Ha Giang – the hidden gem still untouched by mass tourism.
Still in untouched condition to many Vietnamese travelers and foreign tourist, Ha Giang province located in the far north of the country, and contains Vietnam’s northernmost point. This area is still untouched to many Vietnamese travelers and foreign tourist, remains its own ethnic minorities cultures and lifestyle.
It’s true that you can visit Ha Giang at any time of the year because it is beautiful in all 4 seasons. In each season, Ha Giang impresses travelers with a particular beauty. Because this land is beautiful throughout the year, depending on the preference and the purpose of your trip, you can choose the right time to travel there:
Ha Giang is one of the most gorgeous yet least-visited destinations in Vietnam with stunning terraced rice fields, and the crowning title as the northernmost location in the country. Here lie the most beautiful terraced rice fields, opening up as you traverse the mountainous roads. On the way to exploring Ha Giang you will also be stopping by many ethnic villages with unique cultures and lifestyles.
Dong Van karst plateau was recognized as the first geological park of Vietnam and of the world. It is one of the special limestone mountain, which includes the marks of the earth’s crust process history and tradition of indigenous communities. Dong Van karst plateau has all elements convergence to become global Geoparks. Rocky plateau also has national relic such as: mansion of Vuong family, Lung Cu flag pole, Dong Van ancient, Ma Li Peng pass, Quan Ba Twin Mountain…
Located on a road connecting the towns of Dong Van and Meo Vac, Ma Pi Leng is the name of the most treacherous mountain pass in Vietnam with a length of 20 km. With rugged terrain and spectacular unspoiled scenery, Ma Pi Leng Pass is one of the “top four passes” of northern Vietnam. Conquering the legendary Ma Li Peng Pass is one of the most unmissable activities when in Ha Giang.
Hoang Su Phi’s terraced rice fields raised by the silt from the Chay River, are regarded as the most beautiful place in the area thanks to the special terrain and fertile soil. Ha Giang’s stunning terraced rice fields are breathtaking and unforgettable for travelers to pay a visit.
The Buckwheat Flower Festival takes place every autumn in Vietnam’s northern province of Ha Giang. Acres of green fields blossom simultaneously with purple and white petals, creating a dreamy effect in this incredible landscape. Besides buckwheat flower, kale flower gardens are considered to be stunning and worth paying a visit when in Ha Giang.
On your way going to Ha Giang, do not forget visiting Nordic Cu, the northernmost point of Vietnam. It is said that the first flagpole has existed here for almost a thousand years, since national hero Ly Thuong Kiet first made one out of conifer wood. Generation upon generation of Vietnamese have taken care of the flagpole and built it to the size it is now. Reputation on Cu Flagpole, you’ll see the flag that flutters in the breeze.
This region is home to 17 different ethnic minorities, including Tay, Dao (Yao), White Hmong, and Black Lolo. These groups intermingle weekly at regional markets, resulting in a colorful display of traditional ethnic dress and commerce. When in Ha Giang, don’t miss to experience the local lifestyle of ethnic minorities group there.
The corn wine in Ha Giang is rather heavy but quite fragrant. With respect to specialty of Ha Giang, you could enjoy a bowl of porridge of “thang co” or “au tau” and after that drinking hot corn wine, particularly in a day in late fall, right in the rocky plateau.
Since Ha Giang is well known for the rocky slopes and passes, conquering slopes and passes here’s one of the Ha Giang journey that tourists shouldn’t miss. Cong Troi, Bac Sum, Chin Khoanh, Tham Ma, Ma Pi Leng are famous destinations which those backpackers couldn’t miss a visit during their trip. Even though challenging the riders, but in return, you will be rewarded by the stunning perspectives when viewing those passes.
The provincial capital, also called Hà Giang, is connected by Highway 2 and is 320 km away from Hanoi. It is one of the poorest provinces of Vietnam as it has mountainous topography with the least potential for agricultural development, but recently has much more developed thanks to the advance of transportation and tourism. To get to Ha Giang from Hanoi, there are various way for travelers and sleeper buses seem to be the most convenient. It is pretty easy to book these buses, you can choose to ask your accommodation host to help or book the ticket yourself online via vexere.com, which lists all the vehicle options, time depart and destinations. To not being cheated, you should only book in advance and then pay directly for the buses hoster upon collecting the ticket. The price may range from VND 180 000 – 300 000, depending to the qualities of buses.
If you are a backpacker keen on adventure, driving a motorbike straight to Ha Giang may seem to be a better idea than completely sleeping on the bus. This is considered the most rewarding way to get to Ha Giang and actually experience the legendary motorbike loop circling the mountains and rice paddy fields.
For getting a bike, you could join our community of backpackers Backpackers VietNam Buy & Sell to find yourself one. Make sure your motorbike still in good condition and full of energy for a long distance trip. Bring an extra empty bottle to fill up with petro in case of long distance traveling between destinations, and you should only buy petrol from official stations rather than local vendors. Keep reminding yourself to check your map or internet connection on electric map for a right path to Ha Giang.