Visit Ha Giang in 3, 4 or 5 days, what to see and do?
- on Jan 15, 2020       By: Bảo Ngọc
Located in the far Northeast of Vietnam, Ha Giang province, bordering on China, is one of the most spectacular off-the-beaten-path destinations in Vietnam and even in Southeast Asia. As a remote province of North Vietnam, going to Ha Giang requires a certain time of transport and therefore requires a minimum stay of 3 days. You will not be disappointed with the effort made as this region is breathtakingly beautiful.
Visit Ha Giang in 3 days
The main interest in coming to Ha Giang province is to link from the eponymous provincial capital to Dong Van and Meo Vac villages by crossing the fabulous Dong Van karst plateau, classified as a world geological park by UNESCO. Covering an area of more than 2,000 km², this karst plateau extending over the four districts of the Northeast of the province: Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac, is characterized by a succession of arid limestone peaks which gives a spectacular landscape. It’s a true natural wonder and a must stop in Ha Giang province to discover.
The geopark is located on a foot extension to the east of the Himalayas. Its geology reflects important events in the history of the Earth, like two mass extinctions: Frasnian-Famennian (360 million years ago) and Permian-Triassic (250 million years ago). This includes 3 groups of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, as well as stratigraphic, lithostratigraphic and biostratigraphic specificities. Its paleontological diversity shows 19 groups of valuable ancient organisms such as ancient fish, ancient flora, brachiopods (eurispirifer tonkinesis), bivalves, trilobites, foraminifera, corals, conodonts, crinoids and fossilized paths molluscs. The geopark has two natural conservation areas rich in flora and fauna such as conifers, Asian black bear, Sumatran serow (a solitary mountain goat) and many species of birds. In addition, the unusual, mysterious, camouflaged Tonkin monkey is one of the 25 most endangered primate species in the world. It is only found in Ha Giang and was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the early 1990s.
Before entering the Dong Van geopark, you can stop to discover the Quan Ba Sky Gate. This gateway to the Dong Van karst plateau offers a unique panorama. We can admire the twin mountains of Quan Ba, resembling a proud woman's breast, placed on a superb checkerboard of rice fields. Local legend has it that these two twin mountains were created by a fairy and a titan. The fact remains that one never tires of this breathtaking landscape.
Along the way, many stops are planned to admire the magnificent sceneries. There is also the palace of King Hmong to discover, an architectural marvel mixing traditional Hmong and Chinese art. The fortified palace of the former king of Hmong was the residence of the Vuong family whose member Vuong Duc Chi was crowned king of the Hmong people in 1900 in order to establish their authority on the Chinese border with the help of this ally. Built according to geomantic principles, this magnificent palace consists of three houses on stilts, 2 storeys each, built of stone, precious wood covered with animal sculptures and covered with traditional tiles in the form of Yin and Yang. It’s a visit not to be missed before reaching Dong Van mountain village.
You can choose to sleep at Dong Van or Meo Vac. These 2 mountain villages are home to a great ethnic market every Sunday. It’s a real festival of colours on the stalls but even more in the aisles with women elegantly dressed in their traditional costumes in shimmering colours.
To discover completely the 30 kilometres of vertiginous road between Dong Van and Meo Vac, you should take the Ma Pi Leng pass. This pass offers a breathtaking view of a big canyon where the emerald river of Nho Que flows.
In 3 days of your trekking in Ha Giang, you can also have a half or a whole day of walking during which you can enjoy spectacular views of the canyon. Walking is a great excuse to discover the limestone valleys, the terraces planted with hemp and corn, and the villages of the Hmong ethnic group, the only ethnic group able to live in such difficult conditions.
Trekking in Ha Giang in 4 or 5 days
In 4 or 5 days, you can make a stopover at the Dao ethnic village of Nam Dam, located just before the entrance to the Dong Van geopark. You can stay with the locals in their beautiful cob houses. The surroundings of the village are superb with magnificent rice fields stretching as far as the eye can see. If you have more time, you can also go to the Lung Cu flag tower, a sacred place for the Vietnamese since it marks the Northernmost point of Vietnamese territory and it symbolizes the standard of territorial sovereignty of Vietnam.
The Lung Cu flag tower was erected at the top of Rong mountain (literally "Dragon") which rises to 1,700m above sea level. From above, there is a superb panoramic view of the countryside with its rice fields and its small villages of ethnic minorities.
For travellers having 5 days to visit Ha Giang, it will be possible to discover the fabulous Du Gia deep valley and its beautiful natural sceneries and to experience the homestay here.
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