A border province and official Frontier Area, Hà Giang lies in the remote far northern region of the country. To visit this province is to journey back in time and encounter some of Vietnam’s most rugged and grand landscapes. Hà Giang is best experienced as a road trip on two wheels, soaking up the majesty of the landscape and the atmosphere of the remote towns and minority villages.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN HA GIANG:
Get lost in the hills
Just a few kilometres from the provincial capital is Thôn Tha, home to a community of warm Tày minority people living as they have for hundreds of years. Trekking opportunities are plentiful with a small number of well-versed guides. The Quản Bạ Pass holds a lookout that lives up to its name: Heaven’s Gate. Quản Bạ is also the gateway to the UNESCO recognised Đồng Văn Karst Plateau Geopark, a landscape characterised by lofty limestone peaks and rock-strewn fields.
Visit the Sa Phin Hmong Palace
High up near the border with China stands a H’Mông King Palace in the village of Sà Phìn. Built-in 1902 during the French occupation, the wood-framed palace is done in the traditional Chinese style and oozes character. Descendents of the king who called this palace home are still living in the area and sometimes give an unofficial tour.
See the king of flagpoles
Make time in your Hà Giang trip to journey north to Lũng Cú, where a gigantic Vietnamese flag blows proudly at the border with China. The best time to arrive is late afternoon as the heat subsides, making the climb of 200 steps a little kinder. The grand mountain view as the sun drops is worth the effort.
Drive Ma Pi Leng Pass
The roads that weave paths among this region serve up the ultimate in motorcycle adventure. The drive down into the town of Đồng Văn is impossibly beautiful, and the town holds a small but captivating old quarter with ancient buildings and a market that is a riot of colour every Sunday. TheMả Pí Lèn is the jewel in the crown of Hà Giang’s many stupefyingly stunning stretches of road. The highlight is a lookout point where the road snakes past a deep gorge carved by the Nhớ Quê River at around 1,500m.