We have a trip to Ha Giang 3 days 4 nights on the bike. The best time of the year to achieve this loop and even Vietnam is September and November, when the weather is less, the colors are bright. It can be very cold during the winter months. Although all roads are now in good condition, progress on the road is slow due to countless turns and mountain passes. The month of October is the autumn, the most beautiful season of Ha Giang. There are golden rice fields, buckwheat flower fields, and other wild flowers, we do not know the name. We live in the middle of majestic nature. This road is composed of many colorful and living paintings.
Ha Giang is the most northern province of Vietnam. The mysterious landscape along the Chinese border – a mythical combination of limestone and conical peaks, stepped rice fields, deep valleys – is perhaps the most impressive in the country. Considered by many lovers of adventures as a must in Vietnam, Ha Giang is one of the most coveted destinations and listed in the wish list of Vietnamese and foreign independent travelers. In recent years the road conditions between Ha Giang, Dong Van and Meo Vac have improved, making access to this remote part of the country relatively easy. Of a most closed province ten years ago, Ha Giang is currently the ideal territory for an adventure trip, around motorcycle.
Thursday night, we take the sleepy-bus for the distance from Hanoi to Ha Giang. (the Quang Nghi bus: 0946744733). At 4am we arrived at Ha Giang. We go to Linh Hostel right next to the city bus station. As we booked the bikes at Mr. Hoang Viet (091 865 68 38), we booked a free bed here until the morning, all are clean and comfortable. We get up at 5am and prepare the bikes for the new trip. The price of a rented motorbike is 170.000/ days and includes the safety helmets.
The total distance of the loop (Ha Giang / Quan Ba / Yen Minh / Dong Meo Van Van / Ha Giang) is 320 km. If you really want to hurry up, you can complete the trip in 2 days, but the scenery on this road is so exceptional that we recommend 3-5 days . Expect an average speed of 30 km an hour because the road has many passes and slopes.
Day 1: Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Yen Minh: 100 km
Ha Giang, the provincial capital, is a friendly city on the banks of the Lo River. It is a comfortable place to prepare for the loop and, after the walk, to relax and rejuvenate. There are many accommodation options on both sides of the river: Nguyen Trai Street, on the West Bank and Nguyen Thai Hoc Street on the east bank, which are connected by two bridges, one at each end. This segment of road is not too difficult. We start climbing to the mountain road and of course, the beautiful scenes started to appear.
Take the QL4C road North of Ha Giang. After 30 km through beautiful valleys, a gate announces your arrival at Geo-Park Dong Van. If not, then there is a sign on the hill in giant Hollywood style lettering with the name of the park in Vietnamese and English. The area has been designated World GeoPark by UNESCO – the second in South Asia – in 2011. There are information boards along the roads throughout the Geopark with details of the land formations in this region.
The road winds and climbs to the door of heaven (Col de la Porte du Ciel). The views on the winding road are great. After crossing a treeless plateau, you descend to Quan Ba (the town of Tam Son), nestled in a valley between dozens of limestone ‘molehills’. Near the top of the pass, there is an information center with a café, where several maps of the region are available. Climb the steps behind the cafe to a small belvedere for an unobstructed view of the entire district.
We visited the Quan Ba sky gate and quickly moved to Yen Minh. There are two roads to Yen Minh. We just built a new road 20 km shorter than the old but we chose the old way to follow because the beautiful scenery. There are many zigzag lines. Another long pass climbs through a beautiful landscape near the Chinese border, then the ridge of the hill with a pine forest. Going down the other side in Yen Minh District, you will see the limestone forests of Dong Van Plateau in the distance. After 1 hour, we went to the pine forest in Yen Minh and stayed here. The fresh and pleasant air, we bring a picnic with lightning barbecue. You can buy here: pork, grilled chicken, all kinds of refreshments …
Day 2: Yen Minh – Dong Van
At 1 pm we started going from Yen Minh to Dong Van. The 70 km drive from Yen Minh to Meo Vac (via Dong Van) is perhaps the most remarkable part of the road in the country. The QL4C Route is in the midst of a splendid landscape of dramatic peaks and troughs, formed over millions of years by tectonic activity and limestone erosion. The limestone pictons rise and fall at regular intervals, creating the feeling that one is in a stone forest. The shapes are so lively and lively.
The road we took had a cute and meaningful name: “The road to happiness”. The QL4C Colonial Road, known as the Happiness Road connects the city of Ha Giang with the districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac with thousands of winding turns between abysses and cliffs. It was built at the time of French Indochina.
Started on September 10, 1959 and completed on March 10, 1965, this path dubbed “The Happiness” is legendary for the hard work done by 16 ethnic groups of the provinces of Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Son Lang, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen, Nam Dinh and Hai Duong during the five years of construction, more than 20,000 members of communist youth, for five years, dug a road in the mountains, to connect the city of Ha Giang to the district of Mèo Vac, called since the “Road of Happiness”. A good name because it has improved the living conditions of local people. A stele at the neck commemorates the efforts of these volunteer builders.
The road from Yen Minh to Dong Van is more difficult. Beautiful scene and from time to time we meet the ethnic minority on the road, in their colorful traditional costumes that start, on horseback, on foot or motorbike. Maybe they will work on the ground. The road is very difficult, so many passes and hills so busy should be very careful. Along the way, we visited some small ethnic villages and famous places like: Pao’s house and the fortified palace of Vuong, King H’Mong.
Pao’s house is one of the destinations not to be missed when you arrive at the Dong Van Rock Plateau, Ha Giang Province. The house is a miniature photo of Mong life, a wild life with pure beauty. This is the scene of the movie “The Story of Pao” – focuses on the life of the Mong, a minority ethnic group living in the mountainous region of northern Vietnam. Thanks to the talent of the actors and the familiar but mysterious house, the film was a great success and obtained different prices. Pao’s house is now sheltered by a Mong family. It keeps its charming beauty well in the heart of the grandiose mountains. To reach Pao’s house, we cross a field of poetic flowers. At the end of autumn,
It is about 15 km from Dong Van, which is the fortified palace of Vuong (former King Mèo (H’Mong). The site was declared a remnant of national architectural art by a ministerial decree in 1993. The Vuong Palace is modeled on the Chinese architecture of the Qing Dynasty but with ornamental motifs are specific to the Hmong.
The materials are mainly stone and wood. The roof is covered with tiles “yin-yang”, overlapping harmoniously. All parts, whether stone or wooden, are covered with sculptures of dragons, phoenixes, bats … symbolizing the prosperity and longevity of a family of high rank. Thus, on the main columns, from the floor to the ceiling, one observes sculptures of carapaces of turtles and scales of dragon. Around the foot of the smaller columns, these are bat patterns. The ends of the roof of the house are curved like the wings of a dragon.
The last 15 km of Dong Van is an extraordinary tour through a field of limestone pylons. The road is carved on the mountains, empty on the side of rocky cliffs. Sometimes there are no barriers; I have to drive carefully, especially in the rain. All along this route there are women and girls – from the age of 10 to as old as 80 – carrying heavy loads of wood, hay, and crops on their backs.
We arrived in Dong Van at 6pm. Dong Van is a pretty dusty city and there are now many good places to stay here and eat, and the city has two markets; a big market took place on weekends and a smaller night market takes place every night. We stayed in the Homestay of Mr. Than’s old house (0168 812 0866).
This house is located in the old neighborhood of Dong Van. M Than is very kind and friendly. We rest, bathe and dine. There are many restaurants. But we recommend the Quang Dung restaurant located in the old neighborhood of Dong Van. The dishes are really delicious. That’s why this restaurant is quite crowded. After dinner, you can drink coffee. You should sleep early to prepare for the next day.
Day 3: Dong Van – Lung Cu – Meo Vac
We get up at 6 o’clock. It’s raining and a lot of fog. We have breakfast and go to Lung Cu. On the map of Vietnam, Lung Cu stands out as the peak of the conical hat that carries the territory that stretches on an S. The tower of the flag of Lung Cu is a sacred place for the Vietnamese. It marks the northernmost point of Vietnamese territory. From there, we can see the Sino-Vietnamese border.
The road to Lung Cu is covered with fog. We have to go very slowly. We must turn on the lights and follow the signal from the vehicle ahead. Park the bike at the foot of the tower, 389 stone steps lead us to the top of the flag tower. The flag tower of Lung Cu is located on the Dragon Mountain (Long Sơn), at 1,700m above sea level. At the top of the tower, there is a breathtaking view of the mountains, rice terraces, ethnic villages and two small symmetrical lakes that have never dried up. Lung Cu is a very poor commune.
Several ethnic minorities live at the foot of the Lung Cu summit, called “valley of maize” in Mong language, because corn is the only plant cultivated in this country. The Lolo, another ethnic group of the region have another explanation on the origins of this mythical mountain. For generations, legend has it that a sacred dragon landed on the top of Lung Cu and that leaving the earth, he wanted to leave, as a souvenir to the inhabitants, his eyes.
We went back to Dong Van, had lunch and started going to Meo Vac. The distance between Dong Van and Meo Vac is the best route in this trip. The last stretch of Dong Van to Meo Vac is a 22km walk along the Ma Pi Leng Pass, a breathtaking road hung on the edge of a wall of limestone mountains, towering hundreds of meters above the gorge of the Nho river. According to the local language, Ma Pi Leng means “the nose of the horse”. A stop at this pass will give you a panoramic view of the province. At an altitude of 2.000 m and forming part of the geological park of the Dong Van limestone plateau, recognized in 2010 as a member of the Global Network of Geological Parks, Ma Pi Leng is one of the four highest passes in northern Vietnam, the others being: O Quy Ho between the provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Châu, Khau Pha of the province of Yen Bai and Pha Din between Son La and Dien Bien province.
There is a panoramic platform half way to Meo Vac where you can stop and refresh yourself. In good weather, this short stretch of road can take a few hours because the views are so beautiful. We thought we were in the Swiss regions but we had to say that it was so beautiful and so powerful in Switzerland. As mentioned above, this is part of the road of happiness with the desire to connect the Vietnamese territory. When we go on this path, our feeling is really happy and fun. Not only the landscape, the people here really make us feel very pleasant through their affection. We meet women H’mong variegated with opaline complexion, small children with smiles sweet and sweet as sweets. They greeted passersby and said: Hello or Bye Bye.
We arrived at Meo Vac at 17h. That night, we stayed at Vivi Homestay, not far from Meo Vac. Meo Vac has a lot of good places to stay, but we chose this homestay for calm and fresh air. It is very comfortable and clean. We dine here, a meal with ethnic dishes. Pretty delicious is strange for everyone.
Day 4: Meo Vac – Yen Minh – Ha Giang – Ha Noi
On the last day of our trip, we spent all our time going back to Ha Giang. We have lunch and leave at 6am. The journey is really difficult and must be treated, because it is the path that descends from the mountain, so it is more dangerous than the way up. We arrived in Yen Minh at noon and had lunch here. From Yen Minh to Ha Giang, we chose a new distance, different from that traveled between Ha Giang and Yen Minh. It is 20 km shorter than the old one. At 5 pm, we returned to the city of Ha Giang. We gave the bikes for M Viet. He left us again at Linh hostel to bathe, rest. We had dinner in a restaurant in the city. At 9 pm, we go to the bus station of the city and begin to return to Hanoi by sleepy – bus at 5am the next morning. The trip is over.
How much money do you need to travel to Ha Giang on a motorcycle?
Budget for bus from Hanoi to Ha Giang and from Ha Giang to Ha Noi
- The budget to rent the bike
- The budget for gasoline on the road
- The budget for food
- The budget for tickets to visit tourist sites
- The budget for the place
We calculated and divided the average: With a motorcycle trip to explore Ha Giang for 4 nights and 3 days, you need about 1,500,000- 2,000,000 VND/ person (about 60 – 100 EUR), depending on the needs of each one. What a beautiful and wonderful! Ha Giang deserves an attractive tourist destination for those who like to discover wild and majestic places. FarEastour offers many Ha Giang excursions as well as other places in the Northern mountains or other places in Vietnam.
Currently, FareasTour provides you with travel plans, including the plan and the overall price. You can refer to our available programs or call us and talk about your desired trip. We will help you establish a plan and budget. We will help you satisfy your curiosity to discover this charming and beautiful country on the basis of your requests, your rhythms, your wishes. Do not hesitate, contact us! Our travel and ticketing professionals are always available to serve you 24/7.
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