Dong Van Old Quarter - Ha Giang
Dong Van Old Quarter - Ha Giang

Dong Van Old Quarter - Ha Giang

Dong Van Town is nestled in a valley in the heart of the Rock Plateau of Dong Van in Ha Giang Province. The town has a cluster of houses that line the street that one end leads to the road to Yen Minh Town and the other end takes you to the sublime beauty of Ma Pi Leng Pass and Meo Vac Town. Dong Van Town is surrounded by rock mountains with a sheer color of gray all year round.

a cafe in Dong Van Old Quarter
a cafe in Dong Van Old Quarter

As of this writing, Dong Van is only visited by Vietnamese adventure travellers and Vietnamese photographers who yearn for adventure experiences and exotic landscape. They normally come to town in late Saturday afternoon to catch the next morning ethnic market and would travel back to Hanoi on Sunday. Most of them don't realize that around the market of Dong Van is a quarter lined with houses of one or two hundred years old...That is the Old Quarter of Dong Van.

 a house in Dong Van Old Quarter
a house in Dong Van Old Quarter

Dong Van Town has a long history where ethnic groups of Chinese (the Hoa People), of the H'mong, Tay and Kinh People have lived together for many years. These ethnic groups share some parts of their traditional culture and retain some others. Probably because of this, the town got its name: Dong Van, meaning sharing culture? Surely, there have been certain changes to the life of the local people now compared to before, but it's certain that most of their culture has remained as it's been for hundred years.

a house in Dong Van Old Quarter
a house in Dong Van Old Quarter

The old houses in Dong Van were built around 1810-1820 while most were built in the late 19th century, when the French colonialists took control of the area and established the local administration. The houses of Dong Van have 2 storeys with Ying-and-Yang roof tiles and earth-pounded walls. The wall of these houses may be around 30-60cm thick which allows the temperatures inside to stay relatively stable. The wooden structures of these houses are of iron-wood which allow them to withstand the time; or in other words, time coats a weathered feel to these houses that makes the town fit in the fabled landscape of Dong Van Rock Plateau.

a house in Dong Van Old Quarter
a house in Dong Van Old Quarter

If you have a chance to take an adventure traveling through the Rock Plateau of Dong Van, allow at least one whole day of the weekdays wandering around the Old Quarter and get a chance to sip coffee in the old-house converted cafe near the market, you'd enjoy more of the ancient atmosphere of Dong Van. If you plan a trip to Dong Van with Paradissa, make sure you keep us informed that you would like extra time for the Old Quarter of Dong Van.

The old shop in Dong Van Market
The old shop in Dong Van Market