Ha Giang is a favorite destination for those who are passionate about adventurous travel and exploration. There are many things that make Ha Giang appealing, from its majestic mountains and forests, winding roads on mountain passes, and beautiful terraced rice fields to the unique way of life of the minority ethnic groups living here. In this article, let’s explore Ha Giang tourism and the must-visit places when you come here together with SVietnam.
Overview of Ha Giang
Ha Giang is a mountainous province in Northern Vietnam, bordering China. With an area of about 8,000 km2 and located 300 km from Hanoi capital, it is a place that preserves long-standing historical relics as well as the distinctive cultural features of 22 ethnic minority groups in the northern highlands. The allure of tourism in Ha Giang comes from its magnificent natural landscapes and the cultures of the various ethnic minorities living here. Many attractions such as Ma Pi Leng Pass, Tu San Gorge, Quan Ba Twin Mountains, and Dong Van Karst Plateau are destinations that many travelers wish to visit. Despite its challenging and remote terrain, Ha Giang remains a highly attractive destination that draws numerous visitors each year.
Best Time to Visit Ha Giang
The best time to visit Ha Giang is from September to around March the following year because this is when the rice fields start to turn a beautiful golden color, with the Hoang Su Phi region being the most prominent. During this time, various flowers are in full bloom, and it’s also the season for Spring festivals celebrated by the local people.
Summer in Ha Giang, from May to August, may bring sudden rain showers, but the weather remains relatively cool, with temperatures staying below 30 degrees Celsius.
Learn more: Best Time To Visit Vietnam
Transportation to Ha Giang
Typically, tourists travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang, covering a distance of 300 km. Ha Giang doesn’t have an airport or a train station, so the most common modes of transportation chosen by travelers are by car or motorcycle.
If you choose to go by car, driving your own vehicle can be a great option, but you should select an experienced driver for mountainous roads; otherwise, it can be quite dangerous. If you don’t have your own car, you can take a bus from bus terminals in Hanoi, such as My Dinh Bus Terminal or Yen Nghia Bus Terminal.
Motorcycles are the preferred mode of transportation for young adventure enthusiasts. They often rent larger-displacement motorcycles suitable for mountainous routes to travel to Ha Giang. This is the most exciting but also risky option, requiring the rider to have excellent skills to handle various situations.
Best Places to Visit in Ha Giang
Places to visit in Quan Ba District
Quan Ba Heaven Gate
Quan Ba Heaven Gate is located 43km from the center of Ha Giang city, at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level. It is situated between two mountain peaks and is considered the gateway to the journey to explore the Dong Van Karst Plateau.
Quan Ba Twin Mountains
Quan Ba Twin Mountains, also known as Fairy Mountains, are two adjacent peaks with similar shapes and sizes. If you use your imagination, you might see them as resembling a woman’s breasts, which is why the locals refer to them as Twin Mountains.
Places to visit in Dong Van District
Dong Van Karst Plateau
The Dong Van Karst Plateau is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Ha Giang, covering a vast area across four districts: Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Meo Vac, and Dong Van. When you set foot on this rocky plateau, you’ll witness limestone mountains stacked on top of each other, forming large peaks over 1,000 meters high. Geologists believe these cat-ear-shaped limestone mountains were formed during the Earth’s development. In addition to the colossal limestone formations, the Dong Van Karst Plateau also preserves fossils that are over 600 million years old. Because of these unique geological features, UNESCO officially recognized the Dong Van Karst Plateau as a Global Geopark in 2010.
Dong Van Old Town
Dong Van Old Town is a gathering place for various ethnic groups, including the Tay, Hoa, Mong, Nung, and Dao, who have been living here since the early 20th century. The old town still retains its ancient charm and a nostalgic atmosphere with characteristic moss-covered roofs, bearing the marks of time. The best time to visit the old town is during the weekly Sunday market, where you can immerse yourself in the daily life of the local people, see colorful traditional clothing, and find unique mountain produce.
Lung Cu Flag Tower
The Lung Cu Flag Tower is located on the peak of Rong Mountain, 1,470 meters above sea level, and is considered the sacred northernmost landmark of Vietnam. It is a must-visit destination for anyone coming to Ha Giang to prove that they have conquered this place. To reach the Lung Cu Flag Tower, you’ll need to traverse a 1.5 km mountain path, climb 839 stone steps, and an additional 140 spiral steps. Once you’ve conquered this mountain peak, you’ll have a panoramic view of the magnificent Ha Giang landscape beneath the mountain.
H’Mong King Palace (Vuong Family Mansion)
The H’Mong King Palace, also known as Vuong Family Mansion, is situated in the Sa Phin Valley, approximately 24km from the center of Ha Giang city. This remarkable architectural structure covers an area of nearly 3,000 square meters and was constructed starting in 1890. Today, the palace is preserved and open to visitors for exploration.
Places to visit in Meo Vac District
Ma Pi Leng Pass
This is a roughly 20km long pass with winding curves and dangerous hairpin turns. However, driving along this pass will allow you to admire the immensely majestic scenery of mountains, forests, and a river with beautiful emerald waters that meanders around the mountains. Ma Pi Leng Pass is an iconic check-in spot that you can’t miss when visiting Ha Giang.
Tu San Gorge
Tu San Gorge is dubbed the deepest gorge in Southeast Asia, with rock walls reaching up to 800 meters in height. It stretches for 1.7km and is almost 1km deep, making it a unique wonder in the Dong Van Karst Plateau. To reach Tu San Gorge, you’ll travel by boat on the Nho Que River. It’s only when you get closer to this gorge that you can truly appreciate its breathtaking grandeur.
Places to visit in Hoang Su Phi District
Hoang Su Phi Terraced Rice Fields
If you’ve ever seen beautiful photos of terraced rice fields in Vietnam, they are likely from Hoang Su Phi. It will take some time and effort to get here as Hoang Su Phi is about 100km away from the center of Ha Giang city, and the journey takes a little over 2 hours. Despite the somewhat distant location and longer travel time, once you set foot in Hoang Su Phi, you’ll undoubtedly feel that it was well worth the trip.
Hotels and Resorts in Ha Giang
Homestays are a well-developed accommodation option in Ha Giang, making them an ideal choice for independent young travelers who want authentic and cost-effective experiences of local culture. Many homestays are run by local ethnic residents and offer communal meal services with the host or prepare meals for guests. Here are some homestays to consider:
- In Quan Ba: Dao Lodge Homestay, Ly Danh Homestay, Hong Thu Homestay
- In Ha Giang City: Lang Tay Homestay, Kiki’s House, Ha Giang Homestay, Bui Ty Ha Homestay
- In Yen Minh: Bong Bang Homestay, Ha Anh Homestay, Eco Homestay, Tay Coc Pang Homestay
- In Meo Vac: Va’s Homestay, Giac xua Guesthouse, Auberge de MeoVac, Lo Lo Homestay
- In Dong Van: Bui Homestay, Dong Van B&B
However, the most common type of accommodation in Ha Giang is 2-3 star hotels, which offer reasonably priced rooms and cater to various types of travelers, including families, groups of friends, and couples. Highly-rated hotels such as Phoenix, Huy Hoan, and Ha Giang Historic House provide comfortable and well-equipped lodging options for your Ha Giang trip.
If you seek a more upscale lodging experience, you can opt for 4 or 5-star hotels and resorts. While Ha Giang may not have as many luxury resorts as other tourist destinations, there are still a few places that offer memorable experiences. Leading the list of Ha Giang resorts is undoubtedly P’apiu Resort, located 13km from the center of Ha Giang. This is a luxurious resort, but it comes with a higher price tag. Additionally, for a more budget-friendly option, you can choose Truong Xuan Resort, which is conveniently located near the city center, or Hoang Su Phi Lodge if you want to experience eco-tourism and enjoy tranquil moments in nature.
Ha Giang Cuisine
Ha Giang cuisine stands out with the following distinctive dishes:
- Ha Giang rolled rice cake with egg
- Au Tau porridge
- Bac Me bamboo sticky rice
- Buffalo meat hung up in the kitchen
- Thang co
- The sausage of the highland
Notes When Visiting Ha Giang
- If you’re traveling to Ha Giang by motorcycle, it’s not advisable to carry a suitcase as it can be cumbersome. Instead, opt for a lightweight backpack.
- The roads to Ha Giang are often steep and have many dangerous curves, so you should drive carefully and maintain a reasonable speed.
- Try to finish your journey while it’s still daylight to avoid driving at night.
- Ha Giang is a highland region, so the weather can be quite cold in winter. Make sure to pack appropriate footwear and a jacket suitable for the weather.
- Keep your personal documents safe and carry some essentials like pain relievers, stomachache medication, and insect repellent.
Ha Giang has its unique charm that will leave a lasting impression on you after your visit. Among the northern mountainous regions of Vietnam, along with Sapa, Ha Giang is the most captivating destination in this area. Particularly for international travelers, the experiences in Ha Giang are sure to leave a deep mark in your memories when you return home. Contact our travel experts to plan a Ha Giang trip tailored to you and your family.