Dong Van Karst Plateau, Ha Giang

Travel Photography in Dong Van Karst Plateau

Dong Van Karst Plateau with sheer rock surface and numerous high mountain peaks is certainly an ideal place for travelers who visit Vietnam on a photography tour.

For a photography traveler, the question is what can I expect from a trip to Ha Giang and Dong Van Rock Plateau then? The answer is you'll be surrounded by rock of black and gray colors; you'll look up and find numerous rocky mountain peaks around; you'll look down and find deep ravines with river looking like a thread through layers of mist; you'll look down and find that the very ground you are standing on is made of rock... Ha Giang, especially Dong Van Karst Plateau, is my favorite destination be it on a photography tour with Paradissa's travelers or merely on a personal weekend holiday.

Lung Ho Valley in Dong Van Karst Plateau
Lung Ho Valley in Dong Van Karst Plateau

Another question you may ask is what gears to bring for photography in Dong Van? The answer is it depends on what you have and what you want to capture. If your gears are limited, then bring them all. If you have a lot of gears, then it's better to travel light. A wide lens (16-35mm, 17-40mm, 18-55mm, 24-70mm...) is great for the sublime natural landscape which is kind of unreal and fable-like; while a telephoto zoom lens (70-200mm or 100-300mm) is necessary to take spectacular photos of people working in the terraces. A fixed lens of 50mm may be especially handy and useful for photography at the markets. While I don't need a flash on my trips to Dong Van, you may want to have one for photography inside locals' houses. A tripod may be useful if you want to take night photos which I don't need normally.

sublime mountain peaks at Sung Trai, Dong Van
sublime mountain peaks at Sung Trai, Dong Van

 As to the means of transport to and around Dong Van, Paradissa arrange it all for you if you are on one of our photo tours. If you do it yourself, then depending on your favorite, the trip can be done by hired car, or motorbike, or mountain bike. In my personal opinion, travel by motorbike is the best way to experience the Karst Plateau: convenient for small trails, get right to the villages, feel the air and the winds and be part of the greatness of nature. But keep in mind that the roads in Dong Van are not for everyone to ride a motorbike or a mountain bike on; they are so dangerous that any mishaps could be just fatal.

The scenic road at Sung Trai
The scenic road at Sung Trai

 Then it comes to what is the best time to take photography trips to Dong Van? The answer is all year round. Each time of the year, the Rock Plateau of Dong Van looks different. It is relatively misty, cold and dry from November through April during which the rock looks black or gray; it's clear sky and green vegetation from May through October during which time rains may come and travel to villages may be difficult. It doesn't rain that much in the rock plateau compared to other areas in Vietnam though.

 A panoramic view of the high pass at Sung Trai
A panoramic view of the high pass at Sung Trai

 As to the itinerary and spots for photography, then Paradissa do it all for you on our photography trips. Our photography guides will take you to popular spots as well as those that not normally visited by tourists. If you do it yourself, then to tell the truth that the whole area is beautiful and you can venture anywhere to take magnificent photos. Still, it'd be good if you visit some of my favorite destinations as listed below.

 A mysterious scene at Lung Phin, Dong Van
A mysterious scene at Lung Phin, Dong Van

 The valley of Lung Ho in Yen Minh District. Small it may be but there are a lot of mountain peaks all around it making it almost separated from the outside world. There are vantage points that could produce spectacular photos.

 A fabled world of mountain peaks at Lung Phin
A fabled world of mountain peaks at Lung Phin

 Sung Trai and Lung Phin: both have high mountain peaks on high elevations. The peaks are covered in fog most of the time. There are tiny and treacherous trails to villages from the township. The weekend markets here are just wonderful places to shoot photos.

 Mountain peaks at Ho Quang Phin, Dong Van
Mountain peaks at Ho Quang Phin, Dong Van

 Ho Quang Phin, Sinh Lung and Thai Phin Tung with scenic small roads transport you through the rock world with awe-inspiring beauty from one corner to another.

A Hmong mother and child at Ho Quang Phin
A Hmong mother and child at Ho Quang Phin

 

 

A breathtaking view at Thai Phin Tung
A breathtaking view at Thai Phin Tung

 The weekend markets of Dong Van and Ma Le are great places to for photography of local ethnic people.

You may also like to visit Paradissa's other blogs for more information on photography spots in Dong Van and in Ha Giang at http://www.paradissa.com/travel-blog/vietnam/adventure-to-ha-giang-part-1

dong van market
A Tay lady at Dong Van Market

 

 

A Hmong girl at Dong Van Market
A Hmong girl at Dong Van Market

 

 

An old man at Ma Le Market in Dong Van
An old man at Ma Le Market in Dong Van