(Last updated: July 21, 2022 )
In this Complete Ha Giang Travel Guide article I’ll cover the following topics:
- Best time to visit Ha Giang
- Travel to and around Ha Giang
- Accommodations in Ha Giang (plus List of hotels in Ha Giang and List of homestays in Ha Giang)
- Ethnic markets in Ha Giang
- Nho Que River Boating
- Suggested Itinerary for a trip to Ha Giang (4 days 3 nights)
- Summary of tips for travelling to Ha Giang
- Tip for solo travelers to Ha Giang
Feel free to comment below if you want to share any other tips 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
Best time to visit Ha Giang
The best time to visit Ha Giang is at… 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 your trip. There is light rain in September-October and occasional storms during the summer months. In January and February, thick fog can make it dangerous to drive here.
How to travel to and around Ha Giang?
Travel 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 car, by 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. Some coach companies also allow you to bring along your motorbike for an extra fee (call them to check beforehand).
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.
- US$440 / 4-seat car / 5 days
- US$485 / 7-seat car / 5 days
Including gas, road tolls, parking fees, and driver
1,800,000 VND / day / 7-seat car including gas and driver
Travel to Ha Giang from Sapa or 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.
Note: Please go to Lao Cai Bus station and check the bus timetable there beforehand as departure time might change.
Travel around Ha Giang
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 and then show him places 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
Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike in Ha Giang city and ride by yourself. It’s necessary to prepare a photocopy of your passport for the motorbike owner to keep. Also, don’t forget to check out this list of what to pack for a motorcycle trip in Vietnam before hitting the road.
Most hotels in Ha Giang offer motorbike rental services. Simply ask them for the best quote!
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.
Accommodations in Ha Giang
Recommended hotels in Ha Giang City
Bông Hostel: This place has been recommended a lot recently by backpackers to Ha Giang. Free travel advice.
Ha Giang Hostel: They also offer motorbikes for rent and free travel advice
Golden Jungle House: Rustic style hotel with a good buffet breakfast
Phoenix Hotel Hà Giang: 4-star hotel with modern rooms and suites
Recommended hotels in Hoang Su Phi
Panhou Retreat: 4-star eco-friendly hotel surrounded by ponds and vegetable gardens
Recommended hotels in Dong Van
Aladdin Farmstay: Private rooms and dorm rooms including breakfast
Recommended hotels in Quan Ba
H’mong Village Resort: Rooms and bungalows with a great mountain view
Recommended hotels in Meo Vac
Meo Vac Clay House: Rooms and dorms with garden and mountain views
Mai Dao 2 Hotel: Basic rooms, located near Meo Vac market
Recommended hotels in Yen Minh
Thien Minh Guesthouse: Clean and comfortable rooms
Recommended homestay in Ha Giang
Homestay Bongbang Lovely homestay in a H’mong family
Nậm Lỳ Homestay: A simple homestay in Hoang Su Phi with beautiful views of mountains and valleys
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 6 am.
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 center
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 center
Nho Que River Boating
The beauty of Nho Que river is undeniable, as it gently flows across rugged mountains in the north of Vietnam like a green sewing thread.
Boating on Nho Que River in Dong Van, Ha Giang is an unforgettable experience, as you can fully immerse in the breathtaking beauty of nature with scenes of imposing mountains on both sides.
How to take a boat on Nho Que river
There are several ways to take a boat on Nho Que river but I’ve figured out that the way below is the most straightforward.
Firstly, book a boat by calling one of the boat owners below. (Make sure you ask someone to help you speak Vietnamese with them).
- Mr Diep: 0865040992
- Mr Dai: 0964426017
- Ms Hoa: 0865818268 / 0856769000
Next, if you go by motorbike from Dong Van Old Town Market, take the main road to a place called “Lối xuống bến thuyền Tà Làng – sông Nho Quế” on Google Maps.
Then, search Google Maps the way from there to “Bến thuyền hẻm Tu Sản”, which is the boat station where you can board a boat to explore the beautiful Nho Que river.
NOTE: It’s a rugged zigzag path that is not easy to go. Remember to be extra careful!
The price is VND 150,000 per person for a 30-minute boat trip on Nho Que river. Simply sit back and enjoy the amazing landscape here!
Suggested 4-day Ha Giang itinerary
This Ha Giang itinerary is for those who travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang for 4 days and 3 nights (actually you’ll only spend 2 days around Ha Giang). This can be quite rushed but is ideal for those with limited time.
Check the map below for more info about the routes (click to zoom).
Take a night bus from My Dinh Bus Station in Hanoi to Ha Giang. Spend the first night on the bus.
Arrive in Ha Giang city at around 4-5 am. Have breakfast and rent a 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.
Depart to Pho Cao (10km) and 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.
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 5.30 pm lest darkness makes it harder to drive.
Spend the night in Dong Van
Visit Dong Van’s old town and Dong Van market
Depart to Meo Vac (~ 40 km) and behold Ma Pi Leng on the way
Have (early) lunch in Meo Vac
Depart to Ha Giang City (160km)
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.
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!
Also, 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 of Ha Giang travel guide:
- Book things (hotel, motorbike, etc.) beforehand when you’re still in Hanoi so as not to avoid language barriers. 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 traveling near Vietnam’s border.
- Foreigners are also required to apply for a permit when traveling to Ha Giang. The cost is VND 230,000. The staff at your hotel in Ha Giang can help you arrange this. Otherwise, you can visit the immigration office in Ha Giang city (415A Tran Phu St.) to sort it out by yourself.
- A first-aid kit will also come in handy.
- Avoid visiting Ha Giang during public holidays and check the 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 traveling 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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