Ha Giang is a northern province in Vietnam. Sharing a long border with China, Ha Giang is located in the high limestone mountain range which offers a unique and breathtaking landscape. Let’s discover together all there is to see and do when to visit Ha Giang as well as all our tips on weather, itinerary possibilities and travel ideas from Ha Giang to other destinations in northern Vietnam!
1. Best time to visit Ha Giang?
Ha Giang when to go will depend on what you want to see and experience! We will therefore detail here the interests and weather features of Ha Giang to help you prepare the ideal trip.
January to March: Ha Giang’s ethnic minorities celebrate their various spring festivals while the peach and plum blossoms display their most beautiful colours and scents. Be aware that in January and February, it is quite cold (10-15 degrees) before the temperatures rise in March with the return of the sun.
In the sunny month of April, the Khau Vai Love Market in Meo Vac will be held where former lovers separated due to various reasons, then well-dressed in traditional costumes of their ethnicities, come together to experience their deepest feeling of the heart.
May is the water season, when the huge rice terraces, watered by the rains, look like huge mirrors. This is an opportunity to photograph the transplanting in these fields with a unique and original atmosphere. The mercury indicates the right temperature (around 25 degrees) and the sun marks its presence throughout the day.
April and May are the best times for hiking with pleasant weather and little chance of rain.
Between June and August, even if the rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi at the foot of the Tay Con Linh range are like a painting in a shade of green, even if the landscapes at the Dong Van plateau, Meo Vac and the Ma Pi Leng pass are splendid and hyper photogenic thanks to the good light… Ha Giang Vietnam nevertheless enters the rainy season and therefore exposes itself to the risk of floods. These are also the hottest months of the year (27-30 degrees).
From September to October, the ethnic villages will be coloured with shades of yellow, the colour of abundance and prosperity. This is an excellent time to experience this emotional and colourful moment. The ripe rice fields call for the harvest in the joy and happiness of the farmers. Splendid photos of rice terraces to take, especially in Hoang Su Phi. It is quite cool during the day despite the sun, and cold at night in Dong Van during this period.
At the end of the year from November to December, although it is cold (risk of snow in Dong Van at the end of December), Ha Giang will finally delight its visitors-nature lovers with its buckwheat and mustard fields, these two magnificent flowers that color the hill valleys of Ha Giang serve as a background for countless photo shoots.
2. Top things to do and see in Ha Giang ?
2.1 Hoang Su Phi and the rice terraces
Recognised as a national heritage site in 2012, the fabulous rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi are truly a must-see in Ha Giang Vietnam. These endless rice fields stretching along the Xin Man valley in Hoang Su Phi are particularly beautiful to observe from May onwards during the transplanting season. These paintings on the mountainside change colour as the rice plants develop: the huge water mirrors are filled with rice plants, which then turn to a light green cover in June and yellow in September before harvest.
This grand spectacle of rice fields amidst ethnic villages can only be fully revealed by an overnight hike. Hiking in this valley, you will not only see these plantations up close, you will understand how the rice plants are cultivated, you will have the opportunity to live these moments of joy with the local people by putting yourself in the shoes of the ethnic people during the preparation of the meal, sharing with them the dinner and staying with them. What could be better than to live these intense and touching moments with the authors of the rice fields who so bewitch you!
2.2 Tay Con Linh Mountain
Tay Con Linh is the mountain range that is already known and recognized in Vietnam, first of all by its wild and wonderful nature, but also by its difficulty of access with its winding roads and steep cliffs. With an altitude of more than 2400 m, it is the second highest point in Vietnam after Fansipan in Sapa.
The conquest of the range takes you through rice terraces, green landscapes, to the discovery of local ethnic villages, through bamboo forests and tea plantations, palm trees… The hike will be punctuated between natural landscapes of rice fields, karst jaggedness of cliffs and villages of different ethnic groups who host you at night, reveal their legends and daily routines.
There are several options to conquer this mountain range:
Either you start the conquest from the border gate of Thanh Thuy (20km northwest of Ha Giang city), up to the intersection of Xin Chai, you will easily find the road by talking to the locals to reach the top of Tay Con Linh.
Either you start from the centre of Hoang Su Phi, then follow the direction to Tung San – Trung Phung, you will find the right route with the help of the locals to reach the top of Tay Con Linh.
It is also possible to make a long trek of several days to discover the region with nights at the inhabitant in order to better know their daily life and their culture.
2.3 Dong Van: The limestone plateau and the old quarter
On a trip to Ha Giang, the Dong Van plateau is a must-see destination in every sense of the word. Dong Van is the centre of the North Vietnamese tour, an obligatory passage between Ha Giang and the northern border villages of Vietnam. Yet the district is far from being monotonous. Its old central district with its ancestral atmosphere, colourful weekly market, century-old houses and cozy lars offering buckwheat beer and other local products will never leave travellers disappointed!
The limestone plateau of Dong Van Geopark is awe-inspiring, encompassing the four districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Meo Vac with jagged karsts and rocky mountains on which the Blue H’Mongs have grown vegetables and corn despite the weather. This limestone plateau will enchant travellers and trekkers alike with its Blue H’mong villages surrounded by stone walls as if lost in the depths of the mountains. A hike in this lunar landscape of man and nature, ethnic villages and greyish limestone mountains will make you appreciate even more the dexterity and skill of these inhabitants.
Around Dong Van, the palace of the H’Mongs king is also a visit not to be missed. A marvel of architecture resulting from a harmonious marriage of H’mong and Chinese art. A complex of several majestic wooden houses in the middle of a luxuriant nature. Don’t forget that the small village of the blue H’mongs to the right of the palace is also worth a look, often overshadowed by the palace, but these charming houses are also of considerable splendour.
2.4 Meo Vac and Ma Pi Leng Pass – The Happy Road
Known as the Happiness Road for its benefits to the local ethnic groups living in these mountains, the road between Dong Van and Meo Vac, with the Ma Pi Leng Pass, remains a surprising stage. Over a length of more than 20 km, these breathtaking landscapes and the Tu San canyon never cease to amaze travellers.
This road and the famous Ma Pi Leng Pass offer not only phantasmagorical views of the limestone mountain forest, plantations and the Nho Que River, but also a disturbing admiration for the people who live there. Next to the memorial monument on the pass, take the small path that winds up the limestone slope, happiness will be waiting for you at the end of the path: Sublime panoramic view!
The list of things to do and see in Ha Giang Vietnam is still very long but we cannot mention everything in this short article. Knowing that in Ha Giang the weekly markets and the Khau Vai market in April in Meo Vac are of great interest as well as other captivating sites such as the Celestial Gate of Quan Ba, the Flag Tower of Lung Cu…
3. How to get to Ha Giang?
Hanoi – Ha Giang
Ha Giang is 320 km from Hanoi and the journey from Hanoi to Ha Giang can be done by bus or motorbike or by private car. Nevertheless, the journey is quite long, it takes between 6 and 7 hours. There are several bus companies that operate this route from different bus stations MyDinh, GiapBat, GiaLam or the old town. The best way to get to Ha Giang is by bus or private car, as motorbike driving in Vietnam in general and in the mountains in particular is not easy and quite dangerous for foreigners.
Sapa – Ha Giang
Sapa is 250 km from Ha Giang and it is of course possible to get to Hagiang from Sapa by various means: motorbike and bus or private car. The bus leaves from the Sapa bus station but does not take the same route as the motorbikes.
4. Possible routes from Ha Giang?
From Ha Giang, it is possible to further enhance your discovery of North Vietnam with an extension to the North East loop to Cao Bang, Ba Be… to finish at Halong Bay. This tour will allow you to live moments of strong sensations with excursions off the beaten track, to meet the local population whose traditions and cultures are still very well preserved.
You will also leave with this North-East loop to discover the marvellous waterfall of Ban Gioc. The largest waterfall in the North will amaze you with its majestic beauty, not forgetting of course the unmissable stopover at Lake Ba Be with the Tayse
It will also be possible to extend your trip towards the North-West loop towards Bac Ha, Sapa, Than Uyen, Mu Cang Chai, Nghia Lo before landing on the capital of Hanoi and the terrestrial Halong Bay. This north-western loop will allow you to discover the famous market of Bac Ha, the ethnic groups of Sapa in the famous Muong Hoa valley, the magnificent rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai as well as the century-old tea plantations of Nghia Lo.
Ha Giang is like a rare pearl in the high mountains of northern Vietnam. The magnificent landscapes and hospitable people welcome you with open arms, so don’t wait any longer to experience the magic of Ha Giang and recharge your batteries. These memorable experiences will be delivered to you in a single click!