Fiona Travels from Asia

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The most complete Ha Giang Travel Guide (updated regularly)

(Last updated: April 29th, 2017)

In this Complete Ha Giang Travel Guide article I’ll cover the following topics:

  1. Best time to visit Ha Giang
  2. Travel to and around Ha Giang
  3. Accommodations in Ha Giang (plus List of hotels in Ha Giang and List of homestays in Ha Giang)
  4. Ethnic markets in Ha Giang
  5. Suggested Itinerary for a trip to Ha Giang (4 days 3 nights)
  6. Summary of tips for travelling to Ha Giang
  7. Tip for solo travelers to Ha Giang

Feel free to comment below if you want to share any other tip you have about traveling to Ha Giang 🙂 This Ha Giang Travel Guide will be updated regularly, so it’ll be great if you can contribute with any tip or information regarding travelling to Ha Giang.

You might also want to check out these articles before reading this Ha Giang Travel Guide

5 of my best travel experiences in Ha Giang

Attractions in Ha Giang that will leave you amazed

When to visit Ha Giang?

The best time to go to Ha Giang is … anytime. Yes, Ha Giang is beautiful all year round. There are certainly more popular times when travelers flock here and accommodations tend to run out, such as:

  • September – October: when the yellow rice terraced fields are ready to be harvested
  • November – December: when buckwheat flowers bloom all over the valleys
  • January – February: when plum and peach flowers bloom
  • In April on the day of the Khau Vai Love Market (27/03 Lunar Calendar) and during the time water is poured all over the rice paddy terraced fields

However, even if you visit Ha Giang when it’s less inundated with tourists (such as during the summer months), you will still find Ha Giang’s beauty intact. Rain or shine, the awe-inspiring mountains are always there to wow you.

Please note: Check Ha Giang weather forecast well before you travel to Ha Giang. Usually there is light rain in September-October and there can be storms during the summer months. In January and February, thick fog can make it dangerous to drive here.

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Me standing in a garden of buckwheat flowers (Ha Giang October 2015)

How to travel to and around Ha Giang?

Get to Ha Giang from Hanoi

From Hanoi, you can go to Ha Giang either by motorbike (which takes from 8 to 10 hours as the distance from Hanoi to Ha Giang is 300 km), by rental carby coach or by night bus (with berths).

Coaches from Hanoi to Ha Giang: Coaches and night buses from Hanoi to Ha Giang mostly run from My Dinh station. I’d recommend booking your coach ticket via vexere.com, where you can compare the price and time of different buses and pay online using Visa or Mastercard. Otherwise, buying tickets directly at My Dinh station is also fine.

Hiring a car from Hanoi to Ha Giang: Here are some travel companies you can contact. Note that drivers often don’t speak much English. You will also need to find an English-speaking guide (US$25 – US$45 / day) who will explain to you about the places and assist you if something happens on the road.

Vietnam Path Finder:

  • US$440 / 4-seat car / 5 days
  • US$485 / 7-seat car / 5 days

Including gas, road tolls, parking fees and driver

Transviet Travel:

1,800,000 VND / day / 7-seat car including gas and driver

Get to Ha Giang from Sapa / Lao Cai

There are 2 daily coaches (6am and 11am) that depart from Lao Cai to Ha Giang City. The coach takes around 5-6 hours and costs VND 120 000 / ticket (around US$6). If you’re in Sapa, this means you need to go back to Lao Cai the night before departure to Ha Giang.

Note: Please go to Lao Cai Bus station and check the bus timetable there beforehand as departure time might change.

Travel around Ha Giang

By bus

After arriving in Ha Giang city the next morning, you can take another bus to Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van or Meo Vac depending on your travel itinerary. Remember to ask the bus driver about the return time, in case you want to get back to Ha Giang city.

Then, you need to catch a motorbike taxi (xe om) to the attractions in these districts. You’d better have your itinerary ready by the time you find a xe om in Ha Giang city. You can then show him places in your itinerary that you want to go to. The main disadvantage of xe om (motorbike taxi) is that most of the time, you will find it hard to communicate to the driver without knowing Vietnamese.

Here are some buses from Ha Giang city to Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac. (Source: cungphuot.info)

Ha Giang City – Quan Ba 

CƯỜNG THÚY (Runs from Ha Giang at 5-6am)Tel: 0915 407522

THẮNG PHƯỢNG (Runs from Ha Giang at 11:30am) – Tel: 0915 185434

TÂN YÊN (Runs from Ha Giang at 12:00) – Tel: 0912 369134

Ha Giang City – Yen Minh

NGỌC CƯỜNG (Runs from Ha Giang at12:00-13:00) – Tel: 0904 256279

HOÀNG TUYÊN (Runs from Ha Giang at15:30) – Tel: 0912 120566

Ha Giang City – Dong Van

CẦU MÈ (Runs from Ha Giang at 5:00-12:00) – Tel: 0915 448933

A SINH (Runs from Ha Giang at 5:00-12:00) – Tel: 0984 520371

TRUNG YẾN (Runs from Ha Giang at 12:30) – Tel: 0979 682261

Ha Giang City – Meo Vac

HOÀNG TÀI (Runs from Ha Giang at 5:00-11:30) – Tel: 0912394082

CẦU MÈ (Runs from Ha Giang at 5:00) – Tel: 0167 2116226

NGỌC KHÁNH (Runs from Ha Giang at 9:00) – Tel: 0987 382992

QUANG NGHỊ (Runs from Ha Giang at 10:30-12:30) – Tel: 0946744733

By motorbike

Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike in Ha Giang city and ride by yourself. Prepare a photocopy of your passport for the motorbike owner to keep. Here are some addresses where you can rent motorbike in Ha Giang:

QT Motorbikes and Tours (English-speaking)

Add: Lam Dong St., Phuong Thien, Ha Giang city

Tel: 097 527 87 11

Mr. Nam (English-speaking)

Tel: (0219) 3846129

Bong Hostel (English-speaking)

Add: 63-65 Minh Khai St., Ha Giang city

Tel: 091 512 19 87

Giang Son

Add: To 18 phuong Nguyen Trai, close to the bus station

Tel: 094 171 99 55 / 0988 470863

Mr. Linh

Add: 218 To 15, Phuong Nguyen Trai

Tel: 0973 695 983 / 0976 290 839

Mr. Viet

4 Cau Me, To 18

0918 656 838 / 0964 056838

By car

To rent 4-seat to 29-seat cars in Ha Giang City, contact Mr. Vinh (Tel: 01646115115). This option is suitable for groups of 3 or more people.

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The roads in Ha Giang are pretty much like this

Accommodations in Ha Giang

Ha Giang has become increasingly popular to Vietnamese tourists in recent years. During holidays and the weekend, it might be difficult to book accommodation here. My advice is therefore to avoid travelling to Ha Giang during these occasions.

There are more accommodations in Ha Giang City, but sometimes due to your own itinerary, it is more convenient not to stay in the city center, but rather in Dong Van, Yen Minh, Quan Ba or Meo Vac. Note that hotels in Ha Giang look more like motels, so don’t expect high standards of services. In addition, not many hotel staff there can speak English. Hence if you want to call the hotel to book a room, ask someone who can speak Vietnamese to do that for you.

List of hotels in Ha Giang City:

Ha Giang Resort (Truong Xuan Ecolodge) is a nice place with English-speaking staff, river-view rooms and motorbike rental. You can book a room here via booking.com or agoda as well.

Bông Hostel / Cafe 63 – 65 Minh Khai St. / Tel: (+84) 091 512 19 87. This place has been recommended a lot recently by backpackers to Ha Giang. Free travel advice.

Ha An Guesthouse: 168 Tran Hung Dao / Tel: (+84) 219 3866 242

List of hotels in Dong Van:

Lam Tung Hotel (with lift): To 3, Thi trán Dong Van (can be booked from booking.com)

Time to famous attractions (by motorbike): 20 min to Ma Pi Leng and The Vuong Family Mansion, 35 min to Lung Cu Flag Tower

Hoang Ngoc Hotel: (0219) 3856020

Distance to famous attractions: 24km to Lung Cu Flag Tower, 13 km to The Vuong Family Mansion, 16km to Ma Pi Leng, 24km to Khau Vai Market

Cao Nguyen Da Hotel: (0219) 3856868

Khai Hoan Hotel: (0219) 3856147

Xuan Thu Guesthouse: To 2, Thi tran Dong Van

Lung Cu Guest House: (0219)3856216

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Lung Cu Flag Tower in Dong Van District

 

List of hotels in Quan Ba:

Nui Doi Guesthouse: (0219) 6510789

Anh Hoat Guesthouse: (0219) 3847189

Cao Nguyen Motel: 250 000 VND / single room, 350 000 VND / double or triple room –

567 Guesthouse: (0219) 3846129

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Quan Ba Twin Mountains in Quan Ba District (source: bestprice.vn)

List of hotels in Meo Vac:

Hoa Cuong Hotel (most modern hotel in Ha Giang until now): (0219) 3872888

Auberge de Meo Vac (authentic lodge with rooms decorated in local styles)

Nho Que Guesthouse Basic guesthouse with free wifi: (0219) 3871322

Khau Vai Guesthouse: 0917 706503

List of hotels in Yen Minh:

Thao Nguyen Hotel (1*): (0219) 385 2287

Phuong Nam Guesthouse: (0219) 385 2174

Minh Hai Guesthouse: (0219) 3852109

Na Ma Hotel: (04) 44506070

List of homestays in Ha Giang:

Nam Dam Homestay

The most famous homestay in Ha Giang, Nam Dam Homestay is located in a beautiful Dzao Village in Quan Ba District.

Tho Homestay

A private Tay family’s homestay with magnificent views of the rice terraced fields, this new homestay in Ha Giang has received quite a few positive reviews from travellers. Tho Homestay is located between Ha Giang and Sapa, making it an ideal stop for those travelling by motorbike.

Tien Thang Homestay

Only 5km from Ha Giang City center, Tien Thang Homestay has become a favorite spot for foreign tourists who want a similar experience to Mai Chau’s. The locals here are the Tay ethnic minority, who live in stilt houses with an ancient style.

Tha Village Homestay

Tha Village is only 2km from Ha Giang City center. The homestays here also belong to the Tay ethnic minorities, with ancient stilt houses surrounded by picturesque rice paddy fields.

There is a number of homestay offers in Dong Van, too. However, services at these places vary. You should check the place before you agree to stay and ask if they have hot water and if the price includes any meal. The price is normally 100 000 / pax, but you can also negotiate with the owner for a reduced price.

Ethnic markets in Ha Giang

Here are some popular ethnic markets in Ha Giang which are also easy to access. Note that these markets all start very early in the morning, at around 6am.

Ethnic markets in Dong Van

Dong Van Market: Every Sunday morning in central Dong Van town

Ma Lé Market: Every Saturday morning, around 10km from Dong Van town centre

Pho Cao Market

Lung Phin Market

Ethnic markets in Quan Ba

Quyet Tien Market: Every Saturday morning

Quan Ba Market: Every Saturday morning

Ethnic markets in Yen Minh

Yen Minh Market: Every Sunday morning

Du Già Market: Every Friday morning

Ethnic markets in Meo Vac

Meo Vac Market: Every Sunday morning in the town centre

Suggested 4-day Ha Giang itinerary

Ha Giang Travel Guide

This Ha Giang itinerary is for those who travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang for 4 days and 3 nights. This can be a bit rush, but is ideal for those with limited time. Check the map below for more info about the routes (click to zoom).

Ha Giang Vietnam Map

Ha Giang Vietnam Map

Day 1: Take a night bus from My Dinh Bus Station in Hanoi to Ha Giang. Spend the first night on the bus.

Day 2:

Morning:

Arrive in Ha Giang city at around 4-5am. Have breakfast and rent motorbike in Ha Giang city, or find a xe om (motorbike taxi) and show him your intended destinations for the day.

Depart to Quan Ba (50km) and visit Quan Ba Valley. Visit Lung Tam Weaving Village.

Depart to Yen Minh: The route will be Quan Ba – Can Ty – Na Khe – Lao Chai – Yen Minh (40km). You will ride past the Yen Minh Pine Forest, which can be foggy during the winter months.

Stop at Yen Minh for lunch.

Afternoon:

Depart to Pho Cao (10km) then to Sung La (10km). These are great places for photos, as you will be able to see villages of local ethnic groups where houses are built by stacking stones together.

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Pho Cao in Ha Giang

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Pho Cao in Ha Giang

Depart to Sa Phin (5km) and visit the Vuong Family’s Mansion

Depart to Lung Cu (22km) to visit the Lung Cu Flag Tower – the northernmost point of Vietnam’s territory. The distance is around 25km.

You should leave Lung Cu for Dong Van by 5.30pm lest darkness makes it harder to drive.

Spend the night in Dong Van

Day 3:

Morning:

Visit Dong Van’s old town and Dong Van market

Depart to Meo Vac and behold Ma Pi Leng on the way

Have lunch in Meo Vac

Afternoon:

Depart to Ha Giang City

Visit Tha Village with ancient stilt houses (2km from Ha Giang City)

Catch the night bus from Ha Giang back to Hanoi. Spend the night on the bus.

Day 4:

Arrive in Hanoi early in the morning

Any tip for a solo traveler to Ha Giang?

The more well-prepared you are, the better experience you will have!

Don’t be discouraged by the stereotype that Ha Giang is only meant for mass tourists and adventurous strong men on motorbikes.  Ha Giang can be a great destination for anyone, including solo travelers. Just read about Ha Giang and plan as much as you can before departure, and you’ll be absolutely fine!

Summary Ha Giang travel guide:

  • Book things (hotel, motorbike, etc.) beforehand when you’re still in Hanoi so as not to become too shocked by the effects of language barrier. Find someone who can speak Vietnamese to help you with the booking.
  • Bring a list of essential Vietnamese phrases to communicate with locals (eg. How much is this? What time does the bus leave? Etc.)
  • Bring along your passport! Foreigners occasionally get their identity checked when travelling near Vietnam’s border.
  • Foreigners are also required to apply for a permit when travelling to Ha Giang. The cost is 230 000 VND. Hostel / hotel staff in Ha Giang can help you arrange this. Otherwise, you can visit the immigration office in Ha Giang city (415A Tran Phu St.) to obtain this permit.
  • A first-aid kit will also come in handy
  • Avoid the weekend and check weather forecast before you go

I wish you a great trip to Ha Giang, and as always, I’d LOVE to hear your own experiences when travelling here. This Ha Giang Travel Guide is meant to be updated regularly. Therefore, if you have any other tips about Ha Giang travel that you want to share, please don’t hesitate to comment below! Let’s help each other enjoy the beauty of Ha Giang (while it lasts) 🙂

 

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