Discovering North Vietnam: Ha Giang

  Marica&Sonia   |     10/03/2018

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We leave Hanoi Sunday evening at 8.30 pm and we head to Ha Giang by night bus (9 hours - price 345.000 dong or about 12 €).
Ha Giang is a province in northern Vietnam that borders on southern China.
It is less frequented by tourists even though its popularity is growing. During the last 20 years, in fact, while other provinces and cities in Vietnam have experienced economic development, Ha Giang seems to have stopped over time probably due to wars and relations with China.
It is an area famous especially for its breath-taking landscapes: hills, valleys and villages and also ethnic minorities (Hmong, Tay, Dao, Nung, Lo Lo, Giay, Pu Peo) each with its own culture and lifestyle.
Most of the tourists cross these landscapes in motion making the so-called "loop" that is a path that goes from 3 to 6 days. We, given the unfavourable weather forecast, we decide to rent a car with the driver with 2 other girls at a cost of 4,000,000 dongs or about € 147 for 2 days.
We start the tour with a grey sky and after 1 hour we stop at Quan Ba but the view is not the best: there is fog everywhere.
We continue and make a stop at the Lung Khuy caves. Entrance fee 50,000 dong and from the parking to the caves it takes 10-15 min. Very nice caves, considered the largest caves of this rocky plateau.
We continue and have lunch in the village of Yek Minh: soup of noodles with meat and vegetables for 30.000 dong.
Next stop: Lung Cu, also called the "North Pole" (entrance: 20,000 dong), is the place where there is a high tower on top of a small hill with an excellent view of China from above. It can be reached by climbing a hundred steps. The tower is a very impressive structure and the flag is 54 square meters. It is said to represent the 54 ethnic groups within Vietnam.
To reach this area, you have to deviate the route of 30 km taking more than an hour because of the many curves and poor conditions of the road.
Penultimate stop of the day is the Hmong King's Palace. Entrance fee 20,000. Worth a visit! This charming stone and wood structure was built by the French colonial.
From here it is 15 km to reach the final destination for sleeping: Dong Van.
We stay at Nimh Binh Hostel (80,000 dong per person in a room just for us 5).
Dinner at Quang Dung restaurant: generous portions, excellent food and for just over € 2 per dish. We are so satisfied that we come back in the morning for breakfast.
The next day we leave from Dong Van and begin to admire the landscape. Fortunately, the weather is better than yesterday.
The farthest and most beautiful place in the province of Ha Giang is the Dong Van Karst Global Geopark, designated by UNESCO as one of the 77 sites with an important geological and cultural heritage. It is an area of rounded mountains, rice fields and streams. Breath-taking panorama!
What about this tour ?!
The natural settings are magnificent, with beautiful mountain landscapes, peaks covered with forests, rounded peaks with spectacular karst formations, overhanging gorges, national parks with lakes and caves. In many areas, everything is embellished with terraced rice fields. Many lands have already been cultivated while others are still empty. But what makes this tour unique is the local people who live cultivating their fields, also helped by their children who do light work at an early age. Unfortunately, this reality still exists. Many of them do not go to school and grow up without being educated but pass on their parents' trade.
Total distance: 400 km
Duration: 2 days
Route: Ha Giang-Tam Son (Quan Ba) -Lung Khuy- Yek Minh- Pho Bang- Lung Cu- Hmong King Palace - Dong Van- Meo Vac- Yek Minh- Quan Ba- Ha Giang.

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