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A border province and official Frontier Area, Hà Giang lies in the remote far northern region of the country. To visit this province is to journey back in time and encounter some of Vietnam’s most rugged and grand landscapes. Hà Giang is best experienced as a road trip on two wheels, soaking up the majesty of the landscape and the atmosphere of the remote towns and minority villages.

Best time to visit

Ha Giang experiences two main seasons: the rainy season from April to October and the dry season from November to March.

Apart from these seasons, Ha Giang offers a different perspective at different times of the year. 

For example, if you come between January and March, you will see the hills and mountains come back to life after their winter sleep. Peach and plum blossoms add dots of white and pink to the green hills, making for a wonderful view and beautiful scent.

In April, you can catch the Khau Vai Love Market, a special event which happens only once a year. On this day, vendors from all around the province come to sell their products in a flurry of color. Check when exactly it is this year as the exact date depends on the lunar calendar and changes every year.

From May to July, farmers irrigate their rice fields which turn a rich vibrant green as a result. Get ready for some postcard-worthy shots during this time of year!

In September and October, the rice ripens in the fields and is almost ready for harvest. At this time, the paddies turn yellow and weave through the mountains like golden ribbons.

November brings buckwheat blooming season. This is when the small, pink flowers in the fields create a beautiful contrast to the grey mountains and green forests around.

From late November until the end of the year, there is a chance of snow. Did you think you would find snow in Vietnam? Here in the north, it could happen! Even if you don’t catch snow, the province is beautiful in winter as thick mist floats around the hills and makes you feel like you’re in a whole other world. If you are traveling to Ha Giang during this time, be sure to bring warm jackets, long pants, and good shoes.

Check the below table for the general idea of Ha Giang 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

Ha Giang’s current weather and 7-day forecast

HÀ GIANG WEATHER

Here are top things to do in Ha Giang:

1. Happiness Road - Ha Giang Loop

To travel to Ha Giang is to travel the Ha Giang Loop which is actually the Happiness Road that connects Dong Van and Meo Vac through the King off All Passes – Ma Pi Leng Pass. Happy Road has a long and heroic history of itself starting from the days even before its birth. Ha Giang without a road was so remote to travel to that no one ever thought of coming to Ha Giang for tourism purposes.

Many volunteers, workers from several ethnic groups had joined hands to open the toughest mountain road in Vietnam, very first road in Ha Giang. Some of them sacrificed their lives on the span of 7 years of making this road. The name of the road is also the wish for happiness that the local people here sent to the future.

Happiness Road has a total length of 185 kilometers, running from Ha Giang City to Dong Van and Meo Vac. The road was opened in year 1965.

2. Quan Ba - Heaven Gate & Twin Mountains

Quan Ba Twin Mountains are a lovely sight to behold from the road. The two round-shaped green hills lying side by side on the middle of the rice field will sure will catch your eyes because of its charming appearance.

Right near the Twin Mountains lies the Heaven Gate which is on a height of 1500m above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the valley below. It’s such a wonderful experience to take in such scenery during your trip. You can stop at Quan Ba to a quick rest before go up the winding road to Dong Van Karst Plateau.

3. Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark

Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark is the main thing to do in Ha Giang. Listed as a member of UNESCO Geopark Network, Dong Van features a vast area of limestone which covers most of the four provinces of Ha Giang. Located on the height of 1400 – 1600 meters above sea level, the geographical characteristics of Dong Van Plateau are just as dramatic as it can get with sheer mountain cliffs running to the horizon.

There’re huge mountains and deep canyons to be found here of which the highest peak is Mount Mieu Vac (1971m) and deepest canyon is Tu San (800m). The landscape at Tu San Canyon has become something you should look forward when climbing up Ma Pi Leng Pass.

One of the mysterious things in Dong Van Rock Plateau is the scripts found on many rocks – ancient letters but until now, the meanings to these letters are left unknown.

4. Meo Vac - The Pass and The Love Market

There are two things to talk about Meo Vac: Ma Pi Leng Pass and Khau Vai Love Market. Both are excellent examples of its kind – Ma Pi Leng yields to no other in its majestic beauty and Khau Vai is the most authentic love market that only happens once a year.

Held on 27th day of the third lunar calendar, Khau Vai Love Market is a festive event where the ethnic people celebrate love, meet their ex-lovers, potentials lovers and show affection. Ethnic people get dressed up for this event and turn the atmosphere very vibrant with the colorful costumes. It’s a great opportunity to travel to Ha Giang during this time.

5. Hoang Su Phi

If you think Ha Giang don't have graceful golden terraced rice fields like Sapa or Mu Cang Chai, we gladly to let you know that Hoang Su Phi in Ha Giang has some of the most dramatic and scenic terraced rice fields in Vietnam.
Hoang Su Phi is a district in the western of Ha Giang Province, at the foot of Tay Con Linh Mountain. Thanks to its geographic characteristics, coming to Hoang Su Phi during harvest season, travelers will have the chance to see the golden terraces covered in the white clouds.

The terraced fields has long been considered as the artworks of the locals' hard work and no longer just agricultural cultivation. Hoang Su Phi offers breathtaking views of layers and layers of rice fields on mountain after mountain.

*When is the best time to visit Hoang Su Phi?

Late September and October is the best time to visit and to witness the terraced fields turning golden and the hard labor of the people during harvest time.

6. Soak up the Culture in Dong Van Sunday Market

One of the must-do things to do in Dong Van is to visit the fair market that is held on every Sunday. Occupied at Dong Van Old Quarter, the market is a delightful highlight which turn the highland town vibrant and exciting from 5am to 10am every Sunday morning.

The ethnic people, including Hmong, Tay, Nung and Hoa ethnic minorities stay true to their identity and tradition by dressing with their finest costumes to attend the weekly fair market. The event is a chance for local people to purchase their tribal goods, self-grown li, socialize, and eat good foods. It’s a very local, friendly atmosphere and you’ll find yourself enjoying the market in no time. So why not set your alarm and wake up earlier to join the one of the most important fair markets in North Vietnam? You won’t be disappointed.

7. Conquer The Northernmost Point of Vietnam - Lung Cu Flagpole

Lung Cu Flag Tower is Vietnam North Pole the furthermost point to the North of Vietnam, lying close to China-Vietnam border.

The road up to Dong Van is already hard, the road up to Lung Cu flagpole is even harder, car or motorbike. Once you reach the flagpole’s entrance, you’ll have to climb almost 400 steps to reach the actually flagpole. Continue to climb some more steps, the views on the top will reward your effort.

Lung Cu is a great place to take panoramic photos of Dong Van, Ha Giang, especially the winding Happiness Road below.

Note: Foreigners visiting Lung cu Flagpole will have to get a permit. Book tour with Sonasia Holiday, you won’t have to worry about this issue.

*Admission: 20,000VND per person

8. Enjoy The Night at Dong Van Old Quarter

The 100-year-old Dong Van Old Quarter is the highest old quarter in Vietnam with the typical Chinese architecture on the dramatic backdrop of sheer mountains and green rice fields. Most of the houses in the Old Quarter are Trinh Tuong Houses, lived in by Hmong, Tay, Kinh, Zao, Hoa ethnic people. These age-old houses has two floors of which the first floor often is opened for small business like restaurant or store, the second floor is used for living.

The old quarter is also the place the Night of Old Quarter takes place on three nights on 14th, 15th, 16th lunar days of March. It’s when the local people hang their red lanterns, showcase their traditional brocade products, foods and perform cultural activities. It’s a great opportunity to visit Ha Giang during this time.

9. Visit Mansion of Vuong Family

The Vuong family’s mansion is just like a stone castle among the nature, protected by the high canopy of special trees in Ha Giang. The mansion itself is a masterpiece of architecture, taking 10 years of construction to finish as it’s seen nowadays. At the time the mansion was built, the amount of money spent on its expense was considered a very large sum which equalizes about 150 billion of Vietnam Dong.

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.

*Admission: 20,000VND per person

10. Ride Motorbike on Ma Pi Leng Pass

Riding motorbike on Ma Pi Leng Pass will bring you exhilaration, that’s how beautiful the pass is. However, we only recommend those who have enough riding experience to take on the challenge because the road leading up Ma Pi Leng is no joke. It’s winding, narrow and two-way.

Ma Pi Leng means a bridge of a horse's nose, describing the shape of its shape. Have long been ranked by locals, Ma Pi Leng is among the top 4 passes in Vietnam which are both beautiful and dangerous.

11. Take a Selfie at Tu San Canyon

Once you are on the 20-km long Ma Pi Leng Pass, make sure you know when to stop for a picture of Tu San Canyon. Why this particularly canyon is such a big deal? It’s the deepest canyon of all Dong Van Karst Plateau with the famous and poetic green Nho Que river running through its two grey cliffs.

Looking down at the canyon from the pass will blow your mind because of the grandeur of nature. Take a camera with you to capture your special moment.

12. Lung Cam Village - Highland Romance

A romantic hangout for friends and family in the middle of rock plateau. Lung Cam village is one of the best sites to visit in Ha Giang, only about 25km away from the town of Dong Van.

Lung Cam Village is also the village where the famous house of Pao in the famous movie Story of Pao is located. The house is opened for visit with admission of 10,000VND per person.

The village is nested in a very romantic valley with 61 households in total of which are 53 households of Hmong ethnic people. Coming to Lung Cam village, visitors can enjoy the idyllic landscape and the peaceful way for life of the locals.

Although Ha Giang is slowly becoming more developed, the available accommodation is generally fairly simple. Larger cities such as Dong Van and Ha Giang do have hotels, but guesthouses and homestays are more common. They may offer fewer basic services, but they give you the opportunity to communicate with your local hosts and give them a glimpse into their daily lives.

Best hotels & hostels in Ha Giang

Hotels in Ha Giang CIty

  • QT Guest House
  • Mama’s homestay
  • Kiki’s house
  • Ha Giang Amazing hostel

Hotels in Dong Van

  • Green Karst Hostel & Bar
  • Binh Minh Hostel
  • Lam Tung Hotel

Hotels in Meo Vac

  • Ong Vang Meo Vac Hotel
  • Little Yen’s Homestay
  • Lam Tung Hotel

Hotels in Yen Minh

  • Homestay bongbang
     

Au Tau Porridge 

As known as bitter porridge is a specialty of Ha Giang, can be found everywhere from Ha Giang City to Dong Van plateau. A bowl of au tau has literally everything in it from all flavors of au tau and spice leaves to the balance of rice, herbs and meat…. This dish is also a medicine to cure sick and cold.

Dried buffalo meat 

It is famous in northwest Vietnam, not only in Ha Giang. This dish is a specialty of Black Thai people. The buffalo meat will be marinated then hung on the wooden bars on top of the kitchen's fire. The smell of charcoal remains with the flavors of peppers, ginger and “mac khen” – a kind of forest pepper in northwest Vietnam.

Foods made from buckwheat flowers (Tam Giac Mach flowers) 

Tam Giac Mach is known not only for  its beauties but also for its tastiness. You can find many food-stall selling coal grilled Tam Giac Mach cake near Lung Cam cultural village, Vuong King palace, Dong Van market and Old Quarter. Tam Giac Mach flower is also used to make wine, cookies and soft cake….

Thang Den

It is a popular sweet soup dessert in Dong Van and Meo Vac, when served hot can warm your body up in the cold night on the highland's town. The small white balls made of glutinous rice are soaked in sweet syrup, topped with peanuts, sesame and coconut slices. This soup sure smells good.  

Thang Co Dish - North Vietnam's Specialty

It’s uncertain that Thang Co is loved or hated but it’s obviously the most famous dish from the northwest Vietnam.
The dish is originally a traditional food of Hmong people, has become a common food among ethnic groups in the region. Thang Co’s main ingredient is horse meat. All parts of the horse are put in a big pan and fried. Men often eat Thang Co with wine while women eat the dish with com nam (rice balls) or men (ground maize).You can try the dish in Dong Van, there are some restaurants selling Thang Co, prices are varied.

Getting there

By Air

The airport closest to Ha Giang is in Hanoi. If Ha Giang is your first stop, fly into Hanoi and catch a bus or hire a private driver from there.

By Coach

A cheap and comfortable way to get to Ha Giang is by night bus. There are several leaving Hanoi’s northern terminal every evening and the cheapest ones cost you less than $10. The coaches have fully-reclining berths which make it easy to sleep. That way you can start exploring Ha Giang well-rested and make the most of your first day there.
Usually, the night bus will arrive in Ha Giang by around 3:30 AM. The good thing is that the drivers often let passengers sleep on the bus until morning.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via rome2rio.com

By Motorbike

If you adventure, head to Ha Giang on your own motorbike. The 300-kilometer ride will take you the better part of a day, especially if you want to make a few stops along the way.

Hanoi has plenty of motorbike shops which can rent you a bike for a few days. To find a good one, ask your hotel or hostel for trustworthy dealers. Check the bike carefully to make sure it’s in good condition. You’re going for a long trip, so the last thing you need is a bike that will break down halfway.

To be safe, always ride with a helmet. It’s the law and it’s important since you’re probably unfamiliar with the rather creative driving style in Vietnam. Another good idea is to honk when you drive into a curve with no visibility. That way someone coming towards you knows you’re there and will stay in his lane.

When you’re ready to go, start your trip early in the morning to make the most of daylight. This is important as some mountain roads are poorly illuminated and you wouldn’t want to drive in the dark on winding roads you don’t know well.

By Private Car

The most convenient way to reach Ha Giang is by private car. In Hanoi, you will easily find travel agents who can help you book a private driver to take you to Ha Giang. Especially if you’re traveling with a group of friends, this can be a fun and cost-effective solution. Going with a driver also adds flexibility as you can stop anytime you want, whether it’s for a photo or to try some food along the way.

Getting Around in Ha Giang

Bicycle

While distances from one town to the next are probably a bit too by bicycle, it’s a fun way to get around in places like Dong Van. A bicycle is also a good way to explore the outskirts of a village and the surrounding rice fields.

To rent one, ask your hotel or hostel. They can suggest reliable shops where you can get a bike for a few dollars a day.

By Motorbike

Getting from one town to the next in Ha Giang is easy and fun by motorbike. Streets are winding and steep, but generally well-paved so you can drive comfortably. If you’re an inexperienced driver, don’t underestimate these roads. You might want to consider getting a driver to be on the safe side.

If you want to drive yourself, QT Motorbikes and Tours is one of the best places in Ha Giang to get a motorbike. They provide various types of bikes and safety gear and offer customizable guided tours as well. Whether you want to drive or prefer to let the guide take the wheel and ride, they can accommodate you.

You can find QT Motorbikes close to the bus stop you arrive at in Ha Giang. They even operate a hostel you could use as the starting and ending point of your trip.

By Bus

Towns and villages in Ha Giang are reachable by buses. Once you arrive at Ha Giang bus station, you will easily find the next bus you need to get to Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van or Meo Vac, depending on what you want to see and do. Be careful to check the bus timings so you don’t miss the last one of the day!

Once you get to your destination, you can ask a xe om (local motorbike taxi) to take you to the sights you want to see. Make sure you know where you’re going ahead of time as many xe om drivers don’t speak English. Knowing numbers in Vietnamese will also be useful as it will help you negotiate rates.

By Car

Another good way to get around in Ha Giang is by private driver. If you’ve already hired one to take you there, you can ask him to stick around or check with your hostel or hotel if they can recommend someone. To be sure you have someone waiting for you when you arrive in Ha Giang, book ahead with a travel agent in Hanoi. They have reliable contacts in the area and can help you plan your itinerary.

Contact us to get more information

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