(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
5 of my best travel experiences in Ha Giang
Attractions in Ha Giang that will leave you amazed
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) 🙂
–> Pin this Ha Giang Travel Guide for your future Ha Giang trip!
38 thoughts on “The most complete Ha Giang Travel Guide (updated regularly)”
very interesting your post from Ha Giang but perhpas do you still have some good knowledge about Cao Bang and Lang Son?
Thank you for the attention and kind regards.
I am planning to publish a travel guide for Cao Bang and Lang Son soon, especially for trips to Ba Be Lake and Ban Gioc Waterfall. In the meantime, if you have any question about travelling to Cao Bang and Lang Son, please feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to answer you to the best of my knowledge.
Thanks for this, very informative! Do you know what is the average cost of hiring a xe om for a full day in the Ha Giang region?
The price depends on how many kilometers your ride covers. It costs around 5000 VND / km but might cost more when riding on mountainous terrains. Since attractions in Ha Giang are often far from each other, I think it will cost you at least 500 000 VND for hiring a xe om full day.
Can I do Ma Pi Leng pass in 1 day from and ending in Ha Giang?
Super sorry for my late reply. Yes you absolutely can. The road leading through Ma Pi Leng pass (Happiness Road) is around 20 km long. From Ha Giang city you can drive along this road and even stop for photos within one morning 🙂
Thanks so much for all this information.
I was wondering if you might have a map of some sorts that you can share? How are the roads there? If i have time fir an extra day to the itinerary what else would you do?
Thanks a lot
What kind of map do you need (a map with detailed roads or just a basic map with locations of the tourist attractions)? In any case, you can try googling “Bản đồ Hà Giang” (“Ha Giang map” in Vietnamese) and check the Images results. Hopefully you can find one that is most suitable for you there. Unfortunately I haven’t got any for myself, but I’ll try to find some and add to this post. I believe those who ride motorbikes in Ha Giang use google map most of the time.
If you have one extra day here, I would recommend spending time immersing into the daily life of local H’mong people, so that you have a deeper understanding of their interesting culture. Perhaps you can stay in one of their homestays and ask to join their cooking time or farming activities?
Hope you’ll have a great time in Ha Giang! 😀
I have included a Ha Giang map in this post. Hope this is useful for you all to plan for your trips. Happy travelling! 🙂
Fiona – great information, thank you so much for sharing. I’m thinking of going to Ha Giang in a few days from Hanoi. The weather looks very wet for the next week or so. Do you have any tips on what to look for in the forecast to make sure it’s not too wet or foggy? In general is early April very rainy?
I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nosaadyw..
Thank you very much for your very informative blog.
We will be traveling to the north of Vietnam in July. We would like to stay a night at the auberge Meo Vac but unfortunately they only speak Vietnamese so I could not make a reservation for 5 adults the 15th of July. Could you help me with this?
I am currently not in Vietnam so I unfortunately cannot call them for you. However, you can make a booking online via tripadvisor here.
Hello! Thanks for the super helpful and detailed information!
If I’m gonna do the day 2 and 3 as above, will I be able to get a Xe Om (with my backpack) throughout? Or will it be possible to rent for 1 day from Ha Giang to Dong Van, then do a day of trekking around Dong Van, then continue the journey from Dong Van to Cao Bang on another Xe Om? Appreciate your help on this(:
Yes you can hire a xe om or rent a motorbike to go from Ha Giang to Dong Van and do trekking around there, but I think it’ll be difficult to find a xe om who will take you from there all the way to Cao Bang. As far as I know, there’s also no public transport between Dong Van and Cao Bang. There are 2 options you can consider:
1. I’ve once heard of someone who managed to hire a xe om from Meo Vac to Bao Lac (~75km) and then take a bus from there to Cao Bang city. You can also try doing the same. I’m not sure of the cost but I think it can be up to 800,000vnd.
2. If you have your own motorbike (which you bring from Hanoi for example), in the afternoon of day 3 you can ride from Meo Vac to Bao Lac (instead of going back to Ha Giang city), then depending on the time, you might want to spend the night in Bao Lac or continue riding to Cao Bang City.
Hope this helps. I will try looking for more info about the route from Ha Giang to Cao Bang and add updates to this Ha Giang Travel Guide.
Hi Fiona, thanks for the reply! That’ll be really awesome (: (dont think I ride well enough for option 2 but option 1 is real comforting to hear!)
“Wonderful work! This is the kind of information that are meant to be shared around the internet. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and seek advice from my website . Thank you =)”
There are some interesting tips on how to get to Ha Giang. I wouldn’t like to go by motorbike from Hanoi, the overnight sleeper bus sounds a better option. I would love to photograph the flag tower!
We (8 of us) intend to visit Ha Giang for 5 days. We would want to engage a driver and guide to and fro from Hanoi to Ha Giang.
1. Can you advise what is the must go places? We do not want to do a rush rush tour and hence do not want to cover too many places.
2. Any recommendation on some simple and short trek to meet and mingle around with the tribes people?
3. We would like to stay in homestay too. However, end Dec will it be too cold as I was told they do not have any heater available?
4. I have gotten a quotation which charge $430 for 6 days package including Ba Be lake. Is this cost reasonable?
5. Is Ba Be lake worth going as it was not in my original plan.
6. Any good guide and driver to recommend? The guide needs to be English speaking.
Thanks in advance and looking forward to your advice.
Hi there, here are my answers to your questions:
1. I guess you will have at least 3 full days to explore Ha Giang during your 5-day trip, which is quite sufficient to cover most of the must-visit attractions here. My most favorite attractions are Lung Cu Flag Tower (make sure you climb to the top for the amazing view from there), Ma Pi Leng and Quan Ba Twin Mountains. You might also want to visit one of the ethnic markets here 🙂
2 + 3. I don’t have any particular recommendation regarding trekking trails. However, I would suggest staying in one of the ethnic minorities’ villages and ask the locals living there for trekking options around those areas. They’ll know best. Some of the relatively more “luxurious” homestay options that can provide heaters are Dzao Lodge and Auberge de Meo Vac. While they look more like hotels than homestays, their locations within ethnic minorities’ villages will also make it easy for you to interact with the locals.
4. Is that quotation per person? Does it include food, accommodation and guide as well? For your reference, hiring a 7-seat car with a driver and no guide costs $90 / day / car (but you have 8 people so it might cost more). A group tour with 10+ people will normally cost from $30 – $50 / day / person, including food, transport, guide and accommodation.
5. I love Ba Be and the beautiful scenery there! However, I personally feel it’s better to visit Ba Be in the summer, as the cool weather here can help alleviate the summer heat in Hanoi. If you visit Ba Be in December, it might be quite chilling while sitting on the boat 🙂
6. I don’t personally know any driver or English-speaking guide to recommend, but you can contact this company to ask for a quotation. They are used to arranging private customised tours in North Vietnam.
Happy travelling! 🙂
Hi Fiona! I just discovered your blog and I love it!
I’m travelling to Vietnam next August and I wanted to ask which place would you recommend: Ha Giang, Pu Luong or Mu Cang Chai? I could spend there 4 days.
Thank you very much!
Thanks for visiting my blog! Mu Cang Chai and Pu Luong are most beautiful during the harvest season in late September – early October, when the rice fields all turn yellow. If you travel to Vietnam in August, I think Ha Giang should make a better destination as there are more things to see and do there compared to Mu Cang Chai and Pu Luong. Just keep in mind that you’ll need at least 3 days to visit Ha Giang, whereas Mu Cang Chai and Pu Luong can each be covered in 2 days.
Thank you!!! I’ll follow your advice!
Hey Fiona, no questions for now but just want to say you are amazing for sharing this with the world – great blog, please keep writing!
Thank you very much for your kind comment 🙂
I agree with Daniel, you are amazing! I’m sure isn’t easy to find the time to help us all!
I’d like to ask you one more thing about Ha Giang province 🙂 🙂 Do you know Hoang Su Phi?
I’d like to go to Hoang Su Phi after completing the Ha Giang loop and there is very few information available on the internet. I have a lot of doubts:
– The road is safe enough to go by motorbike?
– At what time do the buses leave from Ha Giang to Hoang Su Phi? How long is the trip?
– Where should I stay in Hoang Su Phi in order to do a nice hiking around the rice terraces?
– One night is enough or should I spend two?
I am super sorry for my late reply! You’re going to be here in August so I hope my comment is not too late though.
The road to Hoang Su Phi is quite difficult to ride, but of course can be completed given that the weather is good. Some areas can be very muddy and slushy when it rains.
To get to Hoang Su Phi from Ha Giang: I know there’s a bus from Bac Quang but I’m not sure about the time. Perhaps you can ask a local in Ha Giang about this? There’s also another bus from Tan Quang, which departs twice a day at 7am and 1pm. The journey takes around 3,5 hours.
You can stay at Nam Hong and Thong Nguyen homestays for easy access to the terrace fields.
I’d love to stay 2 nights haha but of course if you don’t have enough time, one night should be fine 🙂
You are the best! Thank you for your help!
We would love to go to this area, but we will be travelling with our toddler of almost two years old (1 year and 8 months). Will that work? And would you have some tips for us? (tips on how to get around and see the surroundings without having to spend too much). Can you use busses to get from one village to the other? And die you tried to hitchhike?
Hi Quirine, I wouldn’t recommend travelling with your toddler to this area as the journey could be quite exhausting for her (and you two as well). If you want to visit Ha Giang on a low budget, the best way is to rent a motorbike and do the driving by yourself. Buses do exist but many of them do not go deep into villages, not to mention that their inconsistent timetable can be time-consuming for you. I have not tried hitchhiking in Ha Giang or anywhere in Vietnam so I can’t really say much, but that sounds like something worth trying. Viet people are not very accustomed to picking up strangers on the road, but the ethnic minority people around that area might take you on their motorbikes? 🙂
I’ve read several of your posts by now and love them! There’s always so much information and details! Thanks a lot for all your ideas. It’s so inspiring to plan a trip and makes it so much easier as well 🙂
I’m glad you’ve found my blog helpful 🙂 Happy travelling!
Thank you for your blog. Great Work!
I am planning to go from Hanoi to Ha Giang. I’d like to visit as many ethnic markets as possible where the hill tribe people sell fabrics. So many of the markets change the days they are held so I am confused about which markets to plan to visit.
I will arrive in Ha Giang March 13
return to Hanoi March 17 in the evening.
Can you please suggest an itinerary for finding old hill tribe (Hmong batik, Red Dao, Tay brocades etc.) textiles at markets during this time and also villages where they may be selling old clothes and fabrics? Thanks very much!
Hi Jan, thanks for reading my blog post about Ha Giang. I have sent you an email about this. Check it out 🙂
Ha Giang is such a beautiful, dreamy and peaceful place! It is less touristy compared to Sapa, therefore I could totally immerse myself in the authentic and interesting local life with minority people.
Btw, thank you for your informative and amazing blog post!
I’m glad you like Ha Giang too 🙂 Thank you for reading my post!
Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.
I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.