Ha Giang Adventure Tours

How to arrange a trip to Ha Giang by yourself

My trip to Ha Giang was on the occasion of national holiday Reunification day 30th April and Labor day 1st May and things were more expensive than usual. Along the way I met many motorbike groups on their way to Ha Giang, some groups had 5 to 7 bikes, one group had up to 13 bikes. Tours to Ha Giang from Hanoi this time was quite bustling. Not only young people, there were also elderly people visit Ha Giang with their families, people come there to set foot on the border line of our homeland, watching the rocky plateau of Dong Van and conquer the legendary Ma Pi Leng Pass.
Beautiful weather, there were only 2 of us, a few times "almost" no accommodation, run out of petrol mid way and overcharged...There are many things I learnt during the 3 day 2 night adventure to Ha Giang I would like to share with you, on accommodation, about problems on the road and the itinerary as well.
Although we had searched for information and tips about Ha Giang travel on the net, referred to friends we did not actually had something specific, except the way. So in this article I will share with you all the experiences in my last trip in Ha Giang


How to arrange a trip to Ha Giang by yourself

Best time to visit Ha Giang:
Ha Giang is said beautiful all seasons, I do not deny it, Ha Giang is famous for Dong Van rock plateau, Lung Cu flagpole, Ma Pi Leng pass, Vuong family palace...Ha Giang is still beautiful from season to season, still imposing despite the time. However, there are also some certain time periods, Ha Giang is nicer by the colors of the flowers: Tam Giac Mach, specialty for travelers, just about the end of October to December people all gather to Ha Giang to enjoy the beauty of Tam Giac Mach flower, the purple flowers spread across the hillside. And also in this time, Ha Giang is embellished with yellow color of Cabbage flower, Ha Giang is very cold this season, you may see frost and sometimes it also snows in the area. Experience the frigid cold winter in the northern mountainous region, trembling with a cup of coffee in hand, sip a bowl of Au Tau porridge, clicking a glass of corn wine...Nothing is as great as that?
Winter passes, the first days of Spring approach. Then the plum, peach flowers blooming. Come to Ha Giang this time to witness with your own eyes the vitality of all things in the rocky plateau, perhaps a wonderful experience. Personally I will be back to Ha Giang some spring, holding a glass of corn wine, to self-heat my soul.
Summertime is rainy season, there are sudden shower. Ha Giang in Autumn is more beautiful with paddy terraces, though not as much as Sapa or Mu Cang Chai but it brings a particular beauty.
Have you chosen your time to visit Ha Giang, if you have made up your mind let's move on to means of transport.

How to get to Ha Giang?
There are two ways for you to get to Ha Giang. It's by car or motorcycle. I choose motorcycles for my journey. Motorcycle suit people who like freedom, adventurous and risky feeling.
Car is the choice for people who put safety first, however buses to Ha Giang usually run at night and you will not be able to view the roadside scenery to the fullest. So I will let you make your own choice to travel by car or motorbike

Travel to Ha Giang by motorbike or private car:
I would really admire if you go by motorbike. Biking to Ha Giang is not a short journey. Your reason is to conquer the road or overcome yourself? This road is about 300 - 320 km, and there are 2 routes to choose from
First route (I chose this one)
Starting from Hanoi to Son Tay (via highway 21 in Co Nhue) then onto Trung Ha bridge, turn right at Son Tay township or straight on to La Thanh - Co Tiet - Phong Chau bridge (After Phong Chau bridge you turn left along Thao
river) to Phu Tho township - Doan Hung district then to Tuyen Quang province, in Tuyen Quang you take national highway 2 to Ha Giang without going through Tuyen Quang town.
If you go to Ha Giang by this route the road is deserted and 30 km shorter, there are fewer traffic police ;) It took me nearly 9 hours from Hanoi to Ha Giang (12.30am to 21.20 pm) including lunch and photo stops.
Second route:
From Hanoi via Thang Long bridge, turn to Vinh Phuc province - Viet Tri town - Phu Tho province - Tuyen Quang town - Ha Giang, this route has more passenger buses and more crowded than the first route.
Ha Giang tours - Ha Giang travel tips

Travel to Ha Giang by public passenger bus
You can catch a bus to Ha Giang from My Dinh station in Hanoi, my tip for you is to buy ticket in advance so that you have a seat and avoid being cramed. You can make a booking by some ways, call directly to bus companies or go to booking agent by yourself.
I have consulted and collected a list of passenger buses for your choice, you can refer to the list of Ha Giang buses, remember to call ahead to update price.
Return to my article, after arriving in Ha Giang by bus you can rent a motorbike to visit nearby beautiful places, or you can join a bus tour to Dong Van however I recommend that you rent a motorbike in Ha Giang town.

To rent a motorbike in Ha Giang you can refer to one of the contacts below:
Hong Dao motorbike rental service:
Phone 0915.842.019 or 0165.398.2928
Address 10 Pham Hong Thai street, Group 17, Minh Khai ward, Ha Giang town
(close to Minh Khai junior secondary school)
Bao Thanh motorbike rental service:
Address: 31 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Ha Giang town
Mr Nam, phone 0917.797.269 – 0978.159.123
Bay motorbike rental service:
Address 47 Ly Thuong Kiet street, group 15, Tran Phu ward, Ha Giang town
phone: 0986.030.405 – 0125.515.5568 – 0915.273.882
Tuan Anh motorbike rental service:
phone: 0906.175.336
Giang Son motorbike rental service:
Address 170 Tran Hung Dao road, Ha Giang town
phone: 0988. 470.863 or 0962.761.081

Travel itinerary in Ha Giang by motorbike or private car
Brief itinerary: Ha Giang town - Quan Ba district - Yen Minh district - Sa Phin - Vuong family palace - Lung Cu peak - Dong Van rock plateau - Ma Pi Leng pass - Meo Vac district - Bao Lam district - Bac Me - Ha Giang.
Day 1: Spend your time on the road to Ha Giang, arrange a hotel room in town for a shower, go out for dinner, take a walk around city and spend the night in Ha Giang town, please note that you need to arrange permit at Ha Giang police station so that you can enter the area of 4 border districts, you can arrange it through your hotel.
Day 2: Get up early and check out (get up early so that you have more time to visit places). Fill the fuel tank with a spare bottle of petrol. Go straight to Quan Ba district, if you have time enough please stop over Lung Khuy grotto, a newly discovered cave in Quan Ba and the famous Quan Ba heaven gate. About 15km from Ha Giang town the road started becoming spectacular, the passes winding around the mountain, the distant mountains covered with floating white clouds. The higher you go the more beautiful scenes you have. The road from Quan Ba to Yen Minh (60km) is quite scenic especially the pine forest in Yen Minh, the sides of the road are covered with pine trees, feel like we are traveling in Da Lat pine forest, you can stop here camping and lunch.
From Yen Minh, there are 2 roads to Dong Van or Meo Vac, you turn towards Dong Van, in a short drive you arrive in Dong Van with the first rocky mountain beginning to appear then to a winding pass quite nice that I do not know the name. Over the pass you arrive in Sa Phin heaven gate (the junction of Lung Cu flagpole and Vuong house). This time is about 2-3 pm, you turn to Vuong family mansion (or Hmong King palace) for a short visit then return to junction and continue to Lung Cu flag post (26km). The stretch of road from heaven gate to Lung Cu is incredibly beautiful. Rocks undulating like the waves. Beautiful, magnificent and breathtaking, this part is the most spectacular road in Ha Giang.
It time permits you can visit Pho Bang old quarter in the border gate area (7km from Sa Phin) and then return to Lung Cu. Please note that when you arrive in Lung Cu, don't park your car at the foot of the mountain at the military post and keep driving up to the flagpost. If you are not allowed
to go this way you can trace your way back to the junction, right at the start of the road there is a way to the village of Lo Lo people, you can go straight to the flagpole. Pay your entrance fee there and you can save your time and efforts of climbing stairs.
Leaving Lung Cu flagpole, you still have plenty of time to wander around Lo Lo village. Then turn back to the town of Dong Van (approx ~ 22km). To arrange a hotel room in town.
In the evening you can go out for a walk, enjoy barbecue and corn wine, have a cup of coffee or go to bed early to save energy for the next days.
End of day 2
Day 3: Get up early and go out for breakfast in the Old street area, there are many dishes: Banh Cuon, Au Tau and Thang Co soup...Return to hotel, check out the room and continue to Ma Pi Leng pass.
Ma Pi Leng pass is the stretch of road that connects Dong Van and Meo Vac districts (22 km). On top of the pass you can look down the Nho Que river. It is very beautiful everywhere from beginning to finish of the pass. No photo can display the splendid spectacle of Ma Pi Leng pass, no wonder Ma Pi Leng is called the King of passes in Vietnam.
Leaving Ma Pi Leng pass behind you arrive in Meo Vac for lunch, after lunch is a 150 - 180 km drive back to Ha Giang town, you can choose one of the 3 ways:
- Meo Vac to Lung Phin (if you are lucky you can visit colorful Lung Phin market that opens every 6 days on the days of Tiger and Monkeys on lunar calendar) then to Yen Minh - Quan Ba and Ha Giang, this way you will track back the original road.
- Meo Vac to Lung Ho - Mau Due - Du Gia, I recommend this route as it has become legenday for motorbike travelers for its beauty and dangers and finish in Ha Giang town
- Meo Vac to Bao Lam and Bao Lac district - Bac Me and Ha Giang. I chose this road as I did not return to Ha Giang and continued on to Cao Bang in our north east loop.
Arriving in Ha Giang town, spend one more night in town and return to Hanoi next day. End of the trip

Sleeping in Ha Giang
In Ha Giang town: I have spent hours going around town to find the hostel. As the day was 30th April and all hotels were full. We were very lucky that at least we found Duc Giang hotel, only aprox 6 usd for a room with 2 beds, just across the bus station, the room is basic but has hot water, very good deal for a night.
If you want to stay in a better choice there are plenty of hotels along the main road to town, rates from 10 - 20 usd
Dong Van: According to bus drivers and motorbike travelers, best hotel choice is Hoang Ngoc hotel, right at the Dong Van market, rates from 8 - 10 USD a room with 2 or 3 beds, breakfast not included. The guesthouse at the end of the street is also good, backpackers can sleep at 1 usd/person, there are about 6-7 cheaper hostels around town, approx 8 usd/room. A popular place for young Vietnamese travelers is Old Street coffee, however this place is only the last choice as the bathroom is not clean and has mosquitoes
Ha Giang travel information

Eating in Ha Giang
Im not a big fan of cuisine however I know some famous dishes in Ha Giang such as Banh Cuon, Thang Co soup, Bac Me sticky rice, Au Tau porridge, Five color sticky rice, dry beef and corn wine, be careful as you may mistake with Chinese wine that makes you headache as told by local people.
In Ha Giang I had supper at Trung Lan restaurant, just near the city square, this restaurant opens at night. In Dong Van I had dinner at Xuan Bang restaurant, for breakfast I went to an old lady selling Banh Cuon just across my hotel in Dong Van.

Ha Giang travel tips:
If you travel by motorbike remember to bring along driving license, petrol reserves (1.5 litre bottle), spare parts and repair set with pump, these items are necessary as the roads in Ha Giang are rugged and bumpy and there is no repair shops
Clothing: In winter you need to bring scarf, gloves and warm clothes, you can choose light jacket. In summer you can bring a sweater as it is a bit cold at night in the mountain highland.
Medication: abdominal pain, headache, allergic, anti-mosquito cream, gauze, first aid items...If you go camping you must have anti-mosquito and insects along with firewood, pot and pan for cooking.

Above is the experience that I learned in Ha Giang trip last time. These are all practical experiences. I hope that it will be useful for your trip.
If you want to have any information or help, you can contact us. I'm always happy to assist. You can use this article, please indicate the source and a link to it. That action will not only respect me the author, but also respect yourself. I'm sorry for using some photos from other photographers in the article, if you use the photos, please cite information.
Thanks for reading my article about how to arrange a trip to Ha Giang by yourself.

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