My name is Quyet. I am one of the English-speaking guides in the QT Team. Below I’ll list my Top 8 Activities To Do Along The Ha Giang Loop, as part of my personal tips to discover Ha Giang. A lot of times, travelers rush in the loop to make sure they tick off every place they want to visit in Vietnam. However, by doing so you might be missing the most interesting spots along the way.
Among my Top 8 activities to do along the Ha Giang Loop, you’ll find amazing things to do and stunning places to visit which riders usually don’t include in their itineraries… and I think it’s a mistake! So I hope my suggestions help you create a more interesting and complete ride, and a more customized, rewarding experience!
1. Herbal Baths
One of the best herbal baths in the area is in the charming Nam Dam village, outside Quan Ba town. After 4-5 days on the loop, I usually have a herbal bath. What is a herbal bath? They provide a wooden tub and prepared hot liquid inside. The liquid includes water and herbal extracts, and you can adjust the temperature by using the taps. Once inside, you can get a beer and enjoy your time! After you finish, you’ll feel like a baby.
2. Weekend Markets in Dong Van and Du Gia
If you want to see what a local market looks like in Northern Vietnam, Dong Van, Meo Vac and Du Gia are the places to visit. Once I took a couple from the Netherlands on a tour through the markets. There, I helped them try many types of local food, and they loved it! Markets are perfect places to see the culture here. At the markets, everyone wears their finest clothing they have, and so these places look like a flower garden with tons of colors, textures and different languages.
In Ha Giang, most weekly markets take place either on Saturday (Du Gia) or Sunday (Dong Van and Meo Vac). Make sure you schedule a visit to at least one of them when visiting Ha Giang!
3. Trekking at White Cliff
Number 3 of my favorite 8 activities to do along the Ha Giang Loop is a must! Ma Pi Leng is known for its impressive views, and every time I get there, I must spend some time on the Sky Walk. But I have a little more time, I also go to White Cliff, which I think is the most beautiful spot of the loop. You have amazing panoramic views over the whole valley, Nho Que river and far away mountain ranges. This is also the highest point of the loop!
The transportation I recommend is… your feet! You can park your motorbike at a parking lot right before the starting point of Sky walk. Further up the Sky walk, before the road gets really narrow, there is another spot to park your bike, in case you brought it there. The distance is around 2 km each way, so it can be tiring and make you thirsty even in the cold weather. Therefore, don’t forget to bring your water and take out a few layers of clothes before you start!
4. A boat ride on Nho Que river
If you’re feeling the call of adventure, you should check on to a boat tour. There are two options: kayak and boat. So you can paddle or sit on the boat, riding through the most lyrical and unique river in Vietnam. On both sides of the river, you’ll see stunning, vertical cliffs. Trust me, the view is amazing, water is clean, and you’ll just want to jump in the water.
5. Enjoy a meal at a homestay in Nam Dam village
I don’t know why, but honestly, spring rolls in Nam Dam village are the tastiest spring rolls I ever had in my life. Just try it. In addition, other food you’ll find here is delicious, with forestry foods including fern, bamboo shoot and some types of roots.
That said, genuine ethnic minority homestays along the loop will all provide plenty and delicious food. Meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan –there is food for you all!
If as a foodie this an important issue for you, don’t miss Where And What To Eat Along The Ha Giang Loop (a foodie’s guide).
6. Visit the rice terraces in Yen Minh
Located in Yen Minh, Lao Va Chai rice terraces are really beautiful and I enjoy spending time there. The terraced rice fields are an especially beautiful piece of land. If you catch it in the right season, you’ll see the hillsides glowing yellow and green just before the harvest.
Driving through this landscape, you’ll also enjoy the pine forest, which will give you a bit of shade by its majestic trees.
In love with rice terraces? Consider Hoang Su Phi: A Rice-Terraced District To Marvel!
7. See Banyan Trees at Thien Huong Village
I love nature, particularly the Brobdingnagian (huge) trees. And if you have the same interest as me, you can visit this lovely village. It’s just 7km away, north from Dong Van town. The road to go there is pretty bad, but you’ll see beautiful landscapes on the way, ancient houses and, of course, huge trees. The first word that comes to my head when I think about this place is peaceful.
Thien Huong village has ancient houses over hundreds of years old, with walls made of clay and gravel, yin yang rooftops and surrounded by stone or soiled walls. Locals made walls very thick, around 0.7m wide, to protect themselves against the cold winter weather. Besides, the gravel made houses more durable. As the result, we can see those unique houses still there after hundreds of years. When visiting the village, you can learn more about the culture of H’mong people and their festivals, if you’re there on the right time.
13 huge trees are located at the entrance of the village, some of them over 700 years old. Every time I’m there, I just feel tiny and thankful they still have those trees for us to see. They’re really sacred; locals worship them and hold their festivals under their shades. Banyan is also India’s national tree. For more info, check Banyan Tree entrance on Wikipedia.
8. Learn to weave at Lung Tam
The last of my Top 8 activities to do along the Ha Giang Loop is an interesting one! On every tour, I recommend my customers to go visit the Hop Tien Cooperative at Lung Tam village, Quan Ba. If you’d like to know about how folks make their clothing, this is the place to go. Vang Thi Mai is the leader, and she’s more than happy to show you how they make clothes, fabrics and other things from hemp plant -it look likes cannabis but it isn’t, don’t try to get high from it!
All 44 steps, from growing to weaving and all the way to the final product, all of the ingredients are natural. And the final product is so beautiful and unique! Their products aren’t only known in Vietnam, but also spread all over the world through exhibitions in the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and so on.
On the other hand, Vang Thi Mai helped a lot people, especially women in her village, to had better life. She helped changing their minds for the better, taught them computing skills and also moved them to help other women as well. She was proud to become one of the 50 Vietnamese Women according to Forbes VietNam magazine.