Dong Van Karst Plateau
Dong Van Karst Plateau

Ha Giang

Ha Giang, the northernmost land of Vietnam, is characterized by fabled limestone mountains with karst formations and colorful ethnic minorities with untouched lifestyle and culture. Ha Giang is much shrouded in legend and is not touched by mass tourism.

Geography
Ha Giang is bordered to the north by China, to the east by Cao Bang Province, to the south by Tuyen Quang, to the south-west by Yen Bai, and to the west by Lao Cai. Ha Giang has a temperate climate and it's almost cool all year round in Dong Van Rocky Plateau.

Ha Giang Vietnam
The gate to Ha Giang Province

The terrain of Ha Giang is mostly mountainous with high concentration of mountain peaks more than 1,000m above sea level which includes:
- The Rock Plateau of Dong Van (or Karst Plateau of Dong Van) is located to the north of Ha Giang with karstic topography of which 90% is limestone. Dong Van is listed to the Global Geoparks Network.
- The mountainous terrain to the west with elevations from 1,000-2,000m above sea level is dissected by mountains and ravines, and with steep gradients.
- The terrain with low hills and flat valleys located to the south of the province accounts for a minor part of Ha Giang’s topography.

A road market near Ha Giang Town
A road market near Ha Giang Town

From the west to the east, The rivers in Ha Giang include:
- The Chay River starts its course in Tay Con Linh and Kieu Lieu Thi Mountain flowing from Ha Giang into Lao Cai, along the Chinese border, traveling southwards to Yen Bai and meets the Lo River at Doan Hung (Phu Tho Province).

The Chay River at Xin Man, Ha Giang
The Chay River at Xin Man, Ha Giang

- The Bac River is a minor river starting its course in Hoang Su Phi meeting with streams on its course to create the Con River at Quang Binh then discharging its water into the Lo River.

- The Lo River flows into Ha Giang from China via Thanh Thuy passing through Ha Giang City and Bac Quang District making its way into Tuyen Quang.

The Lo River at Bac Quang, between Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang Provinces
The Lo River at Bac Quang, between Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang Provinces

- The Mien River flows into Ha Giang from China right in between Yen Minh and Quan Ba, then makes its course southwards and discharges its water into the Lo River at Ha Giang City.

Scenic landscape by the Mien River in Quan Ba, Ha Giang
Scenic landscape by the Mien River in Quan Ba, Ha Giang

- The Nho Que River flows into Ha Giang from China via Lung Cu making itself most of the border between Ha Giang and Cao Bang and discharging its water into the Gam River at the borderline of the 3 districts of Meo Vac (Ha Giang), Bao Lam and Bao Lac (Cao Bang).

The Nho Que River at the sublime Ma Pi Leng Pass
The Nho Que River at the sublime Ma Pi Leng Pass

- The Nhiem River starts its course from streams in Yen Minh District (Ha Giang) and discharges its water into the Gam River at the same confluence with the Nho Que River.

Peaceful landscape by the Gam River at Bac Quang, Ha Giang
Peaceful landscape by the Gam River at Bac Quang, Ha Giang

- The Gam River flows into Vietnam from China via Bao Lac, then passing through Bao Lam (Cao Bang), Bac Me District (Ha Giang), making its way into Tuyen Quang. The Gam River discharges its water into the Lo River at Yen Son District (Tuyen Quang).

Dong Van Rock Plateau Ha Giang Vietnam
Dong Van Rock Plateau Ha Giang Vietnam

Ha Giang has a monsoon tropic climate with variations on high altitudes. The average temperatures are around 22-24oC and big difference between day time and night time (7oC). The temperatures in the Rock Plateau of Dong Van are much lower than the lower-altitude areas. Ha Giang is among the provinces in Vietnam with highest annual rainfall which is around 2,300-2,400mm.

Ha Giang is inhabited by 22 ethnic groups, many of whom maintain a very traditional culture and many lived an isolated life from the mainstream society until recently. There is a plethora of opportunities to encounter these people on your tour in Ha Giang which is certainly a major highlight of your experience.

Major Tourist Attractions and what to see in Ha Giang
Dong Van Rock Plateau includes Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac Districts. The center of the Plateau is Dong Van Town, 146km from Ha Giang City. Traveling in Dong Van, we'll have an illusion of getting lost in heaven of rocky peaks covered in clouds. The peak of Dong Van is Lung Cu which is 24 km from Dong Van Town and which offers panoramic view of the whole plateau with mountains and ravines. Dong Van Rock Plateau has 90% of the surface covered in rocks.

Serrated ridges at Lung Ho, Yen Minh, Ha Giang
Serrated ridges at Lung Ho, Yen Minh, Ha Giang

 

Ethereal limestone mountains at Ho Quang Phin, Dong Van, Ha Giang
Ethereal limestone mountains at Ho Quang Phin, Dong Van, Ha Giang

 

An amazing road snaking amid limestone mountains at Thai Phin Tung, Dong Van, Ha Giang
An amazing road snaking amid limestone mountains at Thai Phin Tung, Dong Van, Ha Giang

Quan Ba Limestone Forest is 46km from Ha Gang Town. With an elevation of 1,000m, Quan Ba offers unreal fabled world of towering limestone mountains.

Impressive mountainscape at Quan Ba, Ha Giang
Impressive mountainscape at Quan Ba, Ha Giang

Dong Van Old Quarter has a quaint atmosphere. The town was formed around 1887, after the French colonialists took over Ha Giang and set up their administration in the area.

Dong Van Old Quarter, Dong Van District, Ha Giang
Dong Van Old Quarter, Dong Van District, Ha Giang

Dong Van Market with gathering on Sunday morning is a great experience to know about local ethnic groups.

Tay ladies at Dong Van Sunday Market, Ha Giang
Tay ladies at Dong Van Sunday Market, Ha Giang

Vuong Family was the King of the H'mong People and there's still a palace of the Vuong Family 15km from Dong Van with ancient Chinese architecture.

Meo Vac Sunday Market is a lovely place to know about locals’ life.

Ma Pi Leng Pass is certainly awe-inspiring with craggy mountain peaks and real deep ravine which could send chills down your spine at the first glimpse!

Ma Pi Leng Pass Meo Vac Ha Giang
The sublime beauty of Ma Pi Leng Pass Meo Vac Ha Giang

Khau Vai Love Market is 200km from Ha Giang Town, surrounded by limestone mountains. Khau Vai Love Market is for the locals to come and find their former lovers. Nowadays many come to find their new ones. The market is once a year only, on the 27th of the 3rd lunar month.

Hmong Children at Dong Van Rock Plateau
Hmong Children at Dong Van Rock Plateau

Hoang Su Phi offers mesmerizing beauty of the rice terraces, steep ravines and mighty deep rivers. There are chances for challenging adventures to climb Kieu Lieu Thi Mountain or to trek through the dense forests of Tay Con Linh Mountain Range.

Golden rice terraces at Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang
Golden rice terraces at Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang

 

A breathtaking view of golden rice and mountains at Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang
A breathtaking view of golden rice and mountains at Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang

Xin Man offers forests and Nam Dan Ancient Rock Field (16 km from Xin Man's center).

A panorama of Xin Man Town (View from above)
A panorama of Xin Man Town (View from above)

 

Travel and Tourism and tours in Ha Giang
Ha Giang is home to a number of ethnic minorities many of whom live a separate life from the mainstream society and most of whom maintain a very traditional culture. Many of these communities can only be visited on a 2-3 day trekking tour. The nature on the treks are stunning and unreal.

Ha Giang is not touched by mass tourism and the area is still in lack of infrastructure for tourism. There are only a couple of hotels in Ha Giang City, Dong Van Town and Meo Vac Town which are decent in amenities. As of writing, Ha Giang is best suitable for the adventure travellers, artist and nature seekers.

Do keep it in mind, however, that the whole Karst Plateau of Dong Van is a real beauty itself and everywhere you turn, the landscape is beyond sensational. There is no need for certain to chase any touted tourist attractions. If you could bypass luxury, then you will surely have a great trip here. The temperatures are always cool and your time could be just relaxing!

Paradissa Travel offers a number of relaxing sightseeing tours and adventure tours in Ha Giang including soft adventure tours by car, motorcycling tours, trekking tours. For shutterbugs, Paradissa has special photography tours to Dong Van Karst Plateau and Hoang Su Phi Golden Rice Terraces, please contact us for further information.

Accommodation
There are hotels ranging from standard to 2-3 star standards in Ha Giang City, Dong Van and Meo Vac. Simple hotels and guest houses are available in most districts. There are villages offering homestay with basic facilities: Nam Dam Village (2km from Tam Son Township in Quan Ba, Dzao People), ...

Getting around
Ha Giang Town is a pristine valley surrounded by mountains and can be explored easily on foot. Alternatively you may want to get around by taxi motorbikes which are ubiquitous in town.

Getting there and away
Ha Giang is 320 km north of Ha Noi via road No.2. The road conditions are fairly good travelling through Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho and Tuyen Quang Provinces.

Lung Cu Ha Giang
Lung Cu Ha Giang