage point for panoramic photographs of the majestic Nho Que River.
- Meo Vac Night Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Meo Vac Night Market, held in the district’s central market. Enjoy local cuisine, witness cultural performances, and explore the diverse array of products and souvenirs.
- Khau Vai Love Market: Experience the unique Khau Vai Love Market, a romantic gathering for couples who have lost their previous loves. This annual fair offers an opportunity for heartfelt reunions and sharing of emotions.
7. Best hotels & hostels
Regarding accommodation in Ha Giang, you’ll find various options to suit every budget and preference. Some top-rated hotels and hostels promise a comfortable stay and excellent hospitality.
Depending on your preferences and budget, there are two popular options: hostels or considering hotels from Viet Nam Daily Tourist.
- Hostels: If you want to save costs and meet fellow travelers, hostels are an excellent choice. They often offer more budget-friendly room rates than hotels, and you can share a room with other travelers, creating memorable experiences with newfound friends.
- Hotels from Viet Nam Daily Tourist: If you prefer a comfortable and worry-free stay with quality services, consider the hotels that Viet Nam Daily Tourist offers. They provide a diverse selection of quality hotels in Ha Giang at reasonable prices. This allows you to focus on exploring the beauty of Ha Giang without worrying about finding accommodation.
Whether you choose to stay at hostels or hotels, selecting the right lodging will ensure a memorable and worry-free trip. Prepare yourself to explore the majestic landscapes of Ha Giang and cherish every moment of your journey.
8. Food & Drinking
Ha Giang’s cuisine is a delightful fusion of ethnic flavors, with abundant fresh ingredients sourced from the region’s fertile land. Don’t miss these must-try dishes:
a) Thang Co Venture into the vibrant markets of Ha Giang to savor Thang Co, a traditional dish made from horse meat, viscera, and herbs. This hearty and savory delicacy is a favorite among the local communities.
b) Com Lam Com Lam is a type of sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes, giving it a distinct fragrance and taste. Enjoy it with grilled meat or egg for a satisfying meal on the go.
c) Five-Colored Sticky Rice A visually stunning dish, Five-Colored Sticky Rice features sticky rice dyed naturally with various leaves, each color representing a different flavor. It’s a must-try dish that showcases Ha Giang’s culinary creativity.
d) Corn Wine Complete your gastronomic adventure with a taste of corn wine, a traditional alcoholic beverage in the region. Locals often serve it as a gesture of hospitality during special occasions.
9. Ha Giang’s specialties bought as gifts
Ha Giang is renowned for its handicrafts and unique products that make excellent souvenirs or gifts for loved ones. Here are some recommendations:
a) Brocade Weaving Explore the local markets and villages to find exquisite handwoven brocade textiles created by the ethnic minority communities. These intricately designed fabrics create beautiful scarves, bags, or wall decorations.
b) Herbal Tea Ha Giang is blessed with abundant aromatic herbs to create traditional herbal teas. Purchase these teas as a thoughtful gift to share the region’s natural remedies and flavors with your friends and family.
c) Handmade Silver Jewelry Admire the craftsmanship of the hill tribe artisans as they create stunning silver jewelry with intricate designs. These unique pieces are a testament to the region’s rich cultural heritage.
Budgetting for Ha Giang trip
Ha Giang is a budget-friendly destination, but planning your expenses is essential to make the most of your trip. Here’s a rough estimate of your budget for a 4-day Ha Giang adventure:
- Accommodation (3 nights): $50 – $120
- Food and drinks: $30 – $50
- Transportation (roundtrip from Hanoi): $50 – $100
- Entrance fees and activities: $20 – $40
- Souvenirs and gifts: $20 – $50
Total estimated budget: $170 – $360
Remember that prices can vary, so it’s always wise to have a bit of extra cash on hand for unexpected expenses.
More tips when travelling to Ha Giang
a) Packing Essentials
Ha Giang’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack accordingly. Bring layers to adapt to temperature changes, sturdy footwear for trekking, and don’t forget insect repellent and sunscreen.
b) Flexible Itinerary
Ha Giang is all about embracing the journey rather than adhering to a strict itinerary. Allow yourself the flexibility to explore hidden gems and interact with the locals for an enriching experience.
c) Responsible Travel
Respect the local customs and traditions, and support the communities by purchasing directly from local artisans. Opt for eco-friendly and responsible tour operators to minimize your environmental impact.
d) Scenic Routes
Ha Giang is famous for its scenic drives, so if you’re comfortable riding a motorbike, consider renting one for a memorable road trip. Alternatively, you can hire a local guide to visit the best viewpoints and lesser-known spots.
In conclusion, Ha Giang promises an unforgettable adventure for travelers seeking a unique and authentic experience in Vietnam. From its stunning landscapes and diverse cultures to its delectable cuisine and charming handicrafts, Ha Giang will leave you spellbound. So, pack your bags, open your heart to new experiences, and let the wonders of Ha Giang unfold before you!