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Dong Van is a mountainous province of Ha Giang, which is famous for Dong Van karst plateau park. Telling about stone plateau, many people easily imagine a barren landscape with only rocks and mountains. On the contrary, this land nurtures many beautiful, colorful and sweet flowers. Therefore, the beauty of Dong Van stone plateau is a combined place that fulls of majestic and romantic specialities.

Best time to visit

The ideal time to visit Dong Van plateau is in fall (from September to November). As the weather is not as cold as the winter, and less likely to rain than summer months. Also, from October to November is the blooming season of buckwheat flower, a unique flower of the northern mountain area of Vietnam. You can witness its beauty everywhere, in hills, stepped-rice fields, or in around makeshift local houses.

If you can not travel during autumn, then winter is the second-best choice. Although winter clothes are more burdensome, it is safer to travel during this dry season. Summer months coincide with the monsoon season, coming with risks of landslides, slippery roads, and poor visions.

However, since whether it rains can affect your safety, it is best to check the weather forecast carefully in advance. There may still be some enjoyable sunny days for your summer adventure.

Check the below table for the general idea of Dong Van weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 19.9 15.2 11.7
Feb 21.5 17.8 15.1
Mar 24.3 21.2 18.7
Apr 27.8 24.2 21.2
May 32.4 27.8 24.1
Jun 32.7 28.3 25
Jul 32.3 27.7 24.8
Aug 32.6 27.6 24.4
Sep 31.3 26.5 23.6
Oct 29.6 24 20.4
Nov 25.5 21.4 18.7
Dec 20.2 15.8 12.7

Dong Van’s current weather and 7-day forecast


As Dong Van plateau gains its reputation from its breathtaking mountainous landscape, the beauty of Dong Van is far beyond. It is home to 17 ethnic groups of Vietnam, which makes the district a tribal cultural hub that can be found nowhere else.

Let us skim through some inspiring things to do in Dong Van karst limestones.

Visit Quan Ba Heaven Gate and see the Fairy mountain

Quan Ba is, of course, not the door to heaven but it gives you a superb viewpoint of Dong Van’s zig-zag roads, misty clouds and lush mountains from the top, which is kind of the same. The gate is also the gateway to Dong Van geological park.

From Quan Ba heaven gate, you can view over Fairy Mountain. The two mountains sitting alongside each other look like the two breasts of a woman from afar. Locals people believe that it belongs to a fairy, who was once fallen in love and married to a mundane man. As her emperor forbade this love, she had to leave the land, thus, leave her breast here in order to feed her babies. And it is the milk from Fairy mountains that keeps crops around always lush and abundant.

Learn history at H’ mong Royal Palace

Hmong royal palace is an interesting historical site that is grandiose in style.

It belonged to the H’ mong kings who used to rule this land during the French colonial area. The wealthy royal family spent a handsome sum of money of USD 6.5 million and 8 years to build this palace as a fortress to protect them from attackers. During the August revolution, it is the hideout of the richest man of the region, who profited from drug dealing and trafficking. This explains why there are many poppy planted- shaped decorations in the palace.

Architecturally,  The royal mansions bear heavy influence from the Chinese Qing Dynasty style with pine woods, terra cotta tiles, and Chinese-writing decorations. Yet it still has many Vietnamese traits. Images of lion, dragon, a phoenix that symbolizes power and prosperity, to name a few.

Challenge yourself in Ma Pi Leng Pass

Remember how we talk about the adventurousness of Dong Van plateau in the first place? Ma Pi Leng pass must be the most adventurous of all. It’s challenging to pass due to steep, winding, potholed roads which are often covered by thick fogs. Not to mention there are unexpected road constructions, no road barriers in many parts and it is a two-way traffic road.

Yet overcome the bumpy road, and the reward is awesome. From the height of the pass, you can see Ha Giang majestic mountains under your feet, and get a total view of local villages that are now tiny dots amid the green mountain.
Ma Pi Leng Pass is also the only place to fully view the probably deepest chasm of Southeast Asia, through which the green poetic Nho Que river runs.
My advice is to go to Ma Pi Leng Pass on a clear day to get the best view and wear enough warm clothes.

Dong Van Sunday market and local villages

Dong Van Sunday Market

Dong Van Sunday Market sits by massive terraced fields and the H’ mong royal palace. In a place where there are no malls, the Dong Van Sunday market is an important event for the locals to trade and to hang out as well. People come from miles away carrying goods on their backs to sell while wearing colorful dresses.

It is a busy, lively market that can give you so many insights about the life of local people. In the sweet scene of rice wine diffused in the air, you can try horse meat (a traditional dish of the H’ mong, practice bargaining for a piece of hand-woven fabrics or sort out different ethnic groups by their costumes.

The market starts from 5 am to 10 am, you’d better set your wakeup call early so as not to miss the authentic experience.

Local Village

Be sure to spend some time on your itinerary trekking, as you do not want to skip visiting local villages hidden in the mountains.

You can spot local people with colorful, well-patterned handwoven dresses that represent their own ethnicity. You can also emerge in their unique folk tunes, tales, and watch their rural lifestyle that may as be just the same as hundreds of years ago.

Green Karst Guesthouse and Hostel

The best quality/price accommodation in the center of Dong Van. It offers both dorms and private rooms. The dorm beds have curtains for privacy. The rooms are clean and tidy. They provide you with towels and hot water.

H’Mong Homestay

Run by the local H’Mong ethnic minority, this homestay will bring you closer to the traditional lifestyle of this area in Vietnam. You’ll get to enjoy a family setting and the delicious breakfast and dinner. If you’re lucky, you can also try their delicious corn wine (aka ‘happy water’), and learn how to say cheers in proper Vietnamese style!

The Green Karst Restaurant

It has the best selection of foods in Dong Van, and their quality never disappoints! They cater for all tastes and budgets. They also have many vegan and vegetarian options. Great friendly atmosphere to meet other travelers! Here, you can find hotpots, Vietnamese dishes, western dishes, specialties, corn wine and cocktails.

Bún Cá Thiên Vũ

Here you can find the best breakfast pho in town. It can also be a great chance to have breakfast with locals, and to share in with the animated atmosphere. The pho is delicious and prepared with fresh herbs and noodles. Tofu options available.

Banh Cuon Ba Ha

Go here to try Banh Cuon (steamed rice pork/egg roll), a typical dish of Dong Van/Ha Giang. Dip the roll in the aromatic broth and enjoy its subtle but soothing flavour.

Cháo Ấu Tẩu – Bánh Cuốn

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try Au Tau porridge at this place. This local dish requires careful preparation, and they say is highly medicinal. It’s prepared with the Au Tau bulb (a plant found in the mountains around the area) and cooked over many hours with meat and herbs. The final result is a kind of bitter meat and herb porridge.

Sunday market

If you are in Dong Van on a Sunday, don’t miss the market! You can have Pho or Banh Cuon for breakfast, or try some of the many snacks you can find in different stalls. Some of the best snacks I’ve found: steamed pork buns, fried dough balls, buckwheat or rice flour cakes, corn cakes, mixed colored sticky rice…

Ha Giang city is the starting point for every traveler who wishes to embrace Dong Van Plateau. The common route is to travel to Ha Giang from Hanoi by bus or car, then go north to Dong Van plateau.

To ride or drive around the plateau, you must take the Ha Giang Loop. Half of the loop is wide and paved decently enough for driving. However, the other half is narrow, steep with lots of hairpin turns, few are covered by dirt and gravel.
Most transportation activities happen in 60% of the road, the other 40% is spacious.

There are three ways to do so: by motorbike, bus, and private cars.

By bus

Bus is, by all means, the cheapest option of all. But unfortunately, saving money is the only pros of this option. Public transportations are not convenient in mountainous areas like Ha Giang. There are only a few routes, so you may have to wait for a while to get on one. Bus drivers can sometimes drive dangerously, and they sometimes take their bus as a means to load their own goods.

By motorbike

You can choose to ride your own motorbike or have a local given you a ride. Motorbike is an awesome choice if you’re physically active and have a fair bit of adventure blood. While riding through the winding loop of Dong Van, you can enjoy the fresh breezing and the jaw-dropping mountainous view on the way. You can stop any time you want to have a wonderful moment with the majestic nature.

However, riding a motorbike contains lots of risks. It requires you to be a skillful biker to handle all the dangerous turns and narrow roads, and an international license as well. Also, besides travelers’ motorbike and cars, local buses and transportation trucks take the loops too. Drivers of these vehicles sometimes drive at a high speed even at dangerous hairpin turns, which is kind of scary to see. So it takes experience and a calm mind to deal with the fear.

Another great option is to hire a local to do the riding part. Then all you have to do is sit behind and enjoy it. These local guys know the roads well and they can meet your special requirements if any.

Private Car

A private car is another excellent choice to consider. Although the cost may be higher, you can enjoy the whole hour-long journey in the comfort of the car seat. (sitting on a motorbike too long can be a harsh thing for your hip, believe me). Also, it’s easier to take pictures of the breathtaking view without worrying your phone will be blown away by the wind. Finally, when taking the dangerous turns, being in a car can make you feel safer.

As there are fewer rental car companies in Ha Giang, it’s best to choose a trusted car company in Hanoi, and the driver will accompany you for the whole trip. This way, the rent can be slightly lower too.

Contact us to get more information


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Well, as long as you like! From 10 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Vietnam and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Vietnam is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Vietnam with its neighbor countries. 

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Vietnam would scrap the Covid-19 testing requirement for all arrivals starting Sunday, May 15th 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has directed.

In a document issued Friday, the Prime Minister requested the Ministry of Health to closely follow the coronavirus situation and provide proper guidance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should direct Vietnamese authorities outside the country to inform people who wish to enter Vietnam to follow appropriate disease prevention measures, he said.

The latest decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths drops both in Vietnam and around the world. Several countries have been taking steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, including scrapping testing before entry.

Current policies issued by the health ministry require entrants to have negative results from PCR tests done within the previous 72 hours, or a negative result from a rapid test done within the last 24 hours.

Those who don’t have a negative test result must refrain from making contact with others during the first 24 hours after entry. They will be able to move freely once they test negative after arrival.

Children under two don’t need to be tested.

Vietnam stopped requiring medical declarations from those arriving from abroad starting April 27, and for domestic travel starting April 30.


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