HA GIANG TRAVEL GUIDE

Guide contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Time to travel
  3. Transportation
  4. Accommodation
  5. Destinations
  6. Activities
  7. Food
  8. Restaurants
  9. Expenses
  10. Maps
  11. Conclusion

 

Introduction

Ha Giang is an enigmatic and remote area, with endless mist and mountains, the unique scenery and customs of the area have stimulated curiosity in travelers for generations.

Time to travel

The best time to visit Ha Giang is between August and November
In August and September, the land is filled with a butterscotch color because it is a harvesting season
In October and November, Ha Giang becomes a top tourism attraction due to the bucket wheat flower season. In the blink of an eye, the land changes its cover to a carpet of purple flowers
From March to May it is the festival time, especially with the “Khau Vai love market” in April – the biggest festival of the year. You can blend in the playful atmosphere as well as the flowing stream of locals coming to the festival, dressed in traditional and colorful costumes.

Transportation

First, you should take a flight to Hanoi. From there, you can choose couch or motorbike to Ha Giang. It takes about 8 hours to get to Ha Giang by couch. You can also take personal vehicles but consider your driving abilities against the the distance of 320km and the poor condition of the road.

Accommodation



Booking.com

Destinations

Dong Van Ancient Street

CREDIT: xuctiendautuhagiang.gov.vn

The street was constructed in the early 20th century with French design. All the houses are about 100 years old, there are even some which are around 200 years old. Grey old houses are in contrast to the red lanterns hang in front of every gate and the colorful clothes of the owners.

Dong Van rock plateau

CREDIT: mapio.net

This is a special limestone plateau. Dong Van plateau has endured lots of geological events, so it carries many important geographical features to assist with the analyses of the earths formation. Some must-see spots when you come to this plateau are Lung Cu flagpole, Ma Pi Leng, Ding Vuong and the Dong Van market

Dinh Vuong (Vuong private establishment)

CREDIT: lichsuvn.net

Dinh Vuong is a magnificent establishment of Vuong Duc Chinh – king of Meo ethnic group. The complex meets all Vuong’s requirements: highly defended, convenient, aesthetic, sustainable. Through events and wars, the complex still remains in its complete beauty and attracts tourists from all over the world

Quan Ba Twin Mountain

CREDIT: 500px.org

This destination attaches to a myth. Legend has it said, there was a really good-looking and talented man of the Mekong ethnic group. His flute’s sound seduced a fairy in heaven named Hoa Dao. Even after they had become family, fairies and Jade Emperor did not allow them to stay together. Before ascending, she left her bust behind to feed her son, the bust gradually turned out to be a twin mountain. Quan Ba Mountain is a remaining icon to represent the beauty of love and motherhood

Activities

Khau Vai love market

CREDIT: viettravelmagazine.com

The market Is for couples who were once in love but couldn’t be together. They come to Khau Vai love market to reunite and confide about the past. In the festival, people place incense in shrines, charm each other with their singing voice and flute’s sound. There are also traditional games such as: swing, see-saw and bird fight. Khau Vai is a perfect spot for food lovers with iconic dishes: Men men (steamed corn powder), Thang co (horse soup), Lau de (goat hotpot), Thit treo (dried meat, often hang above the stove) and dau xi (steam beans) available.

Sung Khanh pagoda
Sung Khanh pagoda is 9km away from Ha Giang city center. Travellers should go to Sung Khanh on Tet holiday, on the 3rd and the 4th , when games take place such as: nem con (throw a small decorated ball in a circle), tug of war, volleyball and football, to name a but a few.

Quyet Tien local market + Quan Ba heaven gate
Quyet Tien market lies in the foot of Cong Troi mountain (Heaven Gate mountain). The market is held on every Saturday morning. Quan Ba is regarded as “Da Lat” of the North. The temperature is moderate around the year and there are several beautiful destinations: Cong Troi (Heaven gate), Co Tien mountain and Kho My cave.The diversity of cultures from Mong, Dao, Tay, Bo Y ethnic groups make for some distinct local dishes.

Na Luong + Dong En cave
Na Luong is 25km away from Yen Minh city center, considered to be the finest cave among those which have been discovered in Ha Giang. Dong En is also in Yen Minh, astonishes tourists with beauty.

Lo Lo village (Sang Pa A, Meo Vac)
The residents here are allfrom the Lo Lo ethnic group. Lo Lo cultural customs still almost completely remain, displayed in daily activities, festivals and costumes (especially female costumes). The Lo Lo ethnic group have some signature dances and festivals: Nhay cay (Tree jumping (held in spring, from 25/12 to 15/1), Hai ngo (Corn harvesting) on traditional holidays and Cau mua (Rain summoning) (held in March and April – lunar calendar).

Food

Thang Co Ha Giang (Ha Giang horse soup)

CREDIT: wikimedia.org

Thang co is a traditional food of H’mong people, with origins in China. Thang Co is usually made from marinated horse meat of all parts, even the viscera. When the meat is slightly cooked, people pour water over and simmer for hours. It takes a lot of patience and technique, the cook must remove all the froth to ensure the broth to be meaty and clear. The viscera and veggies must be added in the last step.

Chao au tau (Au tau rice soup)
A bulb of au tau is soaked until in turns out tender, it is then cooked with broth of pig’s trotters. It could be distasteful at first because of its bitterness but if you are used to it, you will be addicted. Chao au tau is traditional medicine used to cure fever and keep the body warm.

Reu nuong (Grilled alga)
Reu nuong is a basic dish in the daily diet of Tay people. The alga is caught on the shallow water, marinated and wrapped with fresh phrynium, grilled on charcoal. When the alga becomes soft and emits the light fragrance, it is ready to be served!

Pho chua Ha Giang (Ha Giang sour noodle)
Main ingredients of sour noodle are: fried pork, grilled duck, roasting beans, basil, cucumber, papaya. The unique taste lies in the broth. This is the mixture of vinegar and sugar, stirred with tapioca and then boiled.

Xoi ngu sac (Five-color sticky rice)

CREDIT: dulich-hagiang.com

Xoi ngu sac was in the first place lunch that Ha Giang farmers brought to the paddy field, when they could not come back home due to distance. The rice is planted on fields of Ha Giang farmers itself. There are 5 significant colors: white, yellow, purple, red, blue… create a very eye-catching dish. Because of its decorated function, Xoi ngu sac is usually used in feasts and festivals.

Restaurants

Com Dan Toc
The options are various with many trademark dishes of ethnic minority: Rau ron nom (salad) and Rau tam bop xao (stir fry veggie) of Thai people, Canh ca chua nau hoa chuoi (Sour fish soup with banana flower – specialty of Cao Bang). If you go to Ha Giang on the bucket wheat season, don’t forget to taste Nhong ong Ta Lung (Ta Lung fry bee), a specialty of Ha Giang
Address: Group 1, Quang Trung dist, Ha Giang city

Tien Nhi
This restaurant is opposite to Dong Van Ancient Street and the Dong Van market. The owner of Tien Nhi is a Cao Bang woman so sometimes there are Cao Bang chesnut and banh khao being sold at the entrance. Some distinguished foods you can find here are: Thit trau kho gac bep (dried buffalo meat, a dish of Thai people), thit lon kho (dried pork) and xa xiu (fried pork).
If going to restaurants is too expensive for you, you can go to markets for lower price, large quantity and good quality: including the markets of Sa Phin, Lung Phin, Pho Bang, Pho Cao.

Expenses

Transportation: Couch (Hanoi – Ha Giang): 250.000 – 300.000 VND/1 way ticket
Food: 150.000 VND/day on average
Hotel: 500.000 – 1.000.000 VND/night
Total: 750.000 – 1.000.000 VND/day

Maps

Conclusion

Ha Giang is not a top tourism attraction (except for bucket wheat flower season) so it is quite peaceful and relaxed to visit. Ha Giang attracts visitors with its mysterious traditional customs, the cuisine influenced by both Vietnamese and Chinese influences, and lively festivals. So what are you waiting for?