Ha Giang – Land of Beauty and Ethnic Tradition
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Ha Giang – Land of Beauty and Ethnic Tradition
Ha Giang is the final frontier in northern Vietnam, an amazing landscape of limestone pinnacles and granite outcrops. The far north of the province has some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, and the trip between Dong Van and Meo Vac across the Mai Pi Leng Pass is quite mind-blowing. Ha Giang should be one of the most popular destinations in this region, but its proximity to the Chinese border still keeps visitor numbers at a low level.
The province is best managed with a car and driver or by motorbike, but public transport quality is improving now that years of roadworks are largely completed. You’ll still need to arrange private transport to reach off-the-beaten-track attractions like Lung Cu and the Vuong Palace though.
It’s relatively simple to complete a journey by public transport from Ha Giang city to Dong Van, but at the time of writing private transport was needed to continue via Meo Vac to Bao Lac for onward public transport southeast to the bigger centre of Cao Bang.
Whichever way you tackle Ha Giang, you’ll be among only a handful of travellers to the area and experience some of Indochina’s most jaw-dropping scenery.
When the best time to visit Ha Giang
Dry season (from October to April) is the best time to travel to Ha Giang, you can enjoy the coldness and snow in December and January.
At this time, the travelers can certainly get the complete flavor of the scenic beauty. The scenery is quite pleasant and serene which relaxes your mind and soul. The magnificent mountain tops that are hidden behind the clouds and the fragrance of the wild peach flowers will influence and soothe your senses.
Getting There & Away
Ha Giang’s new bus station is on the northern edge of town near the 3 February Bridge. See table for bus connections and note that no buses run direct to Bac Ha from Ha Giang. The route is very beautiful, but you’ll need to transit through Xin Man or Bac Ngam.
An alternative option for getting to dong Van and Meo Vac is the minibus service operated by Karst Plateau Travel.
You can also catch bus from Hanoi to Ha Giang by contacting us.
Sights & Activities
Dong Van Karst Plateau
Dong Van karst plateau has an area of 2.350 square kilometers, spreads over four districts of Ha Giang province: Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac at an average height of 1.400 – 1.600 meters with a number of beautiful limestone and winding road. Here, scientists have found 33 tectonics heritages, 45 geomorphology heritages and many unique fossils in sedimentary rock, which creates opportunities for the tourist attraction, brings income for indigenous people.
In the end of 2010, Dong Van karst plateau was recognized as the first geological park of Vietnam and Geological parks of the world. Dong Van karst plateau is one of the special limestone mountain, including the marks of the history of the earth’s crust process and tradition of indigenous communities.
Dong Van Old Quarter
Dong Van old quarter-100 years old located in Dong Van District, Dong Van, Ha Giang. With the ancient architecture, it still keeps intact contour. Dong Van old quarter is the pride of people here. The lifestyle and daily life of ethnic people such as: Kinh, Tay, Mong, Hoa… is very impressive.
Dong Van Upland
Dong Van is an upland district of Ha Giang, it is far about 146 kilometers from Ha Giang. Dong Van has Lung Cu that is concerned as ‘the roof of Vietnam’, famous for natural scenery, fruits and precious herbs…
The market meets on Sunday every week and holidays, New Year. Market located at the root of Don Cao Mountain, beside the Dong Van ancient town. The whole market is designed with the style of Vietnam-China and it has interference with feng shui plateau. There has the rows of stone pillars with sophisticated carve. Dong Van market situated in the middle of Dong Van highland valley basin as an impressive point. This market is designed with U-shape structure and architecture on stone was built during the period from 1925 to 1928.
Khau Vai Love Market
This is a unique market of Vietnam in particular and the world in general. The Khau Vai fair is located in the village of the Nung, in a wide valley and full of people. There have colorful costumers of the ethnic H’Mong, Dao, Giay, Nung… The girls, boys even elder are not hiding restless in the face.
This land has third-fours stone, the national flagpole like Hanoi flagpole. When approached, the beauty will become more vivid. The flagpole is situated in Dragon Mountain, at the foot of the pole; it is carved reliefs with a clear pattern of Dong Son bronze drum. If tourists contemplate carefully, tourists will explore in the middle of Dragon Mountain has a large grotto, people here called “Si Ma Khan” grotto.
Quan Ba Twin Moutain
Twin Mountain is located along Highway 4C, it is far about 40 kilometers from Ha Giang town. From a distance, Quan Ba Twin Mountain looks like two cherries as an art of nature. The mountain associates with a touching legend.
Visitors have the opportunity to admire the art of the nature give to this land. Between the mountain and rice terraces, there have mountains with strange shape that make visitors surprise by the spectacular beauty of the nature. Two mountains associated with the legend “Co Tien Mountain” very interesting.
Mansion of Vuong Family
The mansion of Vuong family ( Vuong Chi Sinh) located in Xa Phin districts, Dong Van, Ha Giang. It is far about 24 kilometers from Dong Van. This is a beautiful and unique architecture of upland. The structure has been classified as a relic from 1993.
The mansion was built in turtle-shaped hill, looking to the south. The structure has shape of word “Vuong”. Through the time, the mansion still retains the original appearance. This place which converges all unique architectures of upland is not large but it has a beautiful architectural structure. Vuong mansion was built by the skillful of craftsmen who came from Yunnan (China) along with the best of the H’Mong workers. Therefore, the structure has architecture of China reign of Thanh combined with essence of the H’Mong.
Ma Pi Leng Pass
Ma Pi Leng Pass is dangerous road with 20 kilometers length. Over the Ma Pi Leng, there has a mountain with 2.000 meters height located on the ‘Happiness’ road connecting Ha Giang, Dong Van and Meo Vac town. Ma Pi Leng began building from the 60s of the 20th century by workers who almost are the H’mong.
Ma Pi Leng Pass is not long but it is the most dangerous pass in the northern border mountain area. It is considered as the “King” of the Vietnam’s pass or Great Wall of Vietnam or the Pyramid of the Meo. At the top of Ma Pi Leng mount is the “happiness” road, there has a stone stele recording the marks in the construction process.
Nho Que River
Nho Que River flows from the area of Nghiem Son Mountain that is 1500 meters height. This river is not too long, about 46 kilometers, in which the upper area accounts for more than 5 kilometers is the border of two countries Vietnam – China, the rest part flows through Ha Giang and Cao Bang province.
It is a beautiful destination for tourists. Standing on Ma Pi Leng mount, tourists can contemplate a river like a silky fillet looming in fog which brings tourists a pleasant sensation of a naturally romantic masterpiece. The river is concerned as the mysterious of nature.
Dried buffalo is special food in the meals of Black Thai. This meat is usually made from muscle of buffaloes and cows freely on the northwest mountains. When making it, people cut meat into pieces with the grain then smoked by charcoal from the mountains. With the dried buffalo, the flavor of smoke is almost intact.
Bitter porridge or “au tau” porridge is special dish. Tourists can enjoy all flavors in a bowl of porridge: flavors of “au tau”, leaf spices… Bowl of “au tau” porridge looks very attractive by the harmony between rice, herbs, meat… Cooking “au tau” porridge is not simple.
Shan Tuyet Tea: Ha Giang is one of the provinces has the oldest Shan tea area in the country. From the early 20th century, the French investigates tea in Ha Giang and take attention to the ancient highland tea. It is Shan tea with big leaves, many snow-white hair covered buds and have good quality. So that people called Shan Tuyet.
Bien Nho Thanh Thu Restaurant: For something exotic, this place has crocodile, seafood, goose and traditional food from the ethnic minorities of Ha Giang.
Minh Hieu Restaurant: Coming to the restaurant, guests will feel comfortable when enjoying the delicious unique dishes. Along with the fresh air and enthusiastic staffs, we commit to serve you with professional style as well as thoughtful as possible.
The list of the ethnic markets in Ha Giang, Northern Vietnam
Among the highest latitudes of Vietnam, Ha Giang is undoubtedly a great destination for the sightseeing of grandiose mountainous landscapes. This mountainous province’s residents consist mainly of ethnic minorities with a major of Hmong, Tày, Yao and Nùng ethnic groups. Thanks to this ethnical diversity, nowhere can one see more fusing traditions than Ha Giang. Each of the ethnic group has its unique custom in term of wedding, worship, festivals or funeral.
Markets of Ha Giang are where minorities’ people gather for buying, selling, gossip and getting the basics of life for the week. With a variety of villages along the border with China, explore some of the most dramatic scenery of northern Vietnam, is another excellent opportunity to purchase local handicrafts and gifts directly from the makers and contribute directly to the locals. You can choose any ethnic minorities markets that you want to visit when travelling to Ha Giang. Green Discovery Indochina would like to suggest you the list of the ethnic minorities markets as here below:
In Dong Van District:
Dong Van Central market: Every Sunday morning
Sung Trai market: This market is usually open on the days of Buffalo and days of Goat (lunar calendar)
Lung Phin market: Days of Tiger and days of Monkey
Pho Cao market: Days of Dragon and days of Dog
Sa Phin market (near Hmong King’s Palace): days of Snake and days of Pig
Pho Bang market: This market is usually open on the days of Mouse and days of Horse
In Quan Ba District:
Tam Son town market: Every Saturday morning.
Quyet Tien market: Every Saturday morning.
Cao Ta Tung market (of 3 communes: Cao Ma Po, Ta Van, Tung Vai): every Friday.
Trang Kim market: This market is often opens on the days of Goat and days of Buffalo.
In Yen Minh District:
Yen Minh market: Every Sunday morning.
Bach Dich Market – There are two market sessions in a week including Bach Dich market or Milestone number 9 market (new milestone number 358) – Sunday morning at the border and Muong market on Saturday
Du Gia market: Every Friday morning.
Duong Thuong Market: Every Friday morning
Mau Due market: Every Sunday morning.
In Meo Vac District:
Meo Vac market: Every Sunday morning.
Sung Tra market: Every Saturday
Niem Son market: Every 5 days on the 5th , 10th , 15th , 20th , 25th , 30th of lunar calendar
Khau Vai love market: Once a year on March 27th of lunar calendar.