QT – YOUR GATEAWAY TO HA GIANG & CAO BANG

6 Reasons To Go Slowly When Discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang

Are you planning your trip to North Vietnam, and there’s just too much to do? You might be tempted to hurry and tick off everything as fast as you can. But before you do, let me share with you my 6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang.

Classic travelers’ mistake? Hoping to do and see it all! Before going to a new destination, we dive into travel magazines, travel blogs, tour guidebooks and listen to friends who have been there. Yes, sources and inspirations are immense. Pictures, stories and the number of places you “must” discover are tempting your imagination. No doubt you’ll easily conclude you want it all!

Sure, if money and time were not limiting factors all would be well and good. But for most, that’s not the case. The result for too many is creating a crammed itinerary where ticking off places seems to prevail over experiencing them.

6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang - landscapes
North Vietnam: how to say “no” to landscapes like this?

Vietnam is a country that may look small on your map. But opening the guidebook and seeing the pictures, it seems to offer so much to do… And yes, it does! Vietnam truly has an amazing amount and variety of things to do and unearth. Therefore, as the exploring traveler you are, you quickly start adding places to the limited days you have available. However, you might be forgetting the time it takes to get from one place to the other. Result? Well, you can spend one-third of your holiday waiting for usually delayed budget flights and spending sleepless nights in crammed buses or trains.

Now, Ha Giang and Cao Bang may look even smaller on your map. What is more, you might easily ignore that this is a mountainous region with mountain roads. And these are often narrow, twisting and on some stretches in disrepair or under road construction. Even the most experienced motorbike rider may not average more than 40 km/h. In other words, traveling the Ha Giang Loop and/or the Cao Bang Loop naturally takes more time than you may first have imagined.

I’ve had the joy of travelling these roads many more times than most. And I’ve talked about and shared the experience with many travelers. That’s why I’d like to share with you my 6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang

1. The Beauty

We have all heard about and experienced surround sound. However, have you ever experienced surround beauty? If not, then the motorbike loops you can do in Ha Giang and Cao Bang offer just that. It’s all around you. You travel through a landscape that you think is one of the most amazing you ever seen. Then the road makes a sharp bend, twist you over another rise and… a completely new view and landscape surrounds you! And it’s even more stunning than the one before! And so it goes on, and on, and on.

6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang -beauty
360° beauty… where else can you find it?

Cameras, drones and GoPros might be magical devices to capture your holiday. However, there’s no way they can really depict the magic beauty that surrounds you here. That said, having enough storage on your devices is a must. You’ll make so many stops to try to picture it! Just remember that the biggest storage bank is your brain, your eyes and, in this case, probably also your heart.

The number of travelers that have fallen head over heels in love with Ha Giang and Cao Bang are countless. If you don’t believe me, just see the reviews of QT on TripAdvisor or Google. The ever-climbing rice terraces, the deep valleys, the high karst peaks, the stunning waterfalls, the pine forests, the barren stone hills, the limestone caves, the emerald blue rivers, the lush corn fields are all picture-frames of a unique landscape that should be experienced and not just passed through.

2. The People

Ha Giang has 23 recognized ethnic minority groups, and Cao Band has at least 12. This makes these two provinces some of the most diverse in Vietnam. What is more, as both provinces often have been overlooked by visitors to Vietnam, their unique culture and traditions have been well preserved. 

6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang - people
In Ha Giang and Cao Bang, you’ll meet amazing people form 23 different ethnic minority groups.

Each ethnic group will have its own language, lifestyle and cultural heritage. Particularly women wear traditional attire both at home and in the farm. The clothing is distinct and different for each group. As a temporary visitor, it may be hard to distinguish one from the other. Nonetheless, it certainly enhances the color of the social landscape.

But don’t treat and see the people as photo objects or interesting items in the landscape. Take the time to interact. And don’t give handouts of money or candy for anything. Language barriers aside, smiles and body language go a long way. In genuine homestays and over fantastic home-cooked dinners, interactions become likely. Still, stopping to join a table with locals for tea or chatting with children on their way back from school may be as rewarding.

When entering the colorful markets or local shop you are likely to get the same price as the local person. Cheating or having special tourist prices is very uncommon. So, please leave your recently acquired bargaining skills from elsewhere in Asia aside. This innocence or honesty will only remain if travelers offer mutual respect!

The hard ship of tending and farming in these landscapes keeps people among the poorest in Vietnam. It’s tough work and a hard life. If you have the courage, please ask to join for an hour of rice planting or harvest and you’ll know what I mean. There might be some giggle about your skills, but you’d be welcomed to try.

6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang - people
Consider joining locals in their daily tasks for a couple of hours… it’ll be tiring but super rewarding!

3. Your Motorbike Skills

Let me be honest. To me, there’s only one way to discover Ha Giang and Cao Bang. It’s on a motorbike. More honesty? Not all that attempt it are skilled enough. Your scooter experience in Cat Ba Island, Hoi An or in the Greek archipelago has not necessarily prepared you for these mountains.

If right now you’re wondering “Am I skilled enough to ride the Ha Giang loop?“, this is the article for you.

If you’re not super skilled, you can save up some money and go safely behind one of QT guides. But if you still want to attempt to do it by yourself, well, just give yourself the time. Don’t try to do it in the minimum of days. Acknowledge your skill level and don’t attempt too long daily legs of your loop. While you may think you’re a master of mountain roads on your third day, you’re not! Maintain that slow speed, both for safety and enjoyment of the surround beauty. If travelling in a group, then adapt the speed to the least skilled and not vice versa.

6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang - skills
Roads have light traffic but are quite challenging… consider your motorbike skills when choosing how fast to ride!

4. The Weather

I have had the opportunity to travel through the grandiose Ma Pi Leng mountain pass in both picture-perfect clear sunny weather and through thick fog. Both are thrilling and a life-time experience. Like elsewhere, mountains have their own micro-climate. And it means weather changes quickly and unpredictably. The ‘promised’ weather on your favorite weather site may have told you sun. The mountains may still offer you rain or the other way around.

You had no idea about this unpredictable weather? Learn about what’s the weather like in Ha Giang in this article.

“Bad” weather does not prevent a motorbike adventure. With adopted speed, it might not even make it more dangerous. It might just not be as pleasant. In mountains, the statistically most likely time for fog or rain is mornings and late afternoons. Again, budget for extra days. If the weather is perfect, you will never regret it. And if it isn’t as good, you can adjust your trip and not necessarily be forced to drive through the heaviest rainstorm.

5. The Things To Do

This blog is not about things to do. I just wish to point out there is plenty. As travelers just recently caught their eyes on Ha Giang and Cao Bang, even the most famous spots are not as touristic as elsewhere. Only a few years ago, resources like Lonely Planet hardly mentioned these areas. That is quickly changing. However, these two provinces cover a vast area. There are many beautiful spots that are still ‘undiscovered’. They can be your gem to come across.

You don’t have to climb the Lung Cu flag tower to get a good view. Climb your own mountain or slope for a purely individual best view in the world. Organized trekking is not much developed in this region, but it doesn’t prevent you from parking your bike and head out on any random mountain path and see where it leads. 

6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang - activities
There are just so many things to see and do in Ha Giang and Cao Bang…

Sleeping in a genuine homestay is also great. But if you arrive late and leave early in the morning, you’ll see and share very little in the home and the village. Spending the following full day by just relaxing, walking the village or even partake in some daily task with your host family can give you a completely different experience.

The point is, besides the sites mentioned in guidebooks and blogs, this region offers unique and individual experiences if you give yourself the time and courage to do so.

6. The Hazards

Roads are by good reasons hazardous places. Vietnam’s mountain roads may present a few more than you bargained for. While staying on the main roads, you can expect them to be tarmacked. However, you’ll encounter other roads, with much less traffic, that were never built for the number of vehicles that now travels them. So, expect potholes of different sizes. 

What’s more? The small gravel. Constant repair work along the way and rain that comes down the mountains side both leave small pebbled stones on the sides. This gravel probably takes down most riders of all hazards. Be careful in corners. Reduce speed and avoid any heavy use of breaks on this surface.

6 reasons to go slowly when discovering Ha Giang & Cao Bang - hazards
You’ll hardly avoid all hazards in these roads!

And there’s also animals! Domestic animals, such as dogs, often use the road as a great warm sleeping place. Mountain chickens are delicious (although the meat is a bit tough) when served for dinner, but an annoyance on the road. They tend to decide to cross it at their own convenience. At any time. Small black mountain pigs are not much unlike chicken. Then, we have water buffaloes. They might look scary, but they’re pretty harmless. Unless you run into it, or rather it’s running over you! I am still to hear someone admitting going down by sliding into their mighty heaps of shit as well. That’s maybe so that even I’d rather blame the small gravel than such incident!

Stay safe, respect your environment and its people and you’ll have a great time!

If you’re still uncertain about how long to stay in Ha Giang, you can read our article Is The 3 Day Ha Giang Loop Tour Long Enough? Hopefully, we’ll have another one for Cao Bang soon! 

DON’T FORGET TO SHARE THIS POST!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

OUR WRITER

Jörgen Holmström
Jörgen Holmström
Consultant
Sweden

Long time friend of QT and his family, Jorgen is since many years a frequent flyer on Vietnam. Has spent most of his life in the humanitarian non-governmental sector, mainly in Kenya and Afghanistan.

related posts

All articles loaded
No more articles to load

CONTACT US

… unless you’re ready to hire a tour, rent a bike or book accommodation with us.
Bear in mind we might have some answers to your questions in our FAQ!

MONTHLY BUDGET NORTHERN HA GIANG LOOP

3 days/2 nights

Price & Inclusion

At QT Motorbikes and Tours the tour prices differs due to several factors; the model you choose to drive, the number of riders, if you self-drive or decide to ride behind guide/driver. To give the most correct price please click ‘Book Now’ and we’ll get back with correct price.

Price includes (All-inclusive tour)
  • English Speaking Tour guide
  • Breakfast and dinner, only (local Vietnamese food)
  • Accommodation (ethnic minority homestay in common room sleeping layout)
  • Quality genuine Japanese Motorcycles
  • Full cover bike damage insurance
  • All fuel cost
  • Full or half-helmet, protective knee and elbow gear, basic rain clothes
  • Bungee cords & plastic cover for your bags
  • Free storage of excess luggage
  • Free dorm bed, when arriving on a night bus, at QT Guest House (03.00-08.00)
Price excludes
  • Gratuities & tips
  • Lunch and all drinks
  • Entrance tickets
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel insurance

Monthly Budget Northern Ha Giang Loop

3 days/2 nights

Itinerary

The tour is done anti-clockwise to ensure visit of the Sunday weekly market in Dong Van.
Day 1: Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Du Gia, approx. 120 km drive

After some breakfast, we go out on ‘Road of Happiness’ and start driving north out of Ha Giang City. We climb up the Quan Ba mountain pass and enter the Dong Van Geopark and reach the Heaven’s Gate and pass the Fairy Hills. In or around the small town of Tam Son we find our lunch. Thereafter we venture deep into Ha Giang mountains and reach the picturesque village of Du Gia. Here we will stay with an ethnic minority family at their homestay. We will have dinner and breakfast with the family. (Day includes Breakfast & Dinner)

Day 2: Du Gia – Meo Vac – (Ma Pi Leng) – Dong Van – Lung Cu – Dong Van, approx. 110 to 150 km drive

We say thanks to the family of the homestay and head north, passing some of the most magnificent mountain passes you will ever have seen, pass the town of Meo Vac (where we take lunch) and move up the majestic Ma Pi Leng mountain pass before reaching Dong Van, the most northern town in Vietnam. Depending on season (days are very short in December – February) and weather we may continue up to Lung Cu, the most northern point of Vietnam. The Lung Cu Flag Tower can be climbed for stunning views. Back to Dong Van where we take into a ethnic minority homestay as agreed for the tour. We will have dinner and breakfast with the family. (Day includes Breakfast & Dinner)

Day 3: Dong Van – Sa Phin – Yen Minh – Tam Son – Ha Giang City, approx. 150 km drive

As we are waking up on a Sunday in Dong Van the weekly big local market meets you directly after breakfast. More ethnic minority groups than you can count have travelled on Saturday or extremely early on Sunday to reach here. Really colourful and people from near and far to do their weekly shopping and gossiping. Thereafter, we start our journey south. Soon we reach Sa Phin where we find the one-hundred-year-old palace of Vuong Chinh Duc – the King of H’mong people. We go down the Highland of Stone and reach Yen Minh where we take lunch and then climb a mountain pass covered in pine forest and sweeping rice terraces along our drive. Down to the Song La river valley until the road takes us up to Tam Son, over the Quan Ba mountain pass and back to Ha Giang. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch)

Disclaimer: While above itinerary outline the broad and most likely inclusions. At QT we are no firm believers in absolute programs. There are many reasons why things might have to be modified to situations and facts that may be both within the control and beyond when we embark on a tour.

The Combo – Hoang Su Phi & Northern Ha Giang Loop

5 days/4 nights

Price & Inclusion

At QT Motorbikes and Tours the tour prices differs due to several factors; the model you choose to drive, the number of riders, if you self-drive or decide to ride behind guide/driver. To give the most correct price please click ‘Book Now’ and we’ll get back with correct price.

Our aim is to give you a quality tour and memory for life. To do so our tours might not be the cheapest you find in Ha Giang, but as the saying goes ‘you pay for what you get’

Price includes (All-inclusive tour)
  • English Speaking Tour guide
  • All meals, as indicated in the itinerary (local Vietnamese food)
  • Drinking water, water or soft drinks during lunch, coffee and a smoothie where they can be found
  • Accommodation (mix of ethnic minority homestay and hotel (shared by two – single room for extra fee possible)
  • Quality genuine Japanese Motorcycles
  • Full cover bike damage insurance
  • All fuel cost
  • All entrance tickets & permits
  • Full or half-helmet, protective knee and elbow gear, basic rain clothes
  • Bungee cords & plastic cover for your bags
  • Free storage of excess luggage
  • Free dorm bed, when arriving on a night bus, at QT Guest House (03.00-08.00)
Price excludes
  • Gratuities & tips
  • Alcoholic beverages if not served on behalf of third party like homestay
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel insurance

The Big Loop – Ba Be Lake, Cao Bang & Northern Ha Giang Loop

6 days/5 nights

Price & Inclusion

At QT Motorbikes and Tours the tour prices differs due to several factors; the model you choose to drive, the number of riders, if you self-drive or decide to ride behind guide/driver. To give the most correct price please click ‘Book Now’ and we’ll get back with correct price.

Our aim is to give you a quality tour and memory for life. To do so our tours might not be the cheapest you find in Ha Giang, but as the saying goes ‘you pay for what you get’

Price includes (All-inclusive tour)
  • English Speaking Tour guide
  • All meals, as indicated in the itinerary (local Vietnamese food)
  • Drinking water, water or soft drinks during lunch, coffee and a smoothie where they can be found
  • Accommodation (mix of ethnic minority homestay and hotel (shared by two – single room for extra fee possible)
  • Quality genuine Japanese Motorcycles
  • Full cover bike damage insurance
  • All fuel cost
  • All entrance tickets & permits
  • Full or half-helmet, protective knee and elbow gear, basic rain clothes
  • Bungee cords & plastic cover for your bags
  • Free storage of excess luggage
  • Free dorm bed, when arriving on a night bus, at QT Guest House (03.00-08.00)
Price excludes
  • Gratuities & tips
  • Alcoholic beverages if not served on behalf of third party like homestay
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel insurance

The Hurry, Hurry Northern Ha Giang Loop

3 days/2 nights

Price & Inclusion

At QT Motorbikes and Tours the tour prices differs due to several factors; the model you choose to drive, the number of riders, if you self-drive or decide to ride behind guide/driver. To give the most correct price please click ‘Book Now’ and we’ll get back with correct price.

Our aim is to give you a quality tour and memory for life. To do so our tours might not be the cheapest you find in Ha Giang, but as the saying goes ‘you pay for what you get’

Price includes (All-inclusive tour)
  • English Speaking Tour guide
  • All meals, as indicated in the itinerary (local Vietnamese food)
  • Drinking water, water or soft drinks during lunch, coffee and a smoothie where they can be found
  • Accommodation (mix of ethnic minority homestay and hotel (shared by two – single room for extra fee possible)
  • Quality genuine Japanese Motorcycles
  • Full cover bike damage insurance
  • All fuel cost
  • All entrance tickets & permits
  • Full or half-helmet, protective knee and elbow gear, basic rain clothes
  • Bungee cords & plastic cover for your bags
  • Free storage of excess luggage
  • Free dorm bed, when arriving on a night bus, at QT Guest House (03.00-08.00)
Price excludes
  • Gratuities & tips
  • Alcoholic beverages if not served on behalf of third party like homestay
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel insurance

The Standard Northern Ha Giang Loop

4 days/3 nights

Price & Inclusion

At QT Motorbikes and Tours the tour prices differs due to several factors; the model you choose to drive, the number of riders, if you self-drive or decide to ride behind guide/driver. To give the most correct price please click ‘Book Now’ and we’ll get back with correct price.

Our aim is to give you a quality tour and memory for life. To do so our tours might not be the cheapest you find in Ha Giang, but as the saying goes ‘you pay for what you get’

Price includes (All-inclusive tour)
  • English Speaking Tour guide
  • All meals, as indicated in the itinerary (local Vietnamese food)
  • Drinking water, water or soft drinks during lunch, coffee and a smoothie where they can be found
  • Accommodation (mix of ethnic minority homestay and hotel (shar by two – single room for extra fee possible)
  • Quality genuine Japanese Motorcycles
  • Full cover bike damage insurance
  • All fuel cost
  • All entrance tickets & permits
  • Full or half-helmet, protective knee and elbow gear, basic rain clothes
  • Bungee cords & plastic cover for your bags
  • Free storage of excess luggage
  • Free dorm bed, when arriving on a night bus, at QT Guest House (03.00-08.00)
Price excludes
  • Gratuities & tips
  • Alcoholic beverages if not served on behalf of third party like homestay
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel insurance

The Combo – Hoang Su Phi & Northern Ha Giang Loop

5 days/4 nights

Itinerary

The tour may start with either Hoang Su Phi (2D) or the Northern Ha Giang Loop (3D) [possibility to extend the northern loop with more days]
Day 1: Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Du Gia, approx. 120 km drive
After some breakfast, we go out on ‘Road of Happiness’ and start driving north out of Ha Giang City. We climb up the Quan Ba mountain pass and enter the Dong Van Geopark and reach the Heaven’s Gate and pass the Fairy Hills. In or around the small town of Tam Son we find our lunch. Thereafter we venture deep into Ha Giang mountains and reach the picturesque village of Du Gia. Here we will stay with an ethnic minority family at their homestay. We will have dinner and breakfast with the family. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 2: Du Gia – Meo Vac – (Ma Pi Leng) – Dong Van – Lung Cu – Dong Van, approx. 110 to 150 km drive

We say thanks to the family of the homestay and head north, passing some of the most magnificent mountain passes you will ever have seen, pass the town of Meo Vac (where we take lunch) and move up the majestic Ma Pi Leng mountain pass before reaching Dong Van, the most northern town in Vietnam. Depending on season (days are very short in December – February) and weather we may continue up to Lung Cu, the most northern point of Vietnam. The Lung Cu Flag Tower can be climbed for stunning views. Back to Dong Van where we take into a hotel or homestay as agreed for the tour. Maybe a Hot Pot for dinner?! (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3: Dong Van – Sa Phin – Yen Minh – Tam Son – Ha Giang City, approx. 150 km drive

If we are waking up on a Sunday in Dong Van the weekly big local market meets you before or after a breakfast. More ethnic minority groups than you can count have travelled on Saturday or extremely early on Sunday to reach here. Really colourful and people from near and far to do their weekly shopping and gossiping. Thereafter, we start our journey south. Soon we reach Sa Phin where we find the one-hundred-year-old palace of Vuong Chinh Duc – the King of H’mong people. We go down the Highland of Stone and reach Yen Minh where we take lunch and then climb a mountain pass covered in pine forest and sweeping rice terraces along our drive. Down to the Song La river valley until the road takes us up to Tam Son, over the Quan Ba mountain pass and back to Ha Giang where we stay the night in hotel. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4: Ha Giang – Tan Quang – Ban Phung, approx. 140 km drive

After breakfast we go 50 km down on highway QL2 to Tan Quang where we turn right onto road DT 177 and in and up a road that envelop us in the astonishing terraced landscape of Hoang Su Phi district. We explore some of the less travelled side roads and take in the landscape, the labour behind it and the daily life of the many ethnic minorities that populate the area. The night we spend close to the Chinese boarder in the picturesque village of Ban Phung at an ethnic minority homestay (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5: Ban Phung – Tan Quang – Ha Giang, approx. 140 km drive

Breakfast in the homestay after which we take time to walk the village and observe the daily life and great photo opportunities of landscape and people. In an easy pace we drive the valleys back down taking in the natural beauty. We arrive back to Ha Giang City around 4 pm where the tour ends. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch)

Disclaimer: While above itinerary outline the broad and most likely inclusions. At QT we are no firm believers in absolute programs. There are many reasons why things might have to be modified to situations and facts that may be both within the control and beyond when we embark on a tour.

The Big Loop – Ba Be Lake, Cao Bang & Northern Ha Giang Loop

6 days/5 nights

Itinerary

The tour may be done clockwise or anti-clockwise around the loop and will depend on driving skills, seasons and market-days.
Day 1: Ha Giang – Bac Quang – Na Hang – Ba Be Lake, approx. 245 km drive

After some breakfast, we on a ‘marathon loop’, but even if there are many kms to cover it is for a large part on easy roads where we make up distance at quite a speed. We go south out on highway QL 2 till we reach Viet Quang where we turn into road TL 279 and we will reach the small town of Na Hang where we stop for lunch. After lunch we ‘finally’ meet beautiful mountains roads taking us over a spectacular mountain pass before reaching the town of Cho Ra in late afternoon where we branch of and go down Ba Be Lake. Here we check into a nice Homestay by the lake and which will provide us a wonderful dinner, bed and breakfast. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 2: Ba Be Lake
We will spend the full day on and around the lake. After breakfast we will enjoy a boat ride and explore the lake and its surroundings. The lakes have a lot to offer, including waterfalls, rivers, valleys and caves all set amidst picturesque landscapes. Lunch and dinner at the Homestay. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3: Ha Giang – Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfalls, approx. 205 km
After breakfast we travel north up and down the ‘snake pass’ and stop for our lunch in Cao Bang City. We continue towards the Chinese boarder where at the end of the day meet the breath-taking Ban Gioc Waterfall which spans over 300 meters, split half and half between Vietnam and China. We spend the night in a Nung ethnic homestay and enjoy some traditional home-cooked dinner. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4: Ban Gioc – Cao Bang – Bao Lac, approx. 210 km
After breakfast we start the morning to discover the Nguom Ngao Cave, an impressive natural wonder with a cave that stretches for 2,144 meters underground and is brimming with incredible stalactites and stalagmites. Then it is time for a ride through beautiful landscape and nice roads until we reach the small town of Ba Lac where we take into a hotel for the night. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5: Ban Lac – Meo Vac – Ma Pi Leng mountain pass – Dong Van – Lung Cu – Dong Van, approx. 145 km
From Bao Lac town we continue north and connect to QL 4C or ‘Road of Happiness’ and start driving north towards Meo Vac where we take lunch. After that we will climb up the majestic Ma Pi Leng mountain pass. 22 km of stunning beauty and a road that just hangs off the mountainside. We will reach the most norther town of Vietnam, Dong Van, but we continue on to reach the North pole. Anyway, that is what the most northern point of Vietnam is jokingly called – Lung Cu and its famous flagpole tower which we climb and view China from the top. We return towards Dong Van where we stay in a hotel or homestay as what has been agreed. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6: Dong Van – Sa Phin – Yen Minh – Tam Son – Ha Giang City, approx. 150 km drive

If we are waking up on a Sunday in Dong Van the weekly big local market meets you before or after a breakfast. More ethnic minority groups than you can count have travelled on Saturday or extremely early on Sunday to reach here. Really colourful and people from near and far to do their weekly shopping and gossiping. Thereafter, we start our journey south. Soon we reach Sa Phin where we find the one-hundred-year-old palace of Vuong Chinh Duc – the King of H’mong people. We go down the Highland of Stone and reach Yen Minh where we take lunch and then climb a mountain pass covered in pine forest and sweeping rice terraces along our drive. Down to the Song La river valley until the road takes us up to Tam Son, over the Quan Ba mountain pass and back to Ha Giang. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch)

Disclaimer: While above itinerary outline the broad and most likely inclusions. At QT we are no firm believers in absolute programs. There are many reasons why things might have to be modified to situations and facts that may be both within the control and beyond when we embark on a tour.

The Hurry, Hurry Northern Ha Giang Loop

3 days/2 nights

Itinerary

The tour may be done clockwise or anti-clockwise around the loop and will depend on driving skills, seasons and market-days. For the tour to include Dong Van or Meo Vac weekly Sunday market it needs to start on a Friday morning.
Day 1: Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Du Gia, approx. 120 km drive

After some breakfast, we go out on ‘Road of Happiness’ and start driving north out of Ha Giang City. We climb up the Quan Ba mountain pass and enter the Dong Van Geopark and reach the Heaven’s Gate and pass the Fairy Hills. In or around the small town of Tam Son we find our lunch. Thereafter we venture deep into Ha Giang mountains and reach the picturesque village of Du Gia. Here we will stay with an ethnic minority family at their homestay. We will have dinner and breakfast with the family. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 2: Du Gia – Meo Vac – (Ma Pi Leng) – Dong Van, approx. 110 km drive
We say thanks to the family of the homestay and head north, passing some of the most magnificent mountain passes you will ever have seen, pass the town of Meo Vac (where we take lunch) and move up the majestic Ma Pi Leng mountain pass before reaching Dong Van, the most northern town in Vietnam. Depending on season (days are very short in December – February) and weather we may continue up to Lung Cu, the most northern point of Vietnam. The Lung Cu Flag Tower can be climbed for stunning views. Back to Dong Van where we take into a hotel or homestay as agreed for the tour. Maybe a Hot Pot for dinner?! (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3: Dong Van – Lung Cu - Sa Phin – Yen Minh – Nam Dam, approx. 120 km drive

If we are waking up on a Sunday in Dong Van the weekly big local market meets you before or after a breakfast. More ethnic minority groups than you can count have travelled on Saturday or extremely early on Sunday to reach here. Really colourful and people from near and far to do their weekly shopping and gossiping. Thereafter, we start our journey south. Soon we reach Sa Phin where we find the one-hundred-year-old palace of Vuong Chinh Duc – the King of H’mong people. We go down the Highland of Stone and reach Yen Minh where we take lunch and then climb a mountain pass covered in pine forest and sweeping rice terraces along our drive. Down to the Song La river valley until the road takes us up to Tam Son, over the Quan Ba mountain pass and back to Ha Giang. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch)

Disclaimer: While above itinerary outline the broad and most likely inclusions. At QT we are no firm believers in absolute programs. There are many reasons why things might have to be modified to situations and facts that may be both within the control and beyond when we embark on a tour.

The Standard Northern Ha Giang Loop

4 days/3 nights

Itinerary

Day 1: Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Du Gia, approx. 120 km drive

After some breakfast, we go out on ‘Road of Happiness’ and start driving north out of Ha Giang City. We climb up the Quan Ba mountain pass and enter the Dong Van Geopark and reach the Heaven’s Gate and pass the Fairy Hills. In or around the small town of Tam Son we find our lunch. Thereafter we venture deep into Ha Giang mountains and reach the picturesque village of Du Gia. Here we will stay with an ethnic minority family at their homestay. We will have dinner and breakfast with the family. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 2: Du Gia – Meo Vac – (Ma Pi Leng) – Dong Van, approx. 110 km drive

We say thanks to the family of the homestay and head north, passing some of the most magnificent mountain passes you will ever have seen, pass the town of Meo Vac (where we take lunch) and move slowly up the majestic Ma Pi Leng mountain pass before reaching Dong Van, the most northern town in Vietnam. If one is up to it we can climb up to the ruins of the French fort and get a stunning view of the towns and its surroundings. Exploring the Old Quarter of Dong Van might be what others may enjoy after a long day on the bike. Stay in hotel or homestay as agreed for the tour. Maybe a Hot Pot for dinner?! (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3: Dong Van – Lung Cu - Sa Phin – Yen Minh – Nam Dam, approx. 120 km drive

If we are waking up on a Sunday in Dong Van the weekly big local market meets you before or after a breakfast. More ethnic minority groups than you can count have travelled on Saturday or extremely early on Sunday to reach here. Really colourful and people from near and far to do their weekly shopping and gossiping. Thereafter, we go to the North pole. Anyway, that is what the most northern point of Vietnam is jokingly called – Lung Cu. We can climb the Lung Cu Flagpole and view China from the top, then we turn south and when we reach Sa Phin we visit the one-hundred-year-old palace of Vuong Chinh Duc – the King of H’mong people. We go down the Highland of Stone and reach Yen Minh where we take lunch and then climb a mountain pass covered in pine forest and sweeping rice terraces along our drive. Down to the Song La river valley until the road takes us towards the village of Nam Dam where we check in with a lovely Dao ethnic minority family in their home and enjoy dinner and breakfast with them. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4: Nam Dam – Lung Khuy – Tam Son – Ha Giang City, approx. 70 km drive

We enjoy village life after breakfast, walk around the village and might go up to the local waterfall. Then we go and explore the Lung Khuy cave. We take lunch in Tam Son after which we will explore a stunningly beautiful side-loop that connect us back to Road of Happiness and back to Ha Giang City where the tour ends. (Day includes Breakfast, Lunch)

Disclaimer: While above itinerary outline the broad and most likely inclusions. At QT we are no firm believers in absolute programs. There are many reasons why things might have to be modified to situations and facts that may be both within the control and beyond when we embark on a tour.