Quan Ba, Ha Giang
Quan Ba, Ha Giang

Adventure to Ha Giang - Part 1

It was a Friday in late spring, and the air in Hanoi was just fresh and chilly in the morning still. The rain in the earlier night made the trees so green all around. I had finished my coffee and was just ready to leave for the land of my dream: the fabled world of Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province, in the far-north of Vietnam. 

 After almost the whole day drive, Ha Giang welcomed my arrival with a torrential rain which made me feel a bit disappointed. It seemed that the rainy season had started earlier than usual and that would be not ideal to take photos of the Karst Plateau that I had longed for. The rest of the day was just easy time for a leisurely stroll along the riverside and for exploring the city.

Saturday came with a brisk morning and I got myself early breakfast before setting off for the adventure further towards Dong Van. The further from Ha Giang, there were more ethnic people seen walking on the road sides. There was a weekend market in the area and most people made their trip to the market on foot. Many of them lived far from the market and each weekend they would have to make a long journey back and forth...

Ethnic ladies on the road near Quan Ba
Road to Quan Ba from Ha Giang

 

Ethnic ladies on the road near Quan Ba
The mother with her baby on the back gave me a big smile when I was pointing my camera to them

 

Ethnic ladies on the road near Quan Ba
Four ladies walking leisurely out of the market

The closer to Quan Ba, the road got steeper. The air was fresh and the view was just stunning. The mist put a limit on visibility but didn't make the landscape less of a beauty. Looking down below the mountains, things became so tiny: the houses of ethnic communities on the hillside, the barren terraces, the streams,... The blue color of the mist and the colors of the mountains were just so charming!

Scenic road to the Heaven Gate at Quan Ba
Scenic road to the Heaven Gate at Quan Ba

On top of the pass, there was the Heaven Gate which offered a 360-degree view of the superb surrounding nature. It was too hazy that I decided to go down and proceed further to Tam Son Town. It was great to take a shot of the town surrounded by mountains from above.

Breathtaking mountains at Tam Son Town in Quan Ba District
Breathtaking mountains at Tam Son Town in Quan Ba District

After Tam Son Town, the mountains became more and more rocky and the gray color was more dominant. The road travelled by the Nho Que River all the way to Yen Minh. It was so inspirational that I hummed all along the way...

rocky mountains at Quan Ba, Ha Giang
rocky mountains at Quan Ba, Ha Giang

 

Splendid road by the Nho Que River from Quan Ba to Yen Minh
Splendid road by the Nho Que River from Quan Ba to Yen Minh

The road along the Nho Que River was quite flat so I thought I had done with high gradients, but it proved to be wrong. Once entering Yen Minh, the terrain changed abruptly with vertically steep gradients and mountains with very little vegetation. Looking back every now and then, the winding road down below was like a thread meandering from one mountain peak to another. The air was fresh and the soil was so dry; there must have been serious lack of water in the region. Much of Yen Minh terrain was said to comprise rock, this part of the district showed only dirt mountains. I thought to myself that I would explore the other part of Yen Minh on another adventure.

Road at Yen Minh
Road at Yen Minh from above

 

Arid hillsides
Arid hillsides

 

Mountains at Yen Minh
Mountains at Yen Minh

It was nearly 2 P.M when I reached Yen Minh Town surrounded by mountains. Only one restaurant in town was open; for such a small mountain town with few visitors, restaurants are normally not open all day. The hot fried rice with chicken was so good and provided me with much needed energy for the rest of the day. The lady at the restaurant also helped me with boiling water to refill my coffee flask. I was ready and excited to hit the road again at 3:15 PM. The last leg of the trip today was important as I'd be lost in the legendary world of Dong Van Rock Plateau which I had had a big dream to explore for so long a time...

Yen Minh Town from above
Yen Minh Town from above